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Opinions of Saturday, 14 July 2007

Columnist: Ayiku, Charles Nii

Our Minds @ 60-Is the Value the same?

Some few weeks ago, the former President, Flt lt JJ Rawlings turned 60 and for most Ghanaians we still acknowledge the fact that, our former president is still looking sharp, smart and fit. Let me say a Happy Belated Birthday to our Former President.

But tell me, how mentally old is the Ghanaian at 60?

Mr Asante retired three years ago having worked as a lecturer in one of the Polytechnics. Last year, he was invited by one of the Private universities to teach as well as head one of its departments. Even though he was 60 years and retired, he was seen as a good resource in building the human resource base in Ghana. He is still active and performing his duties like any other lecturer.

Mr Asante is not different from several public service officers who are still active at the age of 60 and can continue to make contributions to society but due to the law on retirement which sets the retirement age at 60, they are compulsorily retired.

According to Article 191, section 1 of the 1992 Republic of Ghana Constitution, “A public officer shall, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, retire from the public service on attaining the age of sixty years”.

Though the Government is aware of the significant contributions of these retired public officers, they quickly forget their usefulness to the world of work.

The question I always ask is why we can’t find a way of using the great minds of these retired public officers in the government institutions, especially our educational, health and other needed areas.

It is really sad to see very resourceful people going on retirement when we know there are no adequate replacements for them.

Go to our health and educational institutions, most of them are under resourced and believe me, there are a lot of retired person who are ready to support these institutions even on voluntary bases.

Our retired scientists, engineers, and technicians are even there to assist in the energy sector. Most of them have done a lot of work on the Akosombo dam and electricity in general. They can advise and help device ways that can help in improving the energy situation in Ghana.

Some of them can also assist our teachers to improve science motivation and literacy in students from kindergarten through university. This will motivate children to discover and explore the worlds of science, maths, and technology, and encourage them to consider careers in one of these exciting fields.

I have had the opportunity to speak to some few retired public officers who are ready to help the government in the area of teaching, agriculture, and many others. I was even surprised when most of them told me they are more interested in the public institutions.

“We want to assist the government in moving this nation forward; we are ready to volunteer our time and knowledge for free. The government should consult and access our ideas and expertise whenever necessary to facilitate national development” one of them stated.

For me this is very true, they really want to put their hard-earned knowledge and experience to use. They have garnered a great deal of knowledge and experience and may even be an expert in a field needed to make Ghana grow positively.

It seems a shame to let all that hard-earned knowledge go to waste. Their talents and skills may be highly valued and definitely still needed in the work world. They can help train and educate younger workers, or impart their career experience in a different field or line of work

I believe we can all attest to the fact that the rich experiences acquired by these people through their long services to Ghana, had not been fully tapped by the current generation and would be sad if they should die with this knowledge.

I therefore urge the government and all employers to take a second look at their retirement policies and understand that even though they are retired, they are not tired.

We should consult them and make good use of their knowledge.

What do you think?



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