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Education

Teachers in Ghana Exposed in ‘Sex for Grades’ Documentary Finally Suspended


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Women and girls around the world face various forms of gender-based violence. To end poverty by 2030, we must prevent sexual abuse in the workplace and in schools. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Two teachers at the University of Ghana have been suspended following the 2019 BBC documentary Sex for Grades that revealed they had sexually harassed reporters posing as students.

The university’s disciplinary committee said in a statement released to the BBC on Monday that it had ruled that the teachers had breached the university’s code of conduct rules when they made lewd comments to students. The university suspended Ransford Gyampo for six months and Paul Butakor for four months, without pay. Both men deny the allegations made in the documentary.

Gyampo and Butakor will be required to complete training about the university’s sexual harassment misconduct policy. They will only be allowed to return to the school if they receive a positive assessment following the training, and will receive annual assessments for the next five years, the statement said. 

In Ghana, gender-based violence and sexual abuse are not limited to college campuses. Studies found that 14% of girls are victims of sexual abuse and 52% have experienced violence. 

The teachers’ suspension has received mixed reactions from residents of Accra, where the University of Ghana is located. 

One woman told the BBC that the short-term punishment “makes the whole investigation a joke.” Another man felt differently and said the university’s action will empower other students to speak out against harassment. 

A Nigerian teacher was also suspended after Sex for Grades aired in October. The Nigerian Senate debated a bill reintroduced in response to the BBC’s investigation on Monday, which would make it illegal for professors to make any advances towards students. Currently, there are few laws that prohibit sexual harassment in the country and some states only have regulations within tertiary schools.

Read More: Revealing Documentary Prompts Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill in Nigeria

Ghanian activists are hopeful that the outrage sparked by the BBC’s expose will encourage more survivors to speak out.