Education is the cornerstone for national development. But for any education to become the cornerstone for national development, that education must directly meet the unique needs of the country in which it occurs. Ghana has done the opposite with its education system. That system produces students whose interests cohere to foreign interests which are injurious and detrimental to the national interest.
I have joked elsewhere that the more educated the typical Ghanaian becomes, the more toxic he is to the nation. Our educated elites have no confidence in their roots and origin and become agents of foreign racist notions and economic interests, having been alienated from their own people and mentally trained and intellectually equipped to promote foreign and religious culture and traditions. They retain the worst of this foreign and traditional culture by appropriating hollow religious beliefs, circumscribed by egregious superstitious beliefs in demons and witches. The typical Ghanaian educated elite is plain incapable of any deeper level intellectual analyses or thorough thinking. Such a person lives his life as the most pernicious tool or fool for national destruction, arrant corruption, superstition and shallow reasoning. He is the archetypal instrumentality for maintaining a dangerous stranglehold on the soul of our nation!
And all these pernicious facts would have remained pretty stable and unchanged but for the fact that right now, this toxic education is being offered for free, all but guaranteeing that the right to inflict maximum damage to the nation is not preserved to just a few elitist families, but to the generality of the citizenry.
All the foregoing were patently foregrounded when some Senior High School students openly attacked their Exam proctors, condemned the free SHS, destroyed school property and insulted the President in risible demands for their inherent rights to cheat in national examinations. Their actions lend credence to the assertion that these products of our education system also received the typically toxic education that makes the people dangerously illiterate and patently inimical to the interests of our society.
It is not good enough to provide free education to the masses. That free education must also be highly qualitative and of immense benefit to the nation. And for our education to be of immense benefit to the country, we must identify the peculiar needs of the country and produce an education curriculum to feed these needs. And when we view this matter this way, we will discover that our greatest need is to obliterate corruption, abolish superstition, instigate critical analyses and promote the innovative and creative capacities of the citizens, with the protection of our unique environment in mind. And all the foregoing ought to be undergirded by sufficient and adequate literacy and numeracy.
We are therefore proposing that our whole education system be reformed to reflect this general purpose outlined above and expatiated below: The whole of our elementary school system should consist of purely moral and ethical education with comprehensive impact analyses of the social and economic ills of corruption. Students must be made to engage in critical thinking and philosophical analyses based on the question and answer format.
We must eschew all aspects of religious studies, superstition, faith or belief. If these deleterious matters come in at all, they must be used as illustrations in the ways in which mountebanks impose fear and awe in people to obnobilate their thinking capacities in order to cheat them of their moneys and resources. At every level of advancement in the educational ladder, the individual must be examined and pass threshold examinations in moral and ethical character, coupled with critical analyses punctuated by environmental studies and the exposition of religious falsehood, and the divine folly of all superstition.
At the senior high school levels, this format of educational curriculum could be morphed as one big preliminary subject at every level, to be studied together with any nationally relevant discipline of the individual student. It must be understood that critical thinking, innovation and creativity and religious criticism and environmental studies will still be the threshold subjects in which the citizens will have to demean themselves before advancing……….
The universities will be the place where any individual could study his or her specialty, with more generalized teachings and examinations in these ethical areas. Here, the teaching must still focus on the societal needs in leadership, environment, agriculture, infrastructure, technology, maintenance and roads and drainage.
Nearly three scores and half after independence, we are focused merely on the cultivation and production of agricultural produce to feed foreign people who determine how much to pay for this produce. Our mineral resources are extracted and shipped raw, with no effort at improving their quality with appropriate technology. The new education system must highlight all these and effectively resolve them with technology science and innovation.
We spend hours upon hours in prayers and chanting and speaking in tongues, yet our efforts cannot kill a fly or bring a loaf of bread dangling from the skies. Our education must be aimed at destroying our faith in religion and spirits and witches and demons.
Our roads are bad, with dangerous drainage and gutter systems. Our infrastructure are decrepit and dilapidated. Yet we produce engineers who are not fit for purpose. The new education reform must make them fit for the national purpose.
All around us, our rivers are dying as we dig for gold and diamonds to feed foreign coffers, and throw trash and excrement in them without compunction. We are cutting our trees to build foreign infrastructure. We are digging sand to create death traps. The new educational reform will make environmental protection the sine qua non of our very existence and prevent our extinction.
If we reform our education in these terms, corruption will cease. Critical analyses will become our stock in trade. And innovation and creativity will become nourished in the citizenry. Our environment will be clean and healthy. As it stands right now, the so-called educated Ghanaian elite has no tools to be intelligent, commonsensical, and analytical, and he is like a reed in the wind, blowing helter-skelter according to events and circumstances of which he has no knowledge and control. He goes to church to unlearn everything he has learned in school, and to become somebody’s pathway to riches. He is unable to dichotomize the question of right and wrong and is the dummy and mummy of corruption as well as foreign adverse influence.
We have never paused to examine the purpose of our education or the benefit thereof. Only that we are spreading it for free! When the opportunity presented itself to make changes in the curriculum because our education was dangerous, we failed to take up the opportunity to reform our education and continued to produce students who never got any education. We must immediately reverse course and reform our education to promote ethical education, critical thinking, environmental protection, innovation, creativity, and technology…..and to eschew superstition and religious hokum.
By Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo, Esq.
Austin, Texas, USA