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Opinions of Monday, 11 October 2010

Columnist: Tuokuu, Francis Xavier

Stop The Politics With Our Education

‘’The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one’’. Malcolm Forbes

One does not need to be an expert in education or hold a doctorate degree in education to know that the future of Ghana’s education is in jeopardy and this in my view should be blamed partly if not wholly on our politicians and leaders. Most Ghanaians are disillusioned and disappointed about the way our politicians are toying with the future of our youth. Education is the key to success and the bedrock to our development. If measures are not put in place to curb the current trends of events in the system, the ‘’better Ghana’’ promised by Prof. Mills government will become a mirage. After graduating from school, one should feel fulfilled and be transformed, well-behaved and informed than he/she went to school. According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of education”.

It appears we have N.D.C system of education and N.P.P system of education if not, why will one government introduce a three year system of secondary education and the other came and changed it to four years only for the former to come and reversed it to three years? For me, the problem is not the number of years spent in school that matters, what is important is provision of infrastructure, incentives for teachers, educational materials, good motivation among others.
Take a look at the current state of labour unrest in the country, polytechnic teachers, university teachers as well as teachers from the Ga-South who complained of non-payment of salaries for eleven months. These are issues government should be concerned with and not the length of time spent in school because at the end of it all it is the youth that suffer. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said many years ago that, “I am not concerned with plans for exploring the moon, mars, or any of the other planets. They are too far from me anyway. My concern is here on earth where so much needs to be done to make it fit for human effort, endeavour and happiness” and I believe Dr. Nkrumah certainly had education in mind as seen in the many schools he built across the country and the free educational system he introduced from primary through to university. Some lecturers even take delight in saying that, they were fed and given weekly allowance and sometimes demonstrated against university authorities for giving them fish when they wanted chicken.
Further, educational reforms should look at how competitive our system is with the global world. It is the curricula that should be revised with some subjects scrapped and others added to meet global demands and standards. Science and technology should be pursued vigorously and be made compulsory right from primary school to the university no matter the course one is offering. In today’s world, information technology is an area our educational reforms should embrace. It is no exaggeration to say that some people complete university and cannot appreciate the use of basic IT concepts such as word, excel and internet. These are challenges our leaders should be addressing and the time is now for in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., ‘’the time is always right to do what is right”.
The irony is that, our leaders usually send their children to the best of schools in Europe and elsewhere while the rest of us are left to throw our hands and bodies in despair. I agree completely with Kwesi Pratt when he said our leaders make reforms for the poor in society and children in Chorkor, James Town, Nima, Mamobi etc. and that, our leaders should know that, “those who cook the soup must first taste it”. That is the only way we can all tell the soup does not contain poison.
Culture, religion and morality should be incorporated in all levels in our educational curricula so that students will come out of school fully prepared for life, morally upright, patriotic, tolerant and as versatile as Shakespeare. It is only through that we will have future leaders who will not be corrupt, greedy and interested in allocating state lands to themselves and their cronies inter alia.
In conclusion, ‘’political independence is only a means to an end. It values lies in its being used to create new economic, social and cultural conditions which colonialism and imperialism have denied us for so long”. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Let us not behave as though we are still in the period of colonialism for our destiny is in our hands and the future of our motherland depends on the policies and decisions we make today for our youth.

Francis Xavier Tuokuu