GROPING IN THE DARK; THE DILEMMA OF EDUCATION IN THIS TOWN
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” ~ Eric Hoffer
On Sunday 13th September, I was invited to make an input into a discussion of the NDCs’ 2020 manifesto, on GTV’s Talking Point program hosted by Dr. Koryoe Anim-Wright. When asked to make a general commentary about the six thematic areas of the manifesto, I intentionally focused my submission on the party’s education policy; that was what caught my attention more than anything else in the manifesto.
As a country, our education goals are a shifting target. After 60+ years of nationhood, we clearly have not figured out, it seems, what exactly we want to do with our education. On the average, our policies on education keep changing as often as we change governments.
The danger herein is that if we do not cultivate the capacity to be able to anticipate and define future scenarios and vulnerabilities, we are likely to develop solutions for problems which no longer exist. COVID-19 has exposed us badly, and that should be a huge learning curve.
I do not think the essence of universal secondary education is to merely let our kids stay in the classroom for 12 years and graduate for the first time so we can beat our chests and call them Akufo Addo Graduates.
It is not enough to have secondary education. The quality of content fed to the beneficiaries must be futuristic and anticipatory. We can talk all the talks till the cows come home. Until we are willing to do the unpopular but forward-looking things today, the future of these kids cannot be secured in any way. If we keep throwing tokenism, and now, procurement, at every problem, we’d be churning out graduates for markets which will no longer be in existence by the time they graduate, and we’d remain eons behind the rest of the world.
Rather than have a separate NPP, NDC, CPP, PNC, GCPP, ACP and whatnots policies on education, this country may have to come to a point where all these fragments are consolidated into one national policy; only tweaked occasionally to meet the changing trends in the world. This way, any party in government will only be required to execute a part of it till they bow out. If another party assumes the reins of government, they are compelled to continue from where their predecessors left off, and not start a completely new thing.
The true measure of performance therefore will be based on how much of the consolidated national policy on education has been implemented by government A or B.
Sadly, this is not going to be the case any time soon. Why? Most of the people who push some of these political party manifesto policies down our throats, have the means to educate their kids in more meaningful systems elsewhere. So, for as long as the chaos here can be leveraged to pay the fees of their wards in foreign currencies, the helpless Ghanaian’s ward can continue to wallow in the sham here.
Are we willing to have the hard and uncomfortable conversation?