Wesley Girls PTA defends decision not to allow Muslim students fast

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The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast has justified a decision by the school not to allow Muslim students to partake in the Ramadan fast.

This support for the school from the PTA comes on the back of the Methodist Church of Ghana’s statement disregarding an order by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to allow the students to fast.

In a statement, the PTA indicated that the parents of the students accepted the school’s rules before enrolling their wards and, as such, the institution cannot be coerced into compromising its long-standing regulations on the basis of the students’ religious preferences.

“The school should not be forced to compromise its rules and regulations to accommodate students’ individual preferences which border on religion. This is unsustainable.”

It added that: “the school’s undertaking was clear, among other things about the fact that the School is a Methodist School and that students will have to abide by the school’s rules and policies. Importantly, the school’s no fasting rule is non-discriminatory, affecting the students of all faiths in the school.”

The Association made a point that they are uncomfortable with the GES’ directive because it could compromise the health of their wards, thereby affecting their academic studies.

“As major stakeholders in the education of our daughters, we are satisfied that the School’s no fasting policy which is based on health reasons is in the best interest of our daughters. We have been informed about the past experiences of students who nearly died under such circumstances.”

It has therefore also asked authorities of the GES to reverse the directive.

“We urge the GES to reconsider its directive to the School and all other schools in order to avoid a situation where there will be inundated with requests by parents and students on their individual religious preferences and practices”, the PTA said.

Full statement by the Wesley Girls’ PTA 

The PTA of Wesley Girls’ High School, has read with much concern the issues surrounding a Muslim Student on fasting during Ramadan. Even more worrying for us is the misrepresentation of the issue by sections of the media leading to this matter being looked at from a religious perspective instead of a health perspective. From our understanding the parents of the student after the explanation given by the Headmistress left amicably, and with clarity on the school’s reasons for not allowing fasting. The student in question also indicated she liked the School and chose to remain in the School.

As parents whose wards are in Wesley Girls and who represent different faiths and beliefs, we all signed the School’s undertaking which we received during orientation. The undertaking was clear, among other things about the fact that the School is a Methodist School and that students will have to abide by the School’s rules and policies. Importantly the school’s no fasting rule is non-discriminatory, affecting students of all faiths in the School.

As major stakeholders in the education of our daughters, we are satisfied that the School’s no fasting policy which is based on health reasons is in the best interest of our daughters. We have been informed about the past experiences of students who nearly died under such circumstances. We are therefore uncomfortable with any directive that could compromise the health of our daughters whom we have entrusted to the School. From our feedback and observation, the School strictly enforces its policies without discrimination. The School’s rules on rising hours, daily housework, classes, dining hall, PE, and other school activities including fasting are compulsory for all students.

The results are evident for all to see: Wesley Girls remains the most sought-after School in Ghana and continues to churn out well-groomed young women who make an impact wherever they go. The transformation of our children even after a single semester in the School is a testament to the School’s commitment to its mission of grooming young women not only academically but in terms of their attitudes. Our daughters in the School testify to the high standards of discipline due to the enforcement of the rules and regulations of the School. At the last orientation for parents of Form 1 organized by the School, there was a session on Good Parenting by a Lecturer from the University of Cape Coast: This is just one example of the extent to which Wesley Girls goes to ensure that parents and the school work hand in hand to ensure holistic education for our daughters.

The School should not be forced to compromise its rules and regulations to accommodate students’ individual preferences which border on religion. This is unsustainable.

We urge the GES to reconsider its directive to the School and all other schools in order to avoid a situation where schools will be inundated with requests by parents and students on their individual religious preferences and practices.

The PTA will continue to support the School as they nurture our daughters in an environment of discipline, non-discrimination, and the highest standards of excellence, making Ghana proud each year.

Signed

PTA Executives
(On behalf of PTA of Wesley Girls’ High School)