The government yesterday described as a national disaster the death of nine students who drowned in the Oti River at Saboba in the Northern Region last Friday.
Consequently, it extended its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and the people of Saboba.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Reverend John Ntim Fordjour who led a government delegation to commiserate with the families of the nine students assured them of government’s support in their period of grief.
Rev. Fordjour condemned the practice of using students and pupils for teachers’ private activities and urged the Ghana Education Service to institute measures to stop it immediately.
He emphasised that the death of the pupils should be a lesson and that such incident should never happen again.
The Deputy Minister stated that the incident of Saboba should bring an end to the phenomenon.
Rev. Fordjour said that it was time for GES to enforce its code of conduct strictly going forward.
The Director-General of GES, Prof Kwasi Oppoku Amankwa, who was on the government’s delegation said the behaviour of the head teacher was contrary to the rules and regulations of GES and would be made to face the consequence of his action.
The Director-General further stated that measures would be put in place to ensure academic performance of the students in the Saboba District was not hampered as a result of the disaster.
A spokesperson of the bereaved families, Mr Josse Ngulbi Nyimakan, appealed to the government to limit the punishment to be meted to the headmaster.
He further stated that although the tragedy was sudden it was not intentional.
The delegation later paid a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of Saboba Traditional Area, Mateer John Bowan, at his palace in Saboba.
In other development, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has commiserated with the parents of the nine pupils of the St. Charles Lwanga Roman Catholic Church Junior High School at Saboba, who were alleged to be part of the 31 pupils who got drowned in the Oti River.
In a press statement issued and signed by the General Secretary, Mr Thomas T. Musa, yesterday in Accra the Association said it was deeply hit by the unfortunate story.
“All the National Council Members expressed their deep sorrow to the parents, the community and the school. At this time the association is relieved that the other 22 pupils are safe,” the statement said.
FROM YAKUBU ABDUL-MAJEED, SABOBA