Register eligible voters directly at senior high schools—Hayford Ayerakwa to EC

Ghana Education Service (GES) has granted permission for eligible students to participate in the exercise

Development economist and community development expert, Hayford Ayerakwa, has raised concerns regarding the ongoing limited voter registration process in Ghana, particularly its impact on students, especially those in rural areas.

While the Ghana Education Service (GES) has granted permission for eligible students to participate in the exercise, logistical and financial barriers have emerged, particularly in rural communities.

One major concern highlighted was the financial burden placed on families, especially those grappling with poverty, to send their children back home for registration.

Ayerakwa emphasised the difficulty some families face in raising funds to send their children back to school after breaks, let alone for an additional trip solely for voter registration.

Moreover, the logistics of obtaining registration centre permission pose a significant challenge, with some schools far from district offices.

Ayerakwa cited examples such as Bosso Senior High Technical School and Anum Presbyterian Secondary School, situated at the extreme ends of their districts, making it arduous for students to access registration centres.

“These are schools that are at the extreme end of the constituents or the district, so getting students to even go to the district assembly at Atimpoku to register to participate in Election 2024 is problematic. Yes, the leadership of these schools is aware that GES has given the permission so any student who comes and seeks to exit for this purpose will be given but these students do not have the means to travel.”

In proposing solutions, Ayerakwa suggested revising the Electoral Commission’s (EC) approach to registration. He advocated for EC officers to visit high schools and allocate dedicated days for student registration.

This approach, he argued, would mitigate the financial and logistical burdens faced by students and their families while also minimising learning disruptions.

“I think one of the things we can do is for the EC to revise its modus operandi and allow its officers to go to high schools and devote some number of days to allow them to be able to register these students who are eligible so that it saves them the cost of travelling, it saves them the risk of travelling and the risk of students going home and not coming back and the risk of losing contact hours with their teachers.”

Reporting by Caleb Ahinakwah in Accra

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