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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Columnist: Banamini, David A.

A Rejoinder To The Bread Of Sorrow

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Following the publications about the above subject matter in the widely read newspaper—Daily Graphic on Friday, March 18, Saturday, March 19, and subsequently an editorial on Monday, March 21, 2011, I find prudent and necessary to put a rejoinder for the purposes of clarity, honesty, setting the records straight and other ethical considerations. Frankly speaking, the issue is not about the bread as the publications sought to, and has portrayed; rather it has to do with the letter and spirit of moral upbringing which is embedded in the teachings of the Christian religion which the catholic doctrine seeks to exercise at all cost.

Let me state that the decision of indefinite suspension may be seen as hash per the publications, but its’ face value and the after benefits are invaluable. Suffice it to add that in other mission schools, students are sent home for picking a fallen ripe mango to eat without permission. Therefore, the publication is a complete nonstarter in the face of the above—discipline. These are students the institute is spending not only sleepless nights to groom academically, but also morally as society’s future leaders.

We were all in this country when there was a loud hue and cry about the fallen standards in education spear-headed by the media; and all the various experts that were tasked to find solutions to the problem unanimously agreed that all mission schools should be returned to the missions. Why the missions? The secret is the discipline which has always been the core value of both the church and the mosque. The authorities were compelled to go at this tangent just to preserve the sanctity of the catholic training of which the Principal—Rev. Br. Kunditani had promised some agencies and corporate bodies when he was lobbying for practical attachment avenues for these students which they have long been benefiting immensely from. It is better and wise for such pilfering behaviors to be dealt with in-house than to allow a spillover in the companies and institutions where these students will be posted for industrial training.

It is very intriguing to note that this is not the only theft incident recorded in the school as the publication has indicated—a loaf of bread. Can you believe that these students stole 30 bags of cement meant for construction work in the school? Their thievery has not spared electrical fittings and a host of others which cannot be catalogued for want of space. Yes the loaf of bread finally broke the camel’s back forcing the authorities to crack the whip. In any case the students were not dismissed; the indefinite suspension was reached by the school authorities in consultation with the Board of Directors after the students stridently refused to disclose the culprit who broke into the dining room of the Reverend Brothers and bolted away with a loaf of bread. The continuous intransigence of these students on this matter is about the fear of the repercussions that would be meted out to the victimized student(s). Moreover, the authorities are determined to stop the stealing spree in the school irrespective of what is stolen or who is involved. It is however regrettable that the media that has always been a partner in fighting this noble crusade has just decided to slip. Nonetheless, you (the media) are still a major stakeholder in preaching discipline in schools especially in the Holy Cross Youth Training Center.

The 2011 National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) Certificate One Examination of the students is not in limbo or hangs in the balance as the Daily Graphic’s publication sought to establish. The registration processes are almost finalized for them (students) to write the examination except for some few isolated cases. It will even be strange for the concept of certificate examination to be suspended under the watch of Rev.Kunditani because he, (the principal of the school) almost single handedly worked and midwifed the introduction of the NVTI concept—in lieu of students taking the exam as private candidates. Hitherto, it was even only workshop and practical training that was given to the students. When Rev. Kunditani assumed direction in 2001, the first batch sat for the NVTI examination in 2003 this makes the Daily Graphic’s reportage on the NVTI examination completely misplaced. Many people still hold a lot of respect for the media as an agent of change in society regardless of the spineless journalistic practice engaged by some. The facts were skewed, unbalanced and the story was just an attempt to malign the person of Rev. Kunditani which is unfortunate. When Daily Graphic posited in their publication that attempts to contact him (the principal) failed can never be true because he spoke to the supposed reporter on the issue after he had declined to speak on air when an anonymous radio presenter called him. The school authorities could not have allowed a journalist accompanied by students who had gone berserk into the school. The journalist only even introduced himself as a freelance practitioner and many was not at the least surprised at the angle of the story as published. I should think that a skillful reporter from a famous media house such as Graphic Communications Group Ltd. would have produced a more professional, decent and balanced copy rather than the somewhat surrogate journalistic output.

It is proper to bring to your notice (readers) that the Daily Graphic’s publication also failed to acknowledge that these students are on subvention from Holy Cross’ benefactors. They pay only a little above GHC45 as fees per term. Readers were utterly surprised when Graphic said in their publication that the students were demanding their school fees, but deliberately failed to tell the readers how much the students pay as fees. Authorities are doing everything within their means to help the students acquire meaningful education and never to deny them that right.

The school’s authorities are committed to their core mandate of training these students, which no doubt is always and ought to be punctuated with the needed discipline without any compromise whatsoever. They are equally conscious of the fact that the task is herculean; that is the more reason why they are up to the challenge and hope the media will rather partner them in this crusade of molding and remolding the youth into meaningful and productive citizens devoid of mischief and dishonesty. In this regard, should the media dare scourge them?

David Banamini,

Kaleo-Nayikori Wa-UW/R.

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