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Opinions of Saturday, 11 January 2020

Columnist: Asha Boakye Yiadom

Ghana’s Educational System: Lessons from the Chinese old man


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I once heard a renowned African American preacher by the name of Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry give an account of one of his many travels. He stated that while he was on a plane he sat next to another Chinese gentleman.

They both were exchanging causal travel banter until the common question was asked, ‘Why are your traveling?’. The Chinese man, very old in age began a fantastic tale of how a distant great grandfather had set in motion a 500-year plan for his family and he, at the age of 80 years was traveling home to finish the final piece of that plan.

The Chinese gentleman was full of pride having been alive long enough to complete a plan that was started so many years ago by an ancestor he had never had the pleasure of meeting yet was still connected by a common goal. This man clearly had been raised with a great sense of responsibility, pride, and allegiance to the plan that had no doubt been set in motion with great fervour and passion.

What dedication and a clear sense of belonging. The input, energy, and resources of this Chinese man were needed, expected and required to complete this mission. He wasn’t alone. There were hundreds of people, all from the same family and most unknown to each other yet having a commonality through blood and belief in a common goal for the greater good...how fantastic! What if Ghana had a similar plan for educating its youth?

Currently the Education Ministry of Ghana has made some interesting reforms to its curriculum that proposes to make education ‘more responsive to the human resource and development needs of Ghana.’ If this is true, then naturally the question is, what area or sector does Ghana need Human Resources in and when you say development, in exactly what? Are we educating a generation of Ghanaians who aspire to leave Ghana to build other nations?

Or we have 100-year goal to have one of the greatest African educational systems in Africa and the world? What about this new reform will encourage anyone to stay and build towards a Ghana that rivals other so called 1st world nations? The United States, UK, Germany, Canada and other non-African nations are benefiting from the energy and gifting of our youth, all with our applause and cheer. Meanwhile Ghana struggles to have paved roads... Is this new educational reform more of the same?

Other nations have mastered the art of educating their youth by becoming flexible, knowing when to change and understanding how the world is moving and shifting and adjusting educational methodologies, materials and systems accordingly.

Interestingly, in the list of the top 20 countries with the best educational system in the world, Ghana isn’t even mentioned. Why is this so? Especially when Ghanaians have the capacity, capability and means to educate our own with equal or even superior systems then our counterparts.

I have been teaching in Ghana for six years both privately and professionally in my school, never in all my over 25 years of experience have I taught more keen, disciplined or respectful students. These students were not hatched out of an egg in such manner! Clearly the potential to raise and teach a generation of world conquering leaders is embedded in the tapestry of Ghanaian tradition and culture.

What we plan to do with our people is our burden and also our gift. Is it not beholden on us to treasure, mould and train our children in the way they should go? Ghana’s future glory is waiting earnestly for them.

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