This is the major call made by the Minister of Secondary Education after the rescue visit she undertook to Government Bilingual High School Ekounou (GBHS Ekounou) on Friday, 19 March 2021.

The incident of the video depicting students being picked up from a home by police officers has prompted Secondary Education Minister to undertake an inspection visit to GBHS Ekounou, as some of the characters portrayed in the video were later on identified as students of this school.

The Secondary Education boss who was accompanied by the Secretary General and the Inspector General of Services went down the field, to take stock of the situation, sensitize the various stakeholders and issue stern warning to those who tend to go astray and mislead the education community. The morning visit which consisted mainly of discussions with students, classroom inspections and an in-camera meeting, gave Prof Nalova Lyonga a first-hand experience on the discipline implemented at GBHS Ekounou.

Prof Nalova Lyonga inquired from the late-comers found on the school premises to find out what actually justified their lateness and provided pieces of advice to both students and the school staff on how to avert and manage this phenomenon. A short tour in the classrooms offered glimpses on the discipline in classrooms, ranging from security and cleanliness to teachers’ presence in the classrooms.

In the in-camera meeting held with the administrative staff of GBHS Ekounou and the female students involved in the video, the ministry’s top management sought to understand the reasons behind this attitude which does not promote the image of the girl child.

From every account, these students most of whom are from a single-parent family, are at the crossroads and seem to lack benchmark on how to lead their youthful life. Notwithstanding, Prof Nalova Lyonga cautioned the young girls to shy away from bad deeds and focus more on their studies and become the “ambassadors for girl safety”, since girls are vulnerable persons.

Building on the incident and relying on what was observed on the school campus upon arrival, the Minister of Secondary Education urged the entire school staff to work as a team so as to ensure the smooth running of the school. Disciplinary masters, in particular, were instructed to remobilise, show proof of duty-consciousness and efficiently commit themselves to ensuring that education takes place in a conducive environment.

In her address to the media, Prof Nalova Lyonga expressed her commitment not to dismiss the students in question as she perceives their act as a desperate call for help they are sending to adults. She therefore called on parents to avoid laxity and fully play their role through a consistent follow-up of their offsprings.