Ganta Mayor Calls Out J. W. Pearson for Holding ‘Thanksgiving Service’ Prior to WAEC Results

GANTA, Nimba – Amid graduation ceremonies being held before the release of WAEC scores, Mayor Benjamin S. K. Dokpa of Ganta has stressed the need for institutions around the country to respect the rules established by the Ministry of Education.

High school students are required to pass the exams administered by the West African Examination Council before graduating; however, there have been reports of several high schools holding ceremonies similar to graduation programs, some of which are labeled as a “thanksgiving service.”

Dokpa’s comments, which were made prior to WAEC releasing the exam results, criticized a similar thanksgiving service for the government-run John Wesley Pearson High School. He reminded the administration of the institution that they are under obligation as a government entity to uphold the mandate of the Ministry of Education, which prohibited such programs while WAEC results are pending.

“We need to set an example. Let me be frank with the administration,” the mayor said. “The government-run institutions should be the one to take the lead of those policies – setting the record good for those policies to be implemented.”

Dokpa said calling the ceremony by names other than “graduation” did not change the situation.

“We see people wearing gowns and taking photos that they are graduating,” he said. “Graduation is a process, and we must, therefore, take into account those policies that lead to graduation.”

The mayor also used the occasion to remind parents and guardians about their role in the education of their children.

“Education does not just end here after graduating from 12th grade,” he said. “You need to push them for higher education – there are much more impacts to be made beyond 12th grade.”

On July 17, the Pearson High School held a thanksgiving service for over 250 senior students at the Ganta Sports Field.

W. Pearson’s senior class during a thanksgiving service on July 17 at the Kumasi (Ganta) Sports Field. Photo by Arrington Ballah

In a brief remark that preceded the occasion, the vice principal of academic affairs, Timothy Karlie, had told parents and guardians that “this is not a graduation program, but rather a thanksgiving ceremony for our students,” in an apparent attempt to avoid falling out of favor with the Ministry of Education.

“We will have our official graduation program after we receive the students’ results from WAEC,” he said.

The Ministry of Education issued its own yearly warning against institutions holding graduation for 12th graders in the absence of WAEC results. However, those warnings are rarely, if ever, enforced.

Featured photo by Arrington Ballah

Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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