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Opinions of Saturday, 28 July 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Ablakwa is a screaming shame

If he had any remarkable sense of shame vis-à-vis the criminally anti-intellectual history of the leaders and founders of both the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa would not be ranting senselessly about the abjectly poor quality of basic and secondary public education in the country (See “Why Can’t ‘Competent’ Akufo-Addo Solve Free SHS Problems? – Ablakwa Quizzes” Ghanaweb.com 7/26/18).

For his information and edification, any talk of budgetary corner-cutting ought to squarely factor in the inescapable fact that it was the National Democratic Congress that implemented the scandalous policy of the 3-year Senior High School System, that is practiced nowhere in the civilized post-industrial world which also has the best educational system.

Back then, as I vividly recall, Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, the Atta-Mills’ Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, publicly and brazenly stated that the aim and objective of the 3-year Senior High School System was to ensure that young women graduated from school early and in time to grab themselves husbands and started making babies and families. Indeed, under the National Democratic Congress, education has never been an important intellectual and cultural preparation for coping with the difficulties of life in a technologically and economically underdeveloped country. At best, it was merely one of those instruments of social control inherited from the European colonialists, in our particular case, the British colonialists.

So it is rather amusing, indeed wickedly so, for the North-Tongu NDC-MP to be jiving about the fee-free Senior High School System’s having caused a precipitous decline in the quality of the country’s public education system. Maybe the most logical question to ask of himself here is as follows: If, indeed, National Democratic Congress governments and their leaders cared so much about the quality of education, how did it come about that Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, rather than facilitate the immediate upgrade of our public-school system, decided to send his own children to private preparatory schools?

Even for their secondary and tertiary education, the Rawlingses and many of their political associates and cronies flew their own young adult-children abroad to such “imperialist countries” as the United States, England and Switzerland, even as both the PNDC and the NDC leaders kept incessantly shutting down our universities and colleges, anytime that students demonstrated against political repression and a steadily declining national economy. We are here talking about some 20-plus years ago.

Mr. Ablakwa, whose North-Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region has one of the poorest public educational infrastructure facilities and trained teachers needs to explain precisely how many of the 200 Senior High School physical plants or school buildings that the Mahama regime operatives promised to erect were actually erected and fully equipped for their purposes. We must quickly underscore the fact that Mr. Ablakwa was both a Deputy Minister of Information and a Deputy Minister of Education during the period in question.

If he is able to honestly answer the foregoing question, he would then begin to fully appreciate why the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been struggling to come up with an SHS system that both ensures qualitative pedagogy, smaller class sizes and free access to every pupil who qualifies to attend, as opposed to the economically, morally and culturally regressive Social Darwinian system in which only the children of the politically connected, powerful and well-to-do get to attend in order to better their chances in life as tomorrow’s adults and policymakers and civil society leaders, while the fate of the rest literally goes down the tube.

If he does not understand the Two-Tracked System or the Semester System of Senior High School, as well as even at the basic level, which is practiced in advanced countries like the United States, let Mr. Ablakwa shut his oversized mouth up and humbly learn from the experts and stop making a perennial and clinical fool of himself. Under the Mahama regime, the quality of Ghana’s public education was ranked 146 out of 146 countries in a global survey conducted by the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

So what is all this nonsense about the Akufo-Addo government’s seeking to reduce the trimester system to a semester system in order to cut corners? Would the former nominal Deputy Education Minister bet on a qualitative comparison between the trimester system practiced in Ghana and the semester system practiced in the United States? At any rate, why did Mr. Ablakwa decide to have his own younger sister attend college in the United States? Come on, don’t waste our time and breath, you baby with sharp teeth!

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

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