Two teacher associations have been condemned over their lack of outrage in the Ejisuman SHS sex scandal that has indicted eight teachers.
The National Youth Authority in a statement Wednesday described the posture of Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) as “defensive” and ” protectionist” while showing no support for the victimised girls.
The Authority mandated by the state to facilitate youth development observed that the world is waking up to a culture of sexual harassment at workplaces trigged by the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal in Hollywood, US.
Protests have gone on in US, France and Brazil over allegations made by consenting adults.
But in Ghana where the victims are minors and even more vulnerable, critical associations like GNAT and NAGARAT have appear “unperturbed”, the statement signed by CEO Emmanuel Asigri read.
NAGARAT held a press conference Wednesday morning to signal an indefinite strike over the delay in the payment of 50m cedis in salary arrears.
The National Youth Authority said the lack of concern for the teenagers who have suffered under predatory teachers “raises questions about its stakeholdership in Ghana’s education sector beyond demanding salary increases and allowances”.
“We find this posture despite serialised acts of sexual predators disappointing and disgraceful”.
The NYA said it would seek out other outraged stakeholders like gender and youth based advocacy groups, religious leaders, PTA and the media in “stamping out” what it described as a “growing threat”.
Read the NYA statement below:
The National Youth Authority has been following circumstances surrounding the Ejisuman SHS in the Ashanti region where teachers have been indicted in a GES report for sexual harassment of students.
With the report complete and available, the Authority believes it is appropriate to comment on a matter that goes directly to the heart of the Authority’s statutory mandate – developing Ghana’s youth.
The report is shocking, the stories are brazen and tales of sexual exploitation, a sub-culture in the school – a critical agent of socialising Ghana’s next generation to moral values.
That care-givers are sex predators must alarm parents and guardians whose trust has been clearly betrayed.
It is very heart-breaking to learn of teachers looking for kisses from female students when they should be looking after their welfare.
While some are training students to rise up to their potential and participate in World Robotics Championship, some predators are pushing students to kneel down and perform sex acts.
But the National Youth Authority finds even more shocking that lack of outrage by professional bodies like GNAT and NAGARAT.
Since the probe began, public comments from the leadership of these bodies have been defensive, protectionist and some have shades of victim-blaming.
All over the world, organisations are waking up to a culture of sexual harassment at work places.
A former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sex crimes he committed in caring for young female athletes.
Female sports journalists in Brazil are rising up against the culture of being groped, insulted and kissed while on the job are showing sexual harassment the red card
Hundreds of women have attended rallies in Paris and other French cities to protest against sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
And in the US, university student gathered at the University of Rochester for a protest over the sexual harassment case involving a professor.
In several of these cases of outrage, the victims are consenting adults. But here in Ghana, the victims are minors at their most vulnerable.
Yet NAGARAT and GNAT appear unperturbed about the ugly status quo in schools. It raises questions about its stakeholdership in Ghana’s education sector beyond demanding salary increases and allowances. We find this posture despite serialised acts of sexual predators disappointing and disgraceful.
The NYA hereby invites all outraged gender-based groups, youth groups, civil society, religious leaders, PTAs, media and the police to rise up and join hands in stamping out of our schools the growing threat of sexual harassment.
We applaud the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education for standing up against any cover-ups.
We look forward to professional sanctions even as the state is expected to prepare criminal prosecutions.
We applaud teachers everywhere who take their role as inspirers, motivators and coaches to young girls as a sacred duty and trust.
We applaud the students for their courage in exposing their teachers even in the face of mockery and further victimization.
This courage will serve you well in a country where the call to responsible citizenship is becoming a hallmark of the government.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
EMMANUEL SIN-NYET ASIGRI