Schools at Cemeteries
A GNA feature by Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi
Ho, Feb. 2, Ghanadot/GNA - Little
Kobby, a pupil at the Local Authority Primary One, is very
intelligent and sociable at home but dull and moody at
He cries on his way to school daily and no amount of
pampering or candies could kick him to walk briskly as
He sometimes digs in his feet like an ass refusing to go any
further especially when he reached the last spot- a public
cemetery near his school.
The cemetery with its quiet features and dark canopies of
trees is not a scare to only Little Kobby but many other
pupils, who look the other way to avoid looking at the
Gradually, the situation becomes better as these young
pupils grow in age and courage and begin to walk to school
all by themselves, however, with some lingering fear.
Mr Francis Galenku, a Psychiatric Nurse, confessed that even
at Junior High School, he preferred to use other long and
tortuous routes to school just to avoid a shorter route
through the cemetery.
He said anytime school was about closing, his mind went to
how he was going to get home without having to look at the
cemetery just opposite his classroom.
Obviously, this fear of the cemetery goes beyond emotions to
affect the academic work of pupils and students, who either
pass through a cemetery to school or think about it while in
Cemeteries all over the world are supposed to be sacred
places where the dead are consigned till the end of time.
Several myths are associated with cemeteries across all
religions and cultures in Africa.
The Reverend Jerry Hansen Wedanu, Volta Regional Coordinator
of Ghana Youth for Christ, said Christians have a lot of
respect for the dead and as such revered their final home -
Traditionalists also consider cemeteries as the home of
ancestors and consequently seclude it from where people live
in order to give them a quiet and serene repose.
Until recently, people did not visit the cemetery at will
for fear of encountering ghosts or spirits. Few people,
however, go there secretly in the night for spiritual
purposes. Some also visit the place once in several years to
pay respect to the spirits of their dead relatives.
These days, cemeteries have become the home for many schools
in Ghana. A high percentage of schools from basic to
tertiary levels are located where cemeteries used to be or
In the Ho Municipal area, almost all Senior High Schools are
either located at or near public cemeteries.
Part of the OLA Senior High School, Ho used to be an old
cemetery; Mawuko Girls, Mawuli School and Kpedze are all
located near cemeteries.
Many other private and public basic schools are located at
or near cemeteries in the Municipality.
The situation is not different from other districts or
regions. Many people would argue that the situation is due
to the high demand for land and its scarcity in recent
Yes while this could be true, a critical consideration ought
to be given to the consequences of locating such
institutions, some for children in their formative years, at
or near cemeteries.
The phenomenon of occultism in schools could be a direct or
indirect consequence of locating secondary schools at or
Some students of such schools have turned those cemeteries
into their classroom annexes and are always found there
whenever they were out of class.
They play with all kinds of spirits with the help of their
“occult masters” as they test the powers of the spirits.
Some of them are even bold enough to bring some of the
spiritual materials to the classroom to demonstrate their
powers to colleagues.
Some deviant youths, who use prohibited drugs, find
cemeteries to be safe havens for smoking Indian hemp 24/7
and some students are lured to pick up these dangerous
Such deviant students acquire the “skills” very fast and
also visit the cemetery with their notebooks under the
pretext of going to learn but end up smoking Indian hemp.
One wished that ghosts were still active as they were said
to be some years ago, to discipline these students.
Under the circumstances stakeholders in education should
give critical consideration to the choice regarding the
location of schools before their establishment.
This is because the location of schools could either make or
unmake the very people for whom those institutions were
Heads of schools that are already situated at or near
cemeteries must make stringent regulations to deter students
from going to the cemeteries, which are the exclusive abodes
of our ancestors, who must be left to rest in perfect peace.