Ejisuman Senior High Video: A Case for Digital Citizenship
Child Online Africa has noted with surprise the decision arrived at by authorities of Ejisuman Senior High School acting on behalf of the Ghana Education Service in relation to the 7 students who were expelled from the boarding facility of the school on grounds that the accused were using a mobile phone – which is prohibited in basic and senior high schools – to “intentionally upload a video on social media where unprintable words that border on sex were spewed out.”
As an organization which campaigns for and with children and young people to influence policies and change practices which affect them, we are appalled at the knee jerk reaction of the school authorities in this matter.
We wish to state first of all, our respect for the code of conduct governing all public schools in Ghana. However, the facts of this case in particular, reveals that these young and unsuspecting girls were influenced by a third party to make videos of themselves for the purposes of further circulation on social media in breach of their privacy on the internet.
Child Online Africa believes that this situation presents the Ghana Education Service an opportunity to revive its seemingly ineffective Guidance And Counseling (G&C) Unit which has been charged with a number of roles including collaborating with relevant partners including parents to meet the psychosocial needs of pupils/students, and also the need for GES to devise mechanisms that will tackle the so-called new normal in the era of digitization.
What we see instead is an attempt by the Education Service to protect the reputation/image of the Ejisuman Senior High School as against the psychological effect of the action on the said students.
We are by this press release calling on the ministry of Education to intervene into the matter. We also demand the following:
- The immediate arrest and interrogation of the third party who created and shared the video of the girls in breach of Ghana’s law on data protection.
- Government as a matter of urgency strengthen and equip the guidance and counseling units as well as the girl’s education units of the various schools to function effectively in the name of the ‘best interest of the child’.
- Provision should be made for schools to incorporate Digital Literacy into the school’s curriculum or made an extracurricular activity.
- The general public should desist from sharing or forwarding the videos because their actions contribute to re-victimizing the victims.
- The hotlines/helplines being managed by the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Communications should be made to function as expected.