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Opinions Wed, 12 Jun 2013

Ashesi University shows the way

The transformation Ghana so needs urgently:

We read every day about the exploits of Ghanaians in their various fields of endeavors. We read about Dr. Kofi Banahene, the Ghanaian surgeon making a difference in the world. Dr. Boahene is an Associate Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a facial plastic surgeon in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, according to John Hopkins MedicineWebsite.(http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/facial_plastic_reconstructive_surgery/our_team/our_surgeons/kofi_boahene.html).

As a facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Boahene specializes solely in plastic surgery of the face, head and neck. As such, his patients are assured of a focused expertise. He treats both children and adults.

We read about Dr. Felix, D. Tuopar, an Associate Specialist in the Maxillo-Facial Surgery department at Northampton Hospital, London (UK). Dr. Tuopar is a Dental Surgeon and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK). I am aware of Dr. Tuopar’s exploits and contacts in the UK that led to development partnership with assistance coming in various forms to the District Hospital of his community.

We already know what Dr. Frimpong Boateng did since his return from Germany. He transformed the National Cardiothoracic Center at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital into a prestigious institution in Africa. As the former Chief Executive Officer of this prestigious institution, he deserves tons of gratitude from all across Africa.

We recall the expertise and exploits of Dr. Sebastian K Bemile, who worked tirelessly to transform the Ghana Institute of Languages. He must be recognized for his outstanding leadership at the institute.

The Founder of the Ashesi University, Dr. Patrick Awuah must not be forgotten. He must be recognized for being a pillar in the search for transformation and for his outstanding entrepreneurial leadership in Ghana. He thought out ways of making education more relevant to the needs of society. All of these experts have done a lot for Ghana and still contributing in various ways to support and to uplift their communities from poverty.

But, there are other ways that transformation can happen in our dear nation. One path of such transformation is what the President talked about in his speech in Japan: reorienting the educational system to reflect the needs of the time. Though President’s call is timeous, the Ashesi University is way ahead on time showing the way in this regard. Take a look at the Ashesi University Website and “thou sluggard, consider their ways and be wise”, see their curricula and you will marvel at the depth of “thinking outside the box’’ approach to education.

Our schools’ curricula should be restructured now to reflect the needs of the time. It is a global trend about restructuring education to reflect the times we are in. Many countries including the US are currently doing that and Ghana must do same to provide employable skills for our graduates. Why do we claim to be in a knowledge economy without mounting courses on Knowledge Management? Why is there no concentration on Information Systems courses in Junior and Senior High schools, in Technical schools and in some of our Universities? We are headed into an information age which is making economies become knowledge based. The President mentioned telecommunications in his meeting in Japan. Can we incorporate courses in telecommunication given that that sector is a boon now in Ghana? What about the Oil and Gas industry that he also talked about? We got to be proactive in restructuring our courses offered in our universities and especially in our polytechnic institutions.

The other path of transformation, in my view, is a change of attitude. It is simple. We need to eschew selfish attitudes which breed corruption. Ghana must be our first priority in all our endeavors. The clarion call for all government employees, indeed, all of us must be Ghana first. I wonder our reaction when the national anthem is sung. What about the sight of our flag, how do we react? There must be an unbridled pride and enthusiasm at the sight of the flag and upon hearing the national anthem. Are the flags even still hoisted in the schools? We used to recite the pledge and sing the national anthem with much alacrity. I say this because to try to change our attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run, if we fail to examine the basic things from which these attitudes and behaviors flow.

Cletus D. Kuunifaa, Long Island University, LIU Post, New York. Can be contacted at dipnibe@yahoo.com or Follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa

Columnist: Kuunifaa, Cletus D