This Is The Real Ghana For You

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

August 26, 2014

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

The Minister of Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman, goes publicly to proudly lie that Ghana is the leader in Math and Science education on the African continent. Everybody knows this is a gaping lie, and yet nobody calls her up on such unconscionable mendacity.

Then a report is published claiming that 72-percent of senior high school students failed their exit exams. Here, too, predictably, Naana Opoku-Agyeman vehemently denies this claim which clearly appears to be far closer to the truth than her hollow and insincere public denial.

Nobody is challenging her because as a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, she is supposed to know the truth of the quality and level of Ghana's public education as well as the foremost authorities on Ghanaian public education. In effect, Naana Opoku-Agyeman is the ministerial equivalent of a Sacred Cow. Which means that until the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is ousted from power, Mrs. Opoku-Agyeman - divorced - is likely to remain a fixture at the headquarters of Ghana's virtually moribund public educational system.

The subject of this column, textbook diversion, is not altogether a newsy story in Ghana. It is a problem that preexists the birth of the 50-plus-year-old writer of this column. What makes it newsworthy, nevertheless, is the criminal pretence, on the part of the Mahama government, that, unarguably, the greatest problem facing Ghanaian basic public education is the woeful lack of physical plants or classroom facilities. Any frequent visitor to any of the major Ghanaian websites is well aware of a phenomenon called "Schools Under Trees." It is the latter terminology which clearly appears to have become the central policy plank of the Mahama regime in the lead-up to Election 2016, which is fast shaping up to be a do-or-die affair.

The government projects the building of some 200 senior high school classroom facilities by its politically oriented target year of 2016. It has also embarked on a massive campaign of distributing laptop computers in quite a remarkable number of public schools throughout the country, particularly in the northern-half of the country. During his 2012 presidential electioneering campaign, Mr. Mahama told his fellow northern Ghanaians that he was their best chance and only hope for rapid and massive economic development. The criminally scandalous pictures of the SADA, GYEEDA and SUBAH development programs, of course, tell a different story altogether.

In the wake of the discovery of a stolen-textbook selling syndicate in the Dansoman district of Accra by an investigative team of reporters from MyJoyOnline.com, we have also been alerted to the fact of senior high school students not having been supplied with basic textbooks since 2007 (See "Photos: Uncovered: Syndicate Selling Government Textbooks Meant for Free Distribution" 8/26/14). Upwards of 5,000 copies of elementary and high school textbooks belonging to the Ghana Education Service and, in effect, Ghanaian taxpayers, were located in an uncompleted building at Opetekwei, near the Dansoman Last Stop recently.

The books, we are told, range in subject areas from Mathematics, Akuapem Twi, English Language, Chemistry and other arts and science subjects. We are also told that a woman by the name of Ms. Ernestina Agyekumaa and some two other younger relatives, by the single names of Godfried and Atta, are involved in the sale and distribution of these stolen items. They also appear to be staunchly backed by some powerful elements in the ruling government; for we are also told that at least one of the operatives of the aforementioned racket threatened to have one of the MyJoyOnline.com reporters promptly jailed, if the concerned reporter refused to shut up and walk away, instead of foolishly attempting to play "Citizen Patriotic Ghanaian."

What is also fascinating is that through it all, the Mahama government has been blindly and adamantly fixated on providing uniforms and footware for the same pupils and students who do not seem to possess even the most basic learning tools. I don't suppose that any forward-looking Ghanaian is holding his/her breath to hear what Naana Opoku-Agyeman has to say about this latest appalling discovery of a scam, or racket, that may be as old as the Ghana Education Service itself.

Besides, who really wants to hear about the opinion of any one of Mr. Mahama's ministerial boys and girls? She is as discredited as the most corrupt among the reprobate and hoodlum pack. Naana Opoku-Agyeman, that is.


Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame