Rationalizing The Strategic Priorities of National Development

Tue, 30 Nov 2010 Source: Arthur, Patrick Kobina


Human history and evolution is synonymous with the evolution political

systems and in many cases the differences in the various systems has been

the cause of wars that claimed many lives.

The objectives of many of these wars were to ensure the maintenance of

supremacy and domination even though the inherent objective of such opposing

political systems have rather been the same. The human spirit and

desire for happiness, dignity and honour is the same and preserved in all

cultures and political systems be it Marxism or capitalism. It is also

evident in human history that the fear of the enemy from the outside has far

more power to incite a community of people to raise up than the fear of the

enemy within that community. This is even more the case regardless of the

net effect of the both sources of threat. Contemporary history of many

nations big and small lends a considerable support to this assertion, in

that, nations have gone to war over threats that was estimated to affect

about a million citizens whilst a failure of leadership that lead to hunger

and disease outbreaks that decimated tens of millions of citizens did invoke

any response at all. In this article we seek point out a number of common

grounds shared by some of the most bitterly opposed political systems

especially in regard of the defense sector and leverage such unlikely

commonalities in advocating for a reorientation and reorganisation of

thoughts and systems that operate three critical sectors of our national

life, these sectors are manpower development, health and agriculture.

* National Targets for the Various Specialties in Manpower Development*


National development should require ALL MANNER of SKILLS to make things

happen, therefore the education system should be so design based on the

number of specialised skills needed and the respective quantum. Failure to

establish will lead to the situation where students drift into courses that

they perceived to be 'cool' and readily employable. I have a first hand

experience from my encounters with students which has left very concerned

about their preferences in terms of various specialties of skills

acquisition. Apart from the fact that an overwhelming majority of each

graduating year group pursued arts and business over science and technology.

There is a rather disturbing trend of a large proportion of the already few

science and technology

students preferring to switch to the arts and business courses later in

life. There is therefore the need for a national policy that clearly states

the levels of the different specialties required for national development.

Also there is the need to compile a nation-wide data on students in the

different study areas, so that we can compare that to the targets and see

the way forward. A casual observation suggest that over 80% of each

graduating year undertake arts and business (almost all students in the

private universities study business). The reason why something needed to be

done urgently is that majority of these science students especially are

now studying science in an absent-minded mode. If indeed all manner of

craftsmanships are needed for development, then this current trend needs

reversing and leadership should take this up. The situation in departments

for the sciences is that the levels of laboratory equipment and reagents are

far lower than number of students and the quality of training they deserve.

To determine the number of student to be directed into different courses at

the post-secondary level, I want to propose the ratios for specialty target

setting in four major categories as follows:

*Proportion specialties in four major skills categories: *

Discovery and Design Specialties - 30 %

Enterprise, Innovation and Development - 50 %

Market - 10 %

Administration - 10 %

*Description of the four major categories:*


*Discovery and Design Specialties*: Natural Sciences, Agriculture,

Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, Geography.

*Enterprise, Innovation and Development Specialties*: Engineering, Natural

Sciences, Medical Sciences, Agriculture, Mathematics, Statistics,

Vocational Skills and Performing and Visual Arts.

*Market Specialties*: Business, Economics, Social and Political studies

*Administration Specialties*: Governance, Social and Political studies

During war time, the military academies do not watch the trainees decide the

specialties they fancied but rather grouped them based on their assessed

abilities and the needs of the army. This is really the most accurate and

effective measure regardless of whether such an army is in the most

capitalist USA or the most communist Russia or China. Imagine most army

recruits choosing to be snipers because one is not likely to face direct

fire, so there an army of ten thousand strong men and all are snipers. There

is a generation of youth in this country who only fancy working in the banks

and closely related office jobs and by this drawing all the best talents

into jobs that does not really need that kind of talent. This country has a

shortfall of all its critical needs, such as clean water, energy supply,

food supply, sanitation and health care, and yet the majority of the youth

acquiring training wish to work in an office and in a Bank??? How does these

solve any of these shortfalls???

*Returning to Good Health and Staying Healthy*

A productive population is one that is not only well trained but also

healthy and grows stronger. The state of the health sector in this country

in one that needs alot of work to improve. Returning people to good health,

receiving the newborn into their new life, should not be an enterprise

that is monetized nor be controlled by commercial interests. Society should

make the health of its members a high priority that deserves a robost system

that does not demand individual to make payments to access health

services. The situation where health practionationers are concentrated in

the most commercially viable cities is clearly opposed to the idea of

ensuring good health for all members of society. As a country there is the

need to determine the number of hospitals that will ensure every citizen can

have access, not just provide health facilities where and when we can. This

will only create the condition of low life expectancy and low quality of

life that which could have easily triggered a war if the same was caused by

an external element. A country will judge an act as an aggression and

readily lunches a full scale war should a neighbouring country attack its

city and killed hundred people. The cost of the ensuing war will easily

surpass the cost building hospitals that will save the lives of more than

thousand people and yet we find this happening. What is it about leaders

that makes them rate external threats far higher than internal ones that are

preventable and curable at a reduced cost??? The provision of good shelter

is also a matter that promotes good health and a resetting strategic

priorities to make sure that there is shelter for every one before society

will spend resources to put up expensive buildings that serve only ecstatic

purposes. A few beautiful buildings do not make any country great when

majority of citizens put up in place similar to that for farm animals. Why

should we have to use so much money put up two tower near the airport when

the same sum of money could easily given a suburb of Accra (which is at best

about 90 % a slum settlement) a significant makeover.

*Putting Food on the Table and Assurance of Food Security*

As a basic human need, food supply should be a first choice priority item

just like training and health. In many established countries, agriculture is

fully paid for with taxes so the farms do not have to wait for harvest to

earn a living. So much subsidy is pumped into agriculture, that food prices

are consistently low and this arrangement is never opened for discussion

even if they turn around to force other countries to stop subsidising their

agriculture in the name of opened market economy. Meanwhile their economy is

only opened to commodities that cannot be grown in sufficient quantities in

that country. The agriculture sector should be managed with a military type

set up, where a service is created that recruit an elite and talented set of

people who are trained to manage the various agricultural activities. The

country is zoned systematically to make use of the productives of the

different arable lands and develop efficient irrigation system to ensure all

year round farming and production. The development of all upstream

industries should be done in a way that allow the maximisation of all the

primary production effort.

*It is all possible? Yes!*

I greatly admire the military system in every country because no matter what

the political system and culture of that nation is their army shares strong

similarities to any other army in the world. They take their activities

extremely seriously because their lives are involved, if a rocket squad is

poorly trained and are careless with their armament the effect will be a

massive destruction of the army itself and then the larger society. On the

other hand mainstream training institutions donot feel the same way because

they are only required to award certificates and not to provide the

assurance to society that trained persons will deliver on their set targets.

A country that crucially needs development should set it priorities with a

military attitude, because here too lives are at stake albeit from an

internal and indirect threat. If the human spirit should soar high over

poverty and not settle for easier options because it not an obvious etternal

threat then my message is that please wake uo because the value is the

same or even worse.

And yes it all possible.


Patrick Kobina Arthur (PhD),


Columnist: Arthur, Patrick Kobina