Harnessing The Full Force Of Education
There once lived a poor man. He was so poor to an extent that no one wanted to have anything to do with him. He lived as a lonely man in a big world, his poverty ridding him of any social life. On a solemn Saturday morning, some investors came from the middle east into his town in search of some business opportunities to invest into. Lo and behold, they got to the poor man’s home. This poor man was so shocked at seeing these investors since he knew he was shunned by everyone in his town. He offered them seats and listened attentively to their reason of coming to his home. “Check if there is gold in my land?”, the poor man reiterated with awe and bewilderment. He just could not comprehend what he was being told. “Go ahead” said the poor man, I have absolutely nothing to lose. The investors checked the land with their gold detecting machine and bhaam!!!!!!!!! This poor man was sitting on gold. His land was a river of gold. These investors changed the life of this poor man forever and he became the talk of the town. This once despised and rejected man was now being highly sought after. Everyone wanted to come close to him.
Indeed, the believe that there is a seed of greatness in everyone is no fluke. Most often, what prevents majority of us from climbing to the top of the ladder of success is the lack of a discovery of who we are and what we can do best. Just like the poor man, we spend majority of our years pressing the wrong buttons whereas what we need lies amongst us and needs to be discovered. It is in the light of this that I want to bring into the full glare of all, the flaws of our educational philosophy and system and how we can harness the full force and power of the transformational tool called education. It is quite unfortunate that in our part of the world, we relate education to schooling. These two are distinct entities and viewing them as the same is a problem in itself. Schooling is a subset of education whose sole role is to equip the populace with literacy, thus the ability to read and write. Education according to (Bishop, 1985) however, is that which helps equips us with skills, the development of proper interest, attitudes, values and the capacity to think and judge for oneself. Education goes beyond being a mere bookworm. Education goes beyond memorizing facts and reproducing these facts in an exam. The exam approach to our education is why our dear nation Ghana is still wavering in terms of development.
Learners must be made to understand the purpose for which they come to school in order for true education to be achieved. The first step is to create the awareness that whatever we learn is for life. It is of no use to score an A in Mathematics when you go to a provision shop and fail to calculate the amount of money you have spent. Learners must know that it is not for exam but for life we learn.
Education should have as its essence, the ability to realize the talents of individuals. There is no need to kill a fish after you bring it out of water. It will eventually die because it has been denied its habitat. All of us cannot be doctors and lawyers and so there is the need to make all learners come into terms with who they are so that we do not lose our originality and uniqueness. You cannot judge all animals by their ability or inability to climb a tree. Humans are different and education should be that which would bring out the unique differences in us all. However, what we see in schools are a classification of pupils into intelligent and unintelligent. You see, the unintelligent is not one who fails in an exam. The unintelligent is one who has not yet discovered the innate qualities he/she possesses. All learning must be geared towards one realizing his potential and the moment you come to terms with who you are, you get to realize your strengths and weaknesses. This is what our syllabus should achieve. Our Math, English and Science emphasis is that which has prevented us from developing talents. The then governor of Gold Coast, Gordon Guggisberg had it as the ninth principle of education that “organized games should form part of school life”. In line with this, opening of new schools were approved if provision was made for play grounds. What do we see today? Games in most school settings are relegated to the background as they are seen as an impediment to attaining academic excellence. We must also know that what we do not teach in schools (null curriculum) have a profound effect on learners. What learners are not taught are viewed as unimportant.
Furthermore, education must have as its aim, the solving of the problems of a society and that is why the curriculum of a particular society cannot just be used by another society unless of course, these societies have the same problems. We must ask ourselves whether or system of education is bringing about solutions to the various problems that Ghana is perturbed with. How then can graduates come together to form an association which requires that you are unemployed before you join? Is that why parents spend so much money and resources to look after the education of their children to the university level? We must be up and doing as a nation if we want to take Ghana to the next level and there is no better place to start from than using the all-important tool called education. Our curriculum must be made such that it addresses problems such as the massive corruption which has all but crippled the nation Ghana. Values such as integrity, truth and trust must be embedded into learners so that it becomes a part of them. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do” says the Bible. If our children were taught from childhood to value integrity, truthfulness, loyalty and trustworthiness as traits necessary for effective living, our nation would not have been plagued with its current disease, corruption. We need to ask ourselves why the knowledgeable men and those who we think ought to know better are rather the ones who we hear of committing horror acts of corruption. Ghana is faced with problems of filth, corruption and unemployment and the earlier we adjusted our educational philosophy and system to tackle these problems head-on, the better it would be for us all. There must be a shift from our theory-filled education into a more practical oriented education such that whatever is learnt can be related with real life occurrences. In short, abstract learning should be discouraged.
Education must play the role of the investors from the middle east, having the ability to bring into the light despised people like the poor man. Education has the power to transform lives only if we give it the chance. The poor man would have remained poor if he refused to give an audience to his foreign visitors. Children should stop being punished when they look for various ways to express their curiosity but they should rather be guided so that they get to the full realization of who they are and why they were created. Any education which robs its participants of their talents and makes them just follow the crowd is not worthwhile.
I therefore urge all stakeholders to pay critical attention to our educational philosophy in order to institute the necessary reforms so that our country Ghana accelerates rapidly on its path to the attainment of development.
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