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Opinions Tue, 3 May 2016

Mediocrity at its best - It’s time to look in the mirror Part1

As a Ghanaian, it is hard and painful to watch my country plunge into the depth of mediocrity to such an extent that it has eaten into the very fabric of society across sectors and our lives.

It feels like we are caught in a struggle to be autonomous versus assimilating into the global capitalist scheme. Let’s take a look at some current issues that show how much the level of excellence in this country has fallen.

Education

Recently, the leakage of nationwide examination questions under the examination body WAEC (West African Examination Council) sparked public outrage but who is to be blamed? I find the search for who leaked the questions a meaningless task, as the bigger question is – How relevant is our syllabus and entire educational system?

Our current formal educational system is based on “chew and pour” with no innovative teaching programs to enable our children learn in ways that emancipate them from mental slavery. Paulo Freire, an adult education academic wrote in his seminal book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, that to break the chains of oppression, one must wean itself from the oppressor’s educational system first.

In light of his thesis, it seems we have embraced the colonial formal education in its entirety and are perpetrating the process without tailoring it to our needs, thus we continue to deprive our children of real emancipative education that will transform their lives of the people, as well as the country.

No wonder many parents would go any length to squeeze out any funds they have to send their children to school in Britain, Canada, USA and other western countries.

This further compounds Ghana’s problems, in that if and when they return, these individuals schooled in the West now adopt and carry out the global capitalist schemes, which continue to exploit this country. What is the panacea? Perhaps we can learn a lesson from the words of the late Michael Jackson in his song “Man in the mirror”:

I am starting with the man/woman in the mirror

I am asking him/her to change his/her ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Governance

We claim we live in a democratic country, but we never qualify what kind of democracy. I

s it western liberal democracy, neo-liberal democracy, representative democracy, direct democracy, proportional democracy, African democracy? What kind of democracy do we practice?

It is the answer to this question that will shed light on the incompetence of our government regardless of which political party is in charge.

The Father of the country Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for all the great he did failed to demolish the remnants of colonial governance; a governance structure that situated the power at the hand of one man for exploitation, nepotism and marginalization of the people.

The colonial form of government Dr. Kwame Nkrumah led to show the west that the African man could determine his destiny, was devoid of African value systems. There is no difference between Governor Allan Burns, Governor Guggisberg, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and all other former heads of state. The only difference between these men is the color of their skin; other than that they were all men with a centralized power willing to marginalize those that opposed them.

The present fourth republic continues to marginalize the masses through the colonial form of government, which, is cloaked in the discourse of democracy, good governance and unlimited borrowing from the people that exploited us in the past.

It is this ironic and dismal behavior that has shattered any chance of Ghana being what it can be. What is the panacea? In the words of Michael Jackson:

I am starting with the man/woman in the mirror

I am asking him/her to change his/her ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Take a look at yourself and then make a change

to be continued

Columnist: Kojo Easy Damptey