GPA calls for concrete policies to enhance zero tolerance of sexual abuse

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Accra, Aug. 17, GNA – The Ghana Psychological Association (GPA), has called for concrete policies to ensure the zero tolerance for all forms of sexual abuse.

Dr Erica Danfrekua Dickson, National President of GPA, said the spate of sexual abuse in schools perpetuated by teachers and authority figures in the nation’s educational institutions calls for policies that advocate for a zero tolerance of sexual or other abuses in schools.

She said there is the need to have trained school and counselling psychologists in educational facilities to manage students who encounter such traumatic experiences and other adversities.

She said the current practice of having teachers who have received brief training in counselling to do the task was inadequate.

“Such teachers are overly tasked and can hardly spare the time to do thorough assessments, formulation and psychotherapies” she said.

Dr Dickson said this in her welcome address at GPA’s 2019 Public Lecture and Annual General Meeting in Accra.

The event, which registered psychologists of various sub-fields, was held on the theme: “Attaining Quality Education: Untying the Knotty Issues”.

Dr Dickson said sports and exercise were essential to the training of children, as research indicates that children who engage in sports exhibit more active brain function, better concentration levels in class and have higher self-esteem; factors that best support academic performance.

She said clinical, health, developmental and neuropsychologists were able to identify early neurodevelopmental disorders.

“Should they be engaged to do so, the practice where our children are first diagnosed of such at an age double, what pertains in the western world could be a thing of the past”, she said.

She said such children with special needs needed to have an early intervention for better outcomes.

Dr Dickson said the average age at which psychologists were identifying children with neurodevelopmental disorders was an average of 8.97 years, saying, by this age, all emotional complications that come with not managing them early had become florid, complicating their difficult life and that of their parents.

She said at every stage in the education sector, therefore, psychologists had a role to play; from policy to implementation, and the proper development of children even those with special needs to reach their optimum capability.

Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo, Deputy Minister of Education, said a major concern to the Education Ministry was accessing teacher efficiency as well as their morale.

She said industrial and organisational psychologists can help in developing performance management framework.

Mrs Ampofo was of the view that this group of psychologists could make suggestions to the Teaching Council on alternative methodologies for assessing teacher efficiency while at the same time developing low-cost techniques to increase teacher efficiency and satisfaction.

“Ghanaian psychologists can increase their relevance by making available their knowledge to the educational sector, I will call on you to reach out to us because there are always competing demands on our time and the limited resources available to execute projects,” she said.

Reverend Dr Kwesi Nkum-Wilson, Principal of Komenda Training College, who delivered the keynote address, underscored the need for every society to have its own educational system to address its needs.

He said currently, teachers are being trained on the new curriculum and much emphasis was placed on critical thinking.

Rev Dr Nkum-Wilson said changing mode of assessment was a laudable initiative, as the old curriculum was about comparing performance with others, and not what the child can do for him or herself, hence it was unresponsive to current issues.

He said unemployment and filth are among Ghana’s major challenges and expressed the hope that with the right educational system the country would be able to address its challenges.

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