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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Columnist: Arthur, Patrick Kobina

Ghana at 100: What will the national story be at 2057

I hope to be around 46 years from now and have the chance to cross check is any of my dreams and predictions will come true when Ghana our beloved country is 100 years old. The most obvious thing to happen then is that the celebration will be massive and the whole of Africa and the Diaspora will come and celebrate our independence with us. It is for this reason that I impress upon the leader of today, which is not those in position right now but those about to take over, to pay attention and answer the big question of "WHEN WILL GHANA BE ACTUALLY INDEPENDENT?". The Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah left behind would have been truly independent at 50 but for his unfortunate overthrow. Dr Nkrumah did pronounce Ghana independent and showed all the plans that was to make Ghana truly independent but it appears not many people saw that vision and plans with him. Instead the forces of disloyalty gave him up for a token and thereby sent this country 50 years into the abyss. 50 years on it clear that Ghana is still missing the leader of her birth, those citizens who contributes to the removal of the founding father have done this country a great disservice. During the chaotic times are proceeded the overthrow of Dr Nkrumah, a lot of Ghana's brilliant and talented people left this country, who now constitute a great resource the country can tap for accelerated growth. Once there is life there is an opportunity to re-engage with the national vision at the day of our birth.

*"A nation that harbors a fatal contradiction, that of a desire for good life but not the desire to master the needed craftsmanship"*

Ghana is 54 years old this year and as is done on birthdays there is a lot of introspection and future planning taking place. As I look back into the life of this country and at the same time into the its future, my feelings are mixed. Whilst I see great opportunities and great things happening in this land of my birth, at the same time I am concerned about the many lost opportunities this nation has suffered and will continue to do so due to the mindset of most people here and the leadership that run this country. There is a fatal contradiction in this country and we need true leadership to uproot and change the course of this country from an obvious defeat to progress with certainty. As a teacher, I find it absurd that we have an educational systems that does not attempt in any way or form to screen the talent supply and direct their development. Many career choices are made based on a flimsy and fashionable basis. A developing country like Ghana should train all its youth in the creative and productive sectors of life. We instead have a massive takeover of the educational system by marketing courses which constitute over 50% of all graduates instead of under 10%. As a consequences this country depends solely on foreign companies for its essential goods and services, case in point: all telecoms are foreign and all the effective drugs are imported.

*The Nation of Ideas*

The next 46 years left for Ghana to celebrate it centenary should be devoted to turning this country into a one of ideas and cutting-edge skills. There is the need to develop a strategic manpower distribution plan, that seeks to survey the talent supply of this country and carefully stratify them and select the appropriate numbers for the vital sectors of the development process. The education system should retrain teachers at the upper primary to evaluate the talent of the pupils and organize them into two streams. After class six the bottom 33 % of the stream one is added to the top 33% of the stream two to constitute stream B at the high school level, while top 66% of stream will go onto stream A and bottom 66% of stream two taking stream C. With this arrangement the high school stream A and B are give a training that is high in mathematics, statistics and science and the stream C is taken through vocational and artisanship training. The products of stream A together with the top 50% of the stream B are sent to the Universities whilst stream C and bottom 50% of stream B are direct into technical education at the tertiary level. In the Universities science and technology education should take more that 60% of all the students whilst visual and performing arts taking 20% and then marketing and social course taking 20%. This system will effective deliver the kind of trained manpower needed to synthesize new ideas for development.

*The Nation that develops solutions to its problems*

As the system to generate creative ideas is up and running, the same can create solutions to the difficult problems we face as a country. The issue of low quality of life continues to plaque this country but the point is that we cannot change this situation by constant exportation of farm commodities and raw natural materials and importation of expensive products and services. This will only lead to increased poverty and underdevelopment. During the past 54 years of nationhood, the annual budgets have been supplemented up to 40 % by donor organization. Creative and productive enterprises will make up this deficient and begin multiplying the annual income of this country.

*Self reliant Nation not one dependent on foreign aid and importation of all its goods and services*

Leadership is what makes development happens, we need youthful, intelligent and development oriented Ghanaian to come forward to lead this country. The era of the presidency being the preserve of old men should be done way with completely. Ghana at 100 will be no difference from Ghana at 54 if this same old men presidency continues. The fact is that new wisdom and skills is what is needed to develop, not the old. Anyone who is 55 and above have passed their peak of productivity and therefore should stay away from executive office. They have to rather take advisory roles and leave the day to day executive functions to young and vibrant people so that they too can be ex-MP or ex-Presidents at 55 and above and provide advice to the next generation to act. The era where the young most productive people are made to stand on the sidelines and watch until all the tired but power-hungry old men leave office should be over. Leadership position should no longer be given out as a retirement package but rather an office for peak performers. With this kind of leadership Ghana can creative all of its goods and services or at worst concentrate on where its strengths are and export the excess in exchange for those it cannot produce efficiently. This is truly independent Ghana I will like to celebrate come 2057.

God bless GHANA

Patrick Kobina Arthur (PhD),

parthur14@gmail.com

http://pakar1-corner.blogspot.com/