Joy News’ investigations into marijuana cultivation in the Brong Ahafo Region have revealed some students are engaged in the practice to pay for their education.
In one of the schools, Nsawkaw State Senior High School, students were discovered to be engaged in marijuana or “weed” farming and smuggling to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali, simply to raise money to cater for their educational needs.
Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey reports that with no means of survival after school, the students go into full-scale weed farming till they are caught by the police.
Joe Manu [not real name], a former student of the Nsawkaw State Senior High School, now specializes in growing marijuana or Indian hemp as a full-time business. Joe walked Kwetey Nartey through how he has been cultivating and smuggling marijuana to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali.
In his room, Joe pulled out a black polythene bag full of Indian hemp, and confirmed that he cultivated weed to pay for his secondary education.
The 27-year-old was introduced into the business when he was only nine years old, by his senior brother. He attended class on Mondays and Tuesdays, and spent the rest of the days on his weed farm.
Like him, other students who did not want to be identified said the only lucrative activity that can fund their education and enable them cater for their families is marijuana farming.
One of the teachers at Nsawkaw corroborated the story, but said the students are tight-lipped about the location of their farms.
Victor Owusu-Ansah agrees, a former national service teacher at the Nsawkaw State Senior High School, he said the practice is an open secret.
But the headmaster of the school, Kwame Ampofo Opoku denies knowledge of the claim. He, however, admits that many students are unable to pay their fees.
With many families at Nsawkaw unable to pay for their children’s education, it appears the practice may not end anytime soon until government provides a safety net to economically empower them, otherwise accessing secondary education will remain a pipe dream for many young people in the area.