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Opinions of Monday, 11 January 2021

Columnist: Matilda Dankwa

A distress call to all heads of schools, educators, educational CSOs and parents

Appreciation is an excellent instrument which can be used at all times in our society to obtain favour and foster cordiality before families, friends, neighbours, kings and queens.

As the Good Book says, “A man’s gift makes a way for him before kings,” it is a good thing to offer gifts to pave the way for a cordial relationship in the society we interact in.

To buttress the earlier point, the Bible gives further quotes that support giving: “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” “God loves a cheerful giver.” It is nonetheless important to note that unless the Lord builds, they labour in vain that build; except the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen keep in vain – Psalm 127:1

I would like to point out, however, that in the Central Region, particular in Kasoa, most private schools are adopting a behaviour which is inimical to the development of the country and the next generation. This culture is breeding bribery and corruption in the hearts of pupils who are going to be the future leaders of our beloved nation Ghana. I speak for Kasoa because I am from there, and I have witnessed this.

The word of God admonishes us to train up the child in the way they should go, and when they grow, they will not depart from it, the right way. However, if we do the opposite, we would get the result that comes with that.

I am directed at the detrimental culture we, as heads of schools, are encouraging and fueling during the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (B.E.C.E). Like I remarked earlier, it is a good thing to give, and give cheerfully. So, motivating invigilators and supervisors at examinations centres during BECE can be done at the will of heads and proprietors of school, and in no way should the giving affect the invigilators’ disposition towards the candidates. If it does, then bribery is being encouraged.

I have noticed with disdain that schools, regardless of their stance, number of candidates or beliefs, are being compelled to pay a certain amount of money for the purpose of motivating invigilators. And a refusal to do so would warrant a hostile composure from invigilators upon the school at fault, and at times, tampering with booklets of candidates.

This has actually become a custom, an annual one, where schools are compelled to pay, and those who cannot pay go through a lot of harassment during the examination. This has continued for a while now, especially in Kasoa, because I am a proprietress in that area, and I am well aware of this happening.

Now, I would like to suggest that precaution must be taken in order not to tarnish the values of integrity, diligence, perseverance, temperance and the vision for the youth, who are the leaders of tomorrow.

We must be careful not to pollute the next Presidents, Ministers of State, Businesspersons, and Professionals (Doctors, Accountants, Security Agents, Lawyers). Imagine having a generation of crooked doctors and lawyers providing service to you, I just cringe at such a thought.

Schools should not compromise because they want good grades, to get more enrolments and make more money, at the mercy of the future. What shall it profit us school owners if we gain all the wealth and thwart the future? Posterity will punish us.

Educational institutions must discourage any undisciplined lifestyle, disrespectful attitude, rudeness to authorities, laziness to studies, and arrogance. We should help and counsel pupils to be hardworking and avid readers in all areas. Readers are leaders. We are to encourage them to be creative, innovative and skilful as they become deep thinkers who will bring solutions to the issues of the world.

The future is shaky and scary with the thoughts of laziness, ill-character and undesired attitudes being king and reigning in the lives of our children. With this culture which is currently ruling, our children would go to tertiary and refuse to attend lectures just because they know that at an examination, invigilators will give them the leeway to engage in malpractices. They will come out with results they do not deserve and occupy positions they are not fit for. We would have helped create square pegs for round holes, and this will come back to bite us big time.

How would we nurture future leaders of substance if we are only concerned about academic results? How would our future leaders impact the next generation with morality and the fear of God? How would the Ghanaian child in the next 50 years behave like with this trajectory?

We, as school heads and owners, should go back and bring the fear of God, which is the only beginning of wisdom, into the lives of our students. Ghana has no future if we sit down unconcerned. Let us wake up and save the only beloved country we have for the next generation, our future leaders. Our youth, currently, are losing values that have built nations.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to its people.

The one who rules with the fear of God makes the people rejoice, but when one without reverence for God rules, the land suffers and the people mourn.

My dear colleagues, we should not embrace this cancer at all, particularly because of the role we are supposed to play as agents of socialization and change agents. ‘The thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy…’ John 10:10.

We should not sit down for this degeneration to fester on. We can appreciate whoever we will, but when it becomes a compulsion inversely parallel to the openly and legally accepted norm, it should be discouraged outright. In particular, when the appreciation becomes so open, that candidates have the cajones to hand envelopes to invigilators…

I know a lot of heads of school will be angry with me because this has helped build the very fragile pedigree their institutions currently have. If we want to make this compulsory, let us have a national consensus to do this for the invigilator, so that no one takes this as an opportunity to encourage malpractices. After all, we all pay the same fees for registration; we can do the same for appreciation for invigilators. Doing this at the blindside of the public is illegal, and should be rooted out of our society.

No stumbling, no falling; let us arise and defend the bright future of the youth. There must be no more deception in the form of bribery and corruption in our educational system. Our country needs cleansing, and it must start at the educational level. Get them young, and they will be yours forever. There should be an end to this deception in the form of bribery and corruption.

There must be a full stop with an immediate effect to this practice from the next BECE in 2021. The educational sector is crying out for transparency: cleanse our educational examinations.

It is time to stop breeding bad and incompetent leadership for our future generation. Teachers of all schools, especially the proprietor, proprietress, rectors, deans and chancellors, must arise and stand firm for the future - quoting Isaiah 60:1-2.

All must come onboard and stamp-out this deep-rooted corrupt and deceptive canker eating the integrity in our educational system. Let us fight this, the future beckons on us. Let us do this as some forebears did for our freedom.

I am counting on your cooperation to drive this out and safeguard our future. Thank you.

A Concerned Educator and School Owner

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