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Opinions of Thursday, 17 July 2014

Columnist: Effah-Nkyi, Joe

Ensuring a shift in global university degree awards.

Incontrovertibly, education is perceived as most significant conduit through which sovereignties are guaranteed absolute transformation in their socio-economic dimensions. From medieval times to date, man’s existence on the universal planet has been positively altered and enhanced due to much premium copiously placed on this momentous sector. Education, which is the optimal path-way for seeking knowledge has made mans’ unsurmountable challenges become surmountable, most especially in our present dispensation. Nelson Mandela summed up education as “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Talk about the development of space exploration, the various modes of transportation, the health sector, agriculture, globalized technology, communication, etc. the entire global world couldn’t have arrived at our present destination if the conception of education had eluded man in the first instance. Relegate the sector to the background and an entire society, nation or for that matter the universe would be submerged in chaos. It is therefore not for nothing that the synoptic gospel amazingly emphasized that, “for lack of knowledge my people perish”. This proclamation conspicuously rationalizes the importance and benefits of universal education for the timeless edification of Homo sapiens.

I have intuitively been provoked to come up with this piece for the simple reason that government would appreciate and seek plausible resolution to an ugly pertinent issue that continue to reverberate in the educational landscape outside the boundaries of this republic. Such challenge, of course, consistently continues to inflict mental agony and misery on brilliant as well as innocent students who unconscious of their circumstances happens to be trapped in such quagmire.
Indeed, come every year, substantial numbers of prospective student from our sovereignty are transported to countries that have bilateral cooperation agreement with the government of Ghana to pursue countless academic degree programs mostly through a Ghana government scholarship scheme. This strategic undertaking by government is unequivocally a prudent decision that always inure to the benefit of the people, most exclusively to the ordinary proletariat.
However, the excruciating endurance this category of students encounter in their pursuit for knowledge in foreign dominions cannot be contemplated in this space. The lamentations bothered on the issues of language barrier, sheer racism emanating from the citizenry and administrators of the institute’s as well as the involvement of even faculty members and holistic hostilities towards this vulnerable group are a course to worry. Added to their woes is the pain which they endure in the study of indigenous language, which is a prerequisite for pursuing any Degree program.
Now, based on a student personal experience, an uncharacteristic incident that took place in an international student’s hostel of a leading university in Eastern Europe, a level 100 student who happens to come from one of the Asiatic countries met his untimely demise when he was jettison from the 7th floor of the international student hostel apartment by two other colleague students due to an inconsequential fracas that ensued between himself and other contemporaries. That dastardly and reprehensible episode was adequately captured on the World Wide Web; which apparently, received some level of disapproval and resentments worldwide, although damage had already been inflicted.

Nonetheless, touching on my main theme for putting up this write-up; at different levels of the degree courses, numerous brilliant students who happens to be sponsored by their governments, globally, to pursue various academic interests are invariably expelled and repatriated to their various countries for the minutest misdemeanor. In fact, most painfully, such student typically would have successfully completed the requisite but grueling one year academic language program and occasionally, even moved on to higher levels.
The repercussions associated with such expulsions are that, these oppressed undergrads with stronger tenacity of purpose to climb higher the educational ladder are abruptly terminated. Besides, they arrive on the shores of their respective countries with virtually nothing to validate their sponsorship. In such instances, what it means is that, the victimized student’s time and energy had been woefully squandered for that number of years spent in foreign jurisdiction. It therefore becomes obvious that the future of these unfortunate ones is undeniably endangered and the devastating consequences are that, economically, these inconsequential expulsions may adversely affect state treasury due to unexploited potential human resource. Ostensibly, in the Ghanaian circumstances, as the above enumerated developments continues unabated, there is little or virtually no interventions from the Ghanaian embassies abroad whose core functions, undoubtedly, encompasses having vested interest in such pertinent issues.

Nonetheless, i am convicted to reiterate that, education is not static; it is dynamic. From the medieval times to mans’ present dispensation, education has witnessed massive overhaul universally depending on the requirements and expectations of a sovereignty. In the light of the above, it becomes prudent if strategic policy guidelines are rolled out, universally, empowering the issuing of accredited certificates as well as Diplomas that may commensurate with the university level attained to every continuing undergrad. This could forestall the incidence where expelled students arrive in their countries of origin with virtually nothing to exhibit and guarantee flexibility in global university education.
Consequently, a proposition would be that, a successfully completed level 200 student (even still continuing), stood in a best position to be issued a Certificate in the specific area of study. Conversely, a consummate level 300 student could similarly benefit from a Diploma in the area of specialization or study. With regards to concluding Degrees, these would obviously be awarded to prospective graduating students. Logically, such flexible but strategic blueprint could support students who out of extreme financial economic challenge may back out to engage in some venture. Furthermore, it would by a greater extent ameliorate student’s dilemma as well as positively modify their psychical orientation, who by virtue of unforeseen circumstances may be confronted with sudden expulsion initiated by their pedagogical institutions.
On this score, there is exigent demand for Government of Ghana to empower her embassies and consular bureaus abroad to lobby those institutions that happens to admit students from our jurisdiction to institutionalize this proposed option.
Within Ghana’s educational system, a stakeholder consensus building is arguably required for the rapid implementation of the above strategic ingenuity. I believe once it is pushed through in our degree awarding institutions, it would definitely revolutionize the country’s educational landscape and ensure a paradigm shift that could subsequently engender neighbourhood effect beyond the boundaries of our sovereignty into other existing polities. There is no doubt that in this 21st century, there is the burning necessity to challenge the status quo in mans’ circumstances instead of maintaining the old order.
To conclude, I would like to hypothesize that, the foundation and execution of every strategic policy initiative comes with gargantuan challenges, but as an ancient Chinese proverb says; ‘the beginning of a journey begins with a step’.

Joe Effah-Nkyi, (MILT) Mob: +233 244 250922
Logistics Control Ltd. P.O. Box CE12281,