You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2010 03 20Article 178807

Opinions of Saturday, 20 March 2010

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

An Archaic Educational System Thriving In The New World-Economy!

The Voice Of Reason:

Why Bother: An Archaic Educational System Thriving In The New World-Economy!

Our students need real-life, modern- day experiences in efforts to help their communities and country to prosper.

THE NEW-WORLD ECONOMY is here to stay indefinitely, and the traditional customers are getting increasingly wiser and picky, demanding more mileage out of their money. So should we bother?

No one can deny it: The old -world economic order (or should I have said, ‘disorder’?) is shattered, and gone forever. It’s never coming back. In its place is a generally tougher, creative, customer- oriented, demanding marketplace.

The new “Customers” have unlimited power and they could be thousands of miles away from the source of the products or services they use. In other words, all the power has returned to customers and they know it. The new customers have power of choice more than ever and the ordinary, lousy products and services are not going to be tolerated.

Also, the New Economy has created customers who spend money more judiciously, so money will be attracted only to businesses or individuals that offer much more appealing and complete value propositions. In addition, businesses and individual entrepreneurs willing to survive should have superior and gold-plated reputations, unique positioning, exceptionally effective marketing and an outstanding customer -service; before, and after the sale. Business success is not given on a silver platter any more. This is not the economy as we once knew it----it’s THE NEW ECONOMY ,so we better get used to it.

So how prepared are we as a nation? Are our schools and colleges up to the task?

Is our new educational reform ready and designed to take all that into account and train a labor- force which can meet the new customers’ needs, interests and desires---with the hope to bolster competiveness abroad and create jobs at home?

With that in mind, our new educational reform should also meet our everyday needs and solve our emerging problems. That is why we have to imbue our students with important values, volunteerism, community service experiences and mandatory entrepreneurial competency.

In his State of the Nation Address in Parliament this year, President John Atta Mills touched on school reform and the need to provide infrastructural facilities for Senior Secondary schools. However, nothing was said about how to imbue our students with values and skills that transcend traditional academic content, which will ultimately help shape their views of the world and cause them to strive to make a difference in their communities and society; respond boldly, creatively, intelligently, and responsibly to the new World Economic Order.

The current world recession was caused by series of human negative tendencies like; bad company sales practices, lazy and inept salespeople, sloppy over-staff, abysmal customer service and excessive demand of goods and services. People turned their houses into ATM machines and used the equity in their houses for exotic vacations and feast at expensive places. All that could have been avoided if fiscal education was given a priority. So if we don’t have successful examples to follow in our quest for change, we should simply "look at what everyone around us is doing and do the opposite".

What good is our educational reform when our students can not transform and transfer what they learn in the classrooms to solve real life problems? What good is our traditional education when we can’t find solutions to our everyday emerging problems and make a difference in our communities, towns, villages and neighborhoods? What good is our educational system when our labor force cannot even meet its’ customers’ needs and desires?

Besides providing infrastructures and other learning tools, let’s set the bar a little bit higher by demanding a great deal from the teachers and students, and offer challenging learning environment that harnesses and broadens our potentials. There is a need to motivate our students to strive for valuable knowledge and ideas that can transform our society.

We also have to teach our students fiscal management and financial responsibilities because we live in a country where individuals who earn less than GH 500.00 a month, own a cellphone that costs about three times of their monthly salaries. What is wrong with that picture? We should not forget that the world recession and the economic meltdown were caused in part by excessive consumer –demand and greed on the part of those who were cashing in on that demand by gullible customers.

Also, to make education more in tune with our needs we have to motivate Ghanaian students to give their time and energy to serve other people or their country with integrity. This could be done through Community Service Learning that can change a young person’s world view.

Undoubtedly, our colleges and schools should dedicate to nurturing critical thinking, effective communication skills coupled with practical community service training. Our new education should develop community -minded young adults who will intend possess ‘service’ as part of their lives and give their time and energy to help causes such as children’s welfare, health, environment, housing and literacy.

It‘s nice to talk about the provision of infrastructures but, it remains to be seen whether that alone can transform and revitalize our ailing educational standards. Gradually, as a nation we’re spending more money on booze than books. There are more drinking bars in Ghana than libraries. Yet we’re expecting to get world -class intellectuals who are going to deliver us from the socio-economic doldrums.

Using community service learning tools, incorporating them with our available resources will give students valuable lessons not found in the traditional academic curriculum. That will be the kind of reform we should strive for. We need to challenge and change the mindsets of our young people so as to inculcate in them responsibility, integrity, work ethics, fairness and other values that every successful society needs in order to stand on its own.

In this post-economic downturn world, we should have a second thought about our archaic educational system. We can’t and shouldn’t give our future leaders any mediocre, assembly- line type of education, which is irrelevant to our needs, aspirations and survivability and expect them to do the right thing for the nation and the society.

No wonder, in our part of the world the more education we attain the more inhumane and corrupt we become. Or is it the more corrupt and inhumane we become the more education we seek to cover our tracks? Go figure! We must be doing something fundamentally wrong to our educational system that needs radical changes to enable our children to attain fit-for- purpose education which is required of this modern age.

It should be noted that any meaningful reform must reduce poor standards of education and revolutionize our teaching methods. But, the government needs to show that it can overcome the choked-hold it has sustained from the Teachers’ Union. Dare we say?

Welcome to the New World Economic Order!

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (The Voice Of Reason) NJ, USA