Call for educational reforms in Ghana

Education is the key to success and the bedrock of the development of every nation including those of Africa.

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 the youth. 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”.

Therefore, after graduating from school, one should feel fulfilled and be transformed, well-behaved and informed than he/she went to school.

In less than a month, Ghanaians will be going to the polls to decide who to elect as their president. The biggest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is promising free secondary education whereas the ruling National Democratic Party (NDC) insists free secondary education is not the solution but quality and accessible education.

Politicians are traveling to all the corners of Ghana promising heaven on earth just to win votes.  For me, I think Ghanaians should vote based on the party that is ready to provide infrastructure, incentives for teachers, educational materials inter alia.

Every year polytechnic teachers, university teachers including those at the basic level complain of poor remuneration. These are issues government should be concerned with and not the political blame game currently on-going.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, said many years ago: “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.”

I believe Dr Nkrumah certainly had education in mind as seen in the many schools he built across the country. Some lecturers and politicians take delight in saying that they were fed and given weekly allowance and sometimes even demonstrated against university authorities for giving them fish when they wanted chicken.

In my opinion, our educational reforms should look at how competitive our system is with the global world. Our 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 are left to throw their hands and bodies in despair. I agree completely with Kwesi Pratt, managing editor of the Insight newspaper, when he said some time ago that, our leaders make reforms for the poor in society and children in Chorkor, James Town, Nima and Mamobi (slums areas in Ghana).

He said our leaders should know: “Those who cook the soup must first taste it.” That is the only way we can all tell if 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 as allegedly happened and still happening.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah once said: "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.’’

Let us not behave as though we are still being colonised 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.

I entreat the electorates of Ghana to go into the elections in December 2012 bearing in mind that Ghana is all we have. We should vote for democracy, peace, quality education and at the end of the elections, Ghana will be the winner and demonstrate to the world that, after all, ‘‘the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.’’

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