The Ghana Education Service (GES) has revealed occultism has become a problem in senior high schools across the country, blaming poor parenting for the situation.
Public Relations Officer of GES, Rev Jonathan Bettey, says although headmasters and headmistresses of senior high schools have been asked to be vigilant, the schools can do so much to curb the situation.
“Discipline begins at home. If a mother is not able to control her children, what can teachers do?”, he quizzed.
He suggested that because in most cases teachers or school authorities have not been found to be deliberately involved in taking students through occult teachings, the rising spate of occultism in schools can only blamed on poor parenting.
Rev Jonathan Bettey was speaking on PM Express Tuesday in reaction to reports that scores of students at Wesley Girls Senior High School – located in the Central Region – have been reprimanded for engaging in occult practices.
Photo: PM Express airs on week days on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.
“In actual fact occultism in schools is a problem. These things are happening in our senior high schools,” said Rev Bettey, but revealed that media reports about the incident at the renowned Central Region girls’ school are not accurate.
He said the Wesley Girls High School headmistress’ version of the incident was that a certain man distributed a book suspected to espouse occultist teachings to students, but a student saw the book and reported to school authorities.
After a thorough search, school authorities saw the book, titled the ‘Ministry of Angels and How to Activate Them’, in the bags of some of the students.
Media reports had suggested that the students were being reprimanded for actually engaging in occultism.
One source said the 22 Wesley Girls students believe that there is nothing immoral about masturbation and lesbianism. It was alleged in the media reports that they believe premarital sex is not a sin contrary to what the Bible says and that there is no need asking for forgiveness of sins since Jesus’ death atoned for all sins. These beliefs contradict teachings of the school that follows the Methodist doctrine.
Rev Bettey however said the GES is still looking into the matter.
A man with deep insights into occultism, Mr Peter Hammond, who spoke to show host Malik Abass Daabu via telephone explained that students who usually engage in occultism do so in order to boost their retentive memory or achieve some super-human feats.
Mr Hammond however said there is always repercussions after students dabble in occultism.
Encyclopedia Britannica defines occultism as theories and practices involving a belief in and knowledge or use of supernatural forces or beings.
Reports of occult practices in schools have common. In February this year, six pupils at Mary Afriyie SDA JHS at Mamponteng in the Kwabre District of the Ashanti Region were allegedly caught performing occult activities in an uncompleted building.
National Vice President of University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Dr Eric Kwasi Ofori, who was the main guest on Tuesday’s show, said discipline in schools is a shared responsibility between the school and the home.
He urged parents to support education institutions in efforts to discipline their wards.
“It’s high time that we understand that [parents] cannot train or educate [their] ward from nursery to university under their own roof. So long as you send your child to a school then you have entrusted the responsibility to educate, to nurture the child to the school,” he said.
Dr Eric Kwasi Ofori
He also questioned how Wesley Girls Senir High School authorities allowed a stranger to distribute the occultic books to the students.