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Opinions of Saturday, 21 August 2010

Columnist: Atawura, Philip

Education Palaver

Not long ago the president of the United States of America touched the land of Africa and smelled the power the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle carried. He felt he had to do something for Ghana and yes, he did something for Ghana. Many were expecting cash to flow from the American president but instead he gave us something more valuable than money. He gave us wisdom yet we let go of that wisdom so quickly. I hope though I cannot quote him now, you would all agree with me that he said something in relation to strengthening our institutional structures. As said, give a man a fish… He showed us how to fish but we did not do anything about it.

There is a lacuna in the independent structure of our educational system which needs to be accentuated so that the pillars of this nation would stand when the strong tides of primitivism and retrogression engulf the integrity of this nation. The integrity of development can never be there if we keep on changing what holds all of us. We can never run from this fact of a sustainable development if we override the importance of education to the youth of this nation. What I am talking about is the paradox of governments to allow the word sovereignty to operate within the educational sector.

Some years back, the NPP realized that the senior high school duration was too short for the course outline available to students and therefore decreed for a four year term of schooling. This was probably because there was the descending performance whenever students finished with their WASSCE. That was a good thing to do but they also failed to realize that as you try to advice the cat, you in turn advice the mouse. The structures that would be needed for this system to take place were not there.

Fine, there was a change in government and it was and maybe for that matter speculated that the current government would also work at putting the necessary logistics together for a successful operation of this system but instead, we woke up to a hullabaloo of changing the system to what it used to be because we were in some sort of “incapability” to run the system. Though structures have been put in place to best manage this system by the current government, it should not be a surprise if we wake up one day to realize that the next change in government could as well be the next change in our educational structure.

What I am advancing is that, let the institutions work out the best policies for our educational system devoid of external incursion of political needs. We cannot be playing with our educational sector since whether we like it or not, it is the pillar to the industrial, social and scientific development of this nation. Governments will come and go but education would forever be a part of us. The Kufour and Mills administration have done a great deal to our educational system but we must go beyond that. We cannot stick to this adversarial autonomy upon our education whenever there is a change in government. This country needs an organized system of running the said sector so that the best would be achieved.

I am glad the GES has called off its advancement made towards the “KAPUTING” of O’REILLY senior high school as it was made known in the Daily Graphic. I would only ask;”How much money would have been needed to finalize the outright purchasing of this property that Ghana in its capacity of well endowed natural resources couldn’t pay?” We are only playing with the future of this nation. It would have been the greatest shock for an 85 year old institution to close down because the educational body in this country is unable to secure a permanent place for its students. Never the less, the matter is over now but we need to do something so that the next change in government would not mean another change in the structure of our educational system. The time is now!

Philip Atawura

Ghana Institute of Journalism

Miraster2@yahoo.com