Girls in communities in the Upper Denkyira East municipality in the Central Region who travel across the Offin River to attend school on the other side of the river are forbidden to cross the river on Tuesdays.
They are also not allowed to cross the river when they are in their menses.
The order, supposed to be from the river gods, is adversely affecting the performance of girls in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the region.
The Upper Denkyira East Amoafo Circuit Supervisor of Education, Mr Prince Evans Acquah, made this known at a meeting of heads of junior high schools in the Central Region in Cape Coast yesterday.
Mr Acquah sought to know what the educational authority and the Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC) were doing to solve the problem.
The meeting, held by the CRCC, was to coordinate and evaluate the performance of schools in the region and analyse the problems leading to the decline in education in the region, with a view to finding solutions to them.
The River Offin serves as a boundary between the Ashanti and the Central regions and many children from the Ashanti Region, especially those in the settler communities, cross the river to attend school at Kyekyewere in the Central Region.
The tradition that debars girls from crossing the river has been reinforced by the fact that accidents occurred in the past involving women who tried to defy the river god.
In 2004, hundreds of women voters in villages beyond the Offin River in the Upper Denkyira Constituency could not take part in the by-election because of the taboo that bars women from crossing the river on Tuesdays.
The by-election was to replace Mr Charles Omar Nyanor, the Member of Parliament, who died in April 2004.
“There are a lot of issues impeding the development of education in the region. But what is worrying to me is the fact that girls in the settler communities, on the orders of the gods, are not allowed to cross the river on Tuesdays. They are also forbidden to cross the river when they are in their menses,” Mr Acquah said.
The order of the gods means that many girls skip classes on several days in the month, through no fault of theirs but because they respect the traditions of their communities.
Reacting to the concerns, the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, said he would liaise with the district chief executive for the area to explore the possibility of constructing classroom blocks in the settler communities on the other side of the River Offin to avoid conflict with the traditional authorities.
Source : Graphic Online