Reverend Sister Bernardine Pemi, Upper East Regional Manager of the Catholic Education Unit of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese has admonished teachers to monitor the activities of foreign teacher volunteers in the Region.
She observed that “some of the foreign volunteers who come here for voluntary services are abusers at home, we need to be very watchful of them. They come here and feel that laws do not work, and want to abuse our children”.
Sister Pemi gave the caution at a child protection policy training programme for both staff and teachers of the Saint John’s Integrated Senior High Technical School at Tono in the Upper East Region.
The Manager said the Dioceses, through the Catholic Education Unit had made significant progress in producing and implementing a policy environment for the protection of children.
She said the policy was to enlighten teachers about how they could manage students and provide safer environment for them to learn.
She said some of the volunteers were usually left to go on excursions with school children unaccompanied by permanent teachers to monitor what happens during such visits.
“The children cannot also come back and tell us what they have done because they do not think we will believe them if they say it”, she added, and cautioned that “do not take things for granted, else you will be taken unawares”.
The Reverend Sister further warned volunteers against all forms of child abuses, adding that perpetrators of such practices would be dealt with according to the laws of Ghana. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” She noted.
Sister Pemi called on teachers to be mindful of the language they use on students during contact hours, and said “some of the children are so timid and cannot respond to questions in class, not because they do not know, but because they were told at home to keep quite when an adult is speaking, they see the teacher as the image of an adult”.
She urged the teachers to extend the love and care they had for their biological children at home to the students they taught.
Schooling them on how to handle abuse cases, Sister Pemi entreated them to strengthen the information management systems within the school community and always endeavour to document all cases of abuse brought to their attention by victims, right in their presence and read it out for them to verify.
She said both the teacher and victim should sign on the document, and implored them to refer cases of child abuse beyond their power to the appropriate quarters for redress.
Sister Pemi noted that the health and safety of children rested on all, including teachers, parents and the community.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency after the programme, Mr Thomas Anaba, a teacher, who expressed gratitude to the Catholic Education Unit for the initiative, said he was well equipped to identify children with special needs in class.
“I have personally benefitted a lot from this programme and I know it will go a long way to modify aspects of my life in person, with regards to the way I view children, and the kind of impacts I should create on them”. He added.