Awarding Letters

Do not award Academic Brilliance in Africa
When I saw the news item that Ghana after 58 years of independence at 59 is still giving awards for academic performance, I immediately realized why we are where we are. Africa is late and Ghana is late. Why?

Because we focus on the weightless matters. Africa is still awarding and rewarding numeracy and literacy whilst others are rewarding ingenuity, innovation, invention and solutions to problems.

In this knowledge-based-exams-oriented regime of education, I do not believe in the intelligence of our brilliant and cleverest. Albert Einstein observed that “the sign of true intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”.  Think about this!

All it takes to be a First-Class student at any level of our educational ladder is obedience to the whims and caprices of a teacher who sees the brain of his/her students as a pot to be filled rather than an energy field to be ignited.

Africa’s bane is its way of education – an education always at the knowledge level. The ‘chew and pour’, ‘cut and paste’ education has failed us and shall continue to fail us.

It’s insanity, i mean total madness to continue to do the same thing the same way always to expect a different result.

Our way of education hardly go beyond the knowledge level being the lowest level of learning. We cram without any understanding of concepts; we recite by heart making the rote learner the favored; we study towards exams and that’s why our education cannot solve any problem.

Africa must stop rewarding these First-Class but knowledge-based-cut and paste-chew and pour laureates and start rewarding the First-Times of the continent (ingenuity – inventors, innovators  interpreneural initiators).

An educational system that is without a sense of comprehension, the power to apply what is learnt, the analytical and synthetical prowess as well as the ability to make cogent assessments and valid evaluation of given situations to solve today’s problems and give ideas for tomorrow’s possibilities is not worth its name.

Africa must stop the Textbook Education.

Our streets are choked with long queues of a people who have no clues to our challenges in spite of the cues to help us out. I do not believe in our educational systems. Yes, I don’t! And again with vehemence, I say, I don’t believe in our educational systems!

Why should I believe in an educational system that makes robots rather than thinking individuals; an education that puts all in the same mould trying to kill their individuality and the spark in every individual souls; an education that has no respect for individual talents, potentials, capabilities and abilities; an education that has no clue as to how to harness these potentials into skills relevant to today’s agenda (I doubt whether there’s any agenda to talk about); an education that is continuously creating employees that no industry needs to employ (Africa needs employers and not employees); an education that is capping seeds that must be exposed for growth; an education that allows the teacher to dominate the learning process and if you care to know, to even think for the student; an education that to be frank has no relevance to everyday life et al.

I further show you the surprises of African Education.

“African Education system has surprising outcomes. The smartest students pass with 1st Class and get admissions to medical and engineering schools. The 2nd Class students get MBAs and LLB’s to manage the First Class students. The 3rd Class students enter politics, and rule both 1st and 2nd Class students. The Failures join underworld and control politicians and businesses. And best of all, those who did not attend any school, become prophets, and everybody follows them.”

This kind of education with these kind of results, I don’t believe in it. This textbook-exams-oriented education, I don’t believe in it. And I have no apology whatsoever. I won’t recant because I can’t watch my child through this kind of education.

Our various governments in Africa are afraid to invest in education. They claim we don’t have the means but we have means to cater for their ostentatious, opulent lifestyles.

Why do they put us and our children in this unnecessary-all-fit-all-mould called African Education whereby they fly their children abroad for their education? I do not mistake the true meaning of education to mean African Education.

Education in Africa by all standards is no education but an exercise of taming the human will and power to dormancy with its dogmas instead of training it to be useful.

Africa, wake up out of your slumber and educate your children or else your development shall always mean underdevelopment.

Unfortunately, we are still preparing ‘office clerks’ to sit behind ‘office desks’ when your vast lands are left untouched and your rich resources are never beneficial to your children.

Do you still sleep on when poverty, hunger, thirst, preventable diseases and curable diseases are still killing your children incessantly? Africa, do you watch whilst the uneducated who pretend to be educated lead your whole continent into oblivion and total darkness?

That is not possible! Africa get back to work and educate us in the way of true education or else your doom is sure.

I look forward to a new Africa; an Africa with a new kind of education giving meaning to true education. An education that will make us think and act for ourselves; an education that respects the individual person and his or her abilities; an education that will ignite our brains as fuel and power to begin to burn; an education that will help us out of the colonial chains and tear down our fears; an education that will prepare the tomorrow’s person today; an education that will cause us to challenge the status-quo and push the limits; an education that will break the limitation of imitation; an education that will make the African a true African to play his or her part mightily in the global economy, technology and politics et al.

As a trailblazer, oh Ghana, don’t forget that “our independence is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the African continent” said the legend Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

But this I dare to say it differently that “our independence is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the African MIND”.

This I believe is possible through the kind of education that we offer our people and the kind of awards that we give.

Ghanaians, step beyond your textbooks and get into imagination and use your creative thought for that’s where you’ll find a new world which must become your world.

Happy 59th Independence Anniversary to you Fellow Ghanaians and Africa!

E. Quaye
Author,
Philosophic-Poet, Motivator
Lecturer, Sch. Of Theology and Missions
Valley View University.

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