A number of non-governmental organizations have highlighted worrying reports of a rise in cases of sexual abuse in schools across Ghana. In many cases teachers are thought to be the main culprits.
School children in Ghana
A report on sexual abuse among children in the country conducted by the non-governmental organization "Plan Ghana" revealed that out of 100 cases who had been molested or abused, 53 cases actually occurred at school. The other 43 took place at home. A number of basic and senior high school students interviewed for the report also alledged that they felt safer at home than at school.
Shedrach Frimpong, project manager of Plan Ghana, told Deutsche Welle he was worried by the trend. "If I consider the places we work and the interviews we have with children, the things they tell you about what some of their teachers are doing is very alarming," he said.
Frimpong believes that the government should do more to tackle the problem. "We recommend stiffer punishment for offenders by the ministry of education, and our law makers to act as a deterrent," he said.
Children feel safer at home than in school
The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of Ghana's Police service says cases of children being abused, especially in schools, are on the increase. "It's actually a serious issue and has become overwhelming," Freeman Tettey, the unit's public relations officer, told Deutsche Welle. Tettey is particularly worried that most of the incidents go unreported. "A lot of these cases are not in the news, but we are trying to do what we can with the little that we have," Tettey added.
Boys not spared
The Public Relations official also cited a disturbing new wave of sexual abuse. Boys in schools are being forced into sodomy by their oppressors. "Most of these boys will simply tell you, we are going through a lot," Tettey said, quoting the young victims. He noted that they have had to refer a number of those cases to the hospital for treatment, as they continue counselling.
Ghana's education ministry rejects any claims that it has not been addressing the situation, but says it will do more. Ministry spokesperson Paul Krampah told Deutsche Welle that any teacher caught abusing students faced instant dismissal. Strict supervision and a friendly environment for students to report cases were being put in place to help combat the abuse.
Author: Isaac Kaledzi / cm
Editor: Daniel Pelz / rm