“Education is what remains after forgetting what you learned in school.” Einstein. I put it this way, ‘’school prepares you to be able to educate yourself for life.’’ Education never ends.
We learn so much in school that a philosophy that makes consumption of data in the classroom as the most important thing and therefore whatever does not affect it directly is ok, is surely the beginning of the creation of a failed citizen and ultimately a failed state.
What I learned in the classroom culminated in me becoming a doctor. That is a very small part of me. In fact, you can wipe medicine from my brain, and I may be bigger not lesser than who and what l am.
Part of education is discipline.
Part of discipline is conformity.
Part of conformity is uniformity,
Part of uniformity is dress code.
This principle holds for every institution and this lunatic move to turn decency on its head must be resisted. I wonder what the Judge would have said if the lawyers of Achimota had turned up in Court with huge dreadlock wigs instead of the bronze age wigs. Would he have accepted that dress code?
Nobody is admitted or rejected into school because of religion. Religious activities in schools are a matter of tradition and not law, so students who do not wish to be part of the mainstream religious activities of a school should be excused. I went to historical mission schools and that was the rule.
The dress code of low hair cut has nothing to do with religion. It is a cultural practice with hygienic and health benefits. As kids, all boys from all religious persuasions in the hood cut their hair low to stop lice. No family needed any instructions from a Pastor, Imam, Aawɔŋ or Okomfo to do that.
Ghana is a Christian-dominant-multifaith society. In fact, we are the most successful one dominant faith with other minority faiths society on earth. We are Ghanaians 1st. Christians vote for Muslims and vice versa even in intra-party primaries. Let us keep that demon hypnotised forever.
Dreadlocks is no more connected to Rastafarianism than wee smoking, so are we trampling on someone’s religious rights if we say No to wee? Not all Rastafarians wear dreadlocks and not all who wear the locks are Rastafarians. Must schools separate ‘’religious’’ locks from ‘’social’’ ones when the simple rule is for all hair to be cut low? Only a disproportionate and stupid god will be that optimistic. What if someone says his religion forbids wearing of the school uniform because of its colour?
I have deliberately not used the heavily flawed 1992 constitution. We were thinking before that constitution that made the Head of State, the State came into being.
When this story broke out, a big sister of mine referred me to Numbers Chapter 6 as the basis of this dreadlock joke. I read Numbers 6 in 1987 and even then, I knew the Rasta claim was false. I promised to write an article on that. The article will be Part 2 of this article, but before I end this piece, let me share with you my personal fascination with school uniforms especially that of Achimota School.
My mum has an older sister, Aagbedee. Her husband, Nii Fair was the technical director of Animal Research Institute for decades. They lived together with their 3 kids in #3, ARI Bungalows, Achimota College. The youngest of their kids was 2 years my senior, so I was their 4th and most loved baby last.
My aunt and uncle lived for 6 years in the UK, in fact the last 2 kids were born in England. We lived in a compound house in Osu, Ashante Klamɔ; noise, quarrelling and fighting 24/7. Going to Achimota was like going to London in those days for me. The difference was beyond words.
The place was quiet, clean and had everything. There were only 3 bungalows in this huge place: Mr. Dokosi in #1, Mr. Osekre in #2, and in our boys’ quarters was Ataa Mahama and his family; Dauda, Haruna and Seidu. He looked after the ARI research cattle. They were Muslims and we were Christians – no difference. We lived together like one family.
Before I went to class 1 in September 1972, I loved going to Achimota. I was then alone with my grandmother. My siblings are much younger than me. On one such visits to Achimota, I met with fate.
My uncle took me to visit his mum Maam Caro in nearby Apenkwa village, on our way back home, I saw so many young boys and girls dressed so beautifully and all moving in one direction. I asked my uncle, ‘’who are these?’ he answered, ‘’they are students from Achimota school going to the school farm.’’ I was about 4 and had no concept of students or farm. Neither existed in Osu. As they moved to either side of the road to make room for us to drive through, I heard them speak English. I turned to my uncle and said, ‘’Daddy, wɔsɛɛ ma ba school nɛɛ” to wit, Daddy, in future, I would come to this school.
I noticed the time of the day and hence would run from home to come and wave at them while asking, ‘’how are you?’’ the only English words I could put together those days. Nobody knew I had created a small Mecca for myself. One fateful day, one of Mr. Dokosi’s sons saw me waving at the students bare chested. He was coming home from his primary school. He pulled me to my aunt and I then told her of my pilgrimage to the gate to see the students go to the farm and my desire to be like them.
My aunt said something that had stayed with me forever, ‘’if you want to come to Achimota, then when you start school you must study very hard.’’ I do not know whether I would have been the same me without this experience. What I know is that I took my aunt’s advice very seriously and the path from Klamɔ to Melbourne was inspired by the dress code and uniform of Achimota school.
The principle of this dress code, I support. Achimota must appeal.
Tswa omanye aba.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Rastafarianism and Numbers Chapter
Opinion: Dr. Nii Amu Darko