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Let us reform our education for our national purpose.

Graduates 12 The author calls for a reform in Ghana's educational system

Sun, 29 Apr 2018 Source: Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo

The aim and purpose of our education should be to create a critical mass of thinkers and patriotic citizens who will build a great society in which all of us will be happy. When we conceive of our education, we should begin with the goal of making Ghanaians extremely good people full of honesty, kindness, discipline, civility and unity. We should begin with the image of the perfect Ghanaian citizen, and proceed to create him or her through proper education.

To begin with, the typical Ghanaian just goes to school to whet his or her appetite for foreign goods like cars, refrigerators, computers, phones, whiskey and cigar which s/he cannot produce in his own country but with which he/she has learned to assert his status symbol.

Since the nation has to import all these with the scanty resources produced by our hardworking albeit uneducated farmers and fishermen, the educated Ghanaian is a burden on these productive masses who s/he has learned to disrespect, and from whom s/he demands full service and total genuflection. Our educated folks are therefore being churned out to perfect a system of parasitism in which they are appendages to foreign commercial interests.

And all this is not surprising in the least because our education system was originally set up to do just that. The system was set up by the colonial masters who came into the country with the sole aim of plundering its wealth; and those who were initially educated were merely trained to be their collaborators and accomplices in the fleecing of their own nation. They were not trained to benefit the nation but to aid its conquerors.

As a matter of fact, it was considered dangerous for an educated person to show traces of patriotism or nationalism, since the objective of those who trained him was to raise scholars that will hate their inferior countrymen and align themselves to the foreign conquerors to whom she had sworn loyalty and fealty.

The colonialist was also aided by the missionaries whose duty appeared to mess with the people’s brain to complete their total transmutation to fit their purposes. The colonialists were to take over the land and its resources while the missionaries took over the minds of the people.

The missionaries were tasked to engineer a mental orientation that will make the people rely, not on themselves for the solution of their own problems, but to look for salvation from the skies: to accept poverty, injustice, deprivation, oppression and even slavery as the natural course of life on earth, or as a kind of dress-rehearsal for a more just order in some future heaven. In fact, it was these missionaries who set up the schools to advance the brain-washing agenda of the other colonialists. What they, together with their colonial henchmen did to the psychological orientation was harmful and irreversible, but not altogether unexpected.

What is unexpected is the extent to which we ourselves have accepted the brain-washing agenda of these outsiders and fulfilled their aim in ways that those colonizing outsiders could not have envisaged by any stretch of their imagination. These days, if these outsiders were to come and look upon what we have accomplished of the work they started, they would say, like God, that everything is so perfect.

The religious establishment has thrown a total cloak upon the thinking ability of the typical Ghanaian scholar and turned him/her into a perfect machine in the service of the foreign powers, far beyond the hope and expectation of these foreign powers!

And all these continue to happen after over sixty years of our independence. Sadly, our independence did nothing to heal our minds nor change our outlook. If anything at all, it simply substituted the beneficiaries of our psychological damage with people of our own color and race who are now skimming the milk of our ignorance by calling for our unquestioning devotion and total worship. That is why during our First Republic, we could do nothing to those political masqueraders who stole our hope on independence and served us with tyranny instead of democracy. In fact, some citizens, in brazen irony and conscious ignorance, still hold these false liberators as their national heroes!

At the cornerstone of this sublime deception is our archaic traditional cultures which are based on arrant superstition and actual ignorance. These are also combining with our useless education system to tighten the chain of our bondage. In spite of our education, we continually perpetrate and perpetuate belief systems and a set of cultural activities that do not augur well with people of reason and rational conduct. We have set up festivals and rituals that we know are based on spectacular lies, and promoted faiths and beliefs which we know are just fictitious.

And we expect that by ascribing to these lies and fantasies, we will show our patriotism to our country and pay tribute to our ancestors. That is why the people of Ghana are all confused. At one end, they are supposed to accommodate whatever residual rationality is bequeathed to them by their education, while at the other end, they are paying their dues to the foreign interests that produced them, and mouthing lip-service to the moribund cultures that nurtured them.

What we need is to ask ourselves what we prefer to be the purpose or ends of our education. How do we structure our education in order for the schools to be the centers of our national goals? And exactly what are these goals for which we can structure a true model of education that will produce the ideal citizens?

Ideal citizenship, comprising individuals with a passion to do the right things at all times, ought to be the modest cornerstone of our education. And we can simply structure this by making the first three years of our education a study in reading and writing, with another three years in general philosophy, ethics, thinking, problem analyses and solving.

The philosophical teaching should introduce our pupils to the idea of the good life which is achieved by moral conduct, while problem solving and analyses prepare them for actual roles in everyday leadership. The rewards and beauty of honesty, responsibility, accountability and discipline ought to be taught to the students at these formative years, and they ought to be imbued with the passion for vigorous thinking and right behavior as the only tenable means of true citizenship and happiness.

Our people must purge themselves of the delusion that somebody from somewhere will someday appear from the skies somehow to put all things right for us. Our virtuoso composer and ardent philosopher, Dr. Ephraim Amo, has repeated enough in our patriotic songs that whatever becomes of our nation is all up to us! He has also admonished us against arrogance and chicanery and selfishness in our national songs, prompting us that all our deeds have commensurate consequences. What more do we need to be up and doing to jettison our form of toxic education that makes us consumers of foreign goods and advents of false expectations? It is all indeed up to us!

What we have lacked in the training of our educated folks is the type of education that will put the national needs at the center of our course work. But the national needs are not extraordinary needs; they are like that of every other nation which requires its citizens to love their country, to be true and honest to its national aims and objectives, and to put their shoulders to the wheels to push the nation forward to progress and prosperity.

The idea that we can somehow pray and fast and expect that everything will be fine; or that we can misbehave as much as we like today and be rewarded with a perfect society tomorrow; or that the nation and its people owe us our keep…they all arise out of how our education began, how it was conceived, and how we have allowed it to proceed. Elsewhere, I have posited also, even as I posit right here, that there is nothing in our education that confers morality and ethics in our educated folks. And that is one deficiency which we can correct.

As of now, our education needs a total transformation and a genuine overhaul.

Samuel Adjei Sarfo, J.D., is a general legal practitioner in Austin, Texas, USA. You can email him at sarfoadjei@yahoo.com.

Columnist: Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo