Raising The Standards And Rebuilding The Frontiers Of TESCON
SPEECH DELIVERED AT UG TESCON-DISTANCE EDUCATION STUDENTS PROGRAM
Date: 21st October, 2017
Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, Executive Director, Danquah Institute; Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana
TESCON was established on 8th January, 2000 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to mobilize, prepare and develop students at the tertiary institutions, especially those who identify with the ideology, values and principles of the New Patriotic Party—a Centre-right political party on the political ideological divide. It was to serve as a mouthpiece of the party advocating and disseminating her vision, policies and programs not only to the students, but the entire citizenry. TESCON, since its formation, has accomplished a lot for the party. The relevance of TESCON to the effective functioning and success of the party cannot be questioned, neither can it be belittled. Due to its relevance within the structures of the party, it has to be properly positioned, propelled and promoted in order for the party and nation to benefit from its contributions.
In the last elections, the youth of the country, especially members of TESCON, worked assiduously to realize the resounding victory chalked by the NPP. I think it will not be wrong to say that the election was won by the youth. I must also say that the relevance of TESCON is not only to help the party during electioneering campaigns, but most importantly, to help her govern effectively when in government through the exposition of government’s policies and programs to the citizenry. This is how the party would be guaranteed a continual and lasting place at the helm of governance. Although, TESCON, as indicated earlier is helping the party, it appears, and as the topic suggests is not or might not be living up to its fundamental or core mandate. How many of us here understand the NPP tradition? How many of us here know or understand their expected roles in the party? Yet, we are supposed to be the senses of the party and government.
Now, why do we need to rebuild the frontiers of TESCON and what do we have to rebuild? You cannot rebuild what is already strong; we rebuild systems or structures that are deficient, weak or dysfunctional. I am not by this saying that these characteristics define TESCON; I am only making a case for the need to rebuild. Rebuilding connotes the acceptance of the need to do something different, and I am fully persuaded that something different, something distinct must be done about TESCON in order for the party, government and nation to benefit from its huge potential. We have to rebuild TESCON because its strength defines the strength of the party. When TESCON becomes vibrant and focused, it will be the fulcrum of support for the party and government. When it is well positioned, trained and prepared; it will give meaning to the functioning of both party and government.
Rebuilding the frontier of TESCON demands that, we have to look at some key values of our tradition that set us apart from other political traditions. I am talking about sacrifice, service, and selflessness. If we want to rebuild, then we cannot do without the above stated values: they are key, important, and significant, not only for the party and government, but the nation as well. No society makes progress or achieves fundamental feats when their citizenry, most especially their youth do not live by these values. We build societies, nations and institutions on these core values. How do we succeed without sacrifice? How do we progress without service? How do we realize a collective goal without selflessness? These are what we have to rebuild to make TESCON more vibrant, more potent, more purposeful, and more relevant to the party. Let us look at these values in brevity.
Sacrifice—Sacrifice simply means denying oneself of pleasure, comfort, and advantage in order to gain or achieve a worthy goal. In sacrifice, you let go in order to gain. In any organization or society, those who are prepared to sacrifice are those who are preparing the organization or society to gain and to prosper. In sacrifice, you labor in the present to gain or succeed in the future. We need to sacrifice today to make our party better tomorrow; we need to sacrifice today to make our country secured tomorrow. You have the opportunity now, as members of TESCON to offer your time, energy and other resources to our great party, government and nation to progress and prosper. As you sacrifice in assisting the party’s activities, either on or off campus, you will be rebuilding the frontiers of TESCON, and also preparing yourself for future roles in the party.
Service—This is another value that needs to be considered in rebuilding the frontiers of TESCON. We have to learn to serve and not to be served. Service is an inherent characteristic in humans; it is an important attribute that describes our inherent nature to add to the success of societies. Thus, we need to seek avenues that will make us useful to the party, government and nation. We do not have to be compelled in order to serve; we do not have to see service as a burden, but as a responsibility or call to contribute to the progress of the party. Service must be voluntary; we do not serve seeking immediate monetary compensation; we serve voluntarily, with the understanding that we shall reap better rewards at the end. We need to revive the spirit of volunteerism in the party. That was the spirit that held the party and moved her on when it was formed in 1992. The patriots fought, they volunteered their resources: time, talent, money, energy to keep the party till we attained power in the 2000 elections. This is what they did, and we must do if we want the party to be at the helm of governance for a very long time to build an enduring socio-economic foundation as we are witnessing under the distinctive leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Selflessness—Selflessness is an important value of our party. We do not serve ourselves, neither do we serve personalities; we rather serve others, the party and nation. Selflessness eschews selfishness; in fact, it promotes the idea that the survival and success of the party are more important than our parochial and personal interests. The selfless are those who put their personal interests and self-aggrandizements on the back burner, and those of the party on the front burner. In this great party, it has taken the selflessness of our founding fathers, dating back to the UGCC era to make the party so vibrant and attractive to all and sundry. Selfishness will destroy the party; what will make the party sound, stable and successful is selflessness. The selfless always seeks the welfare of the party; they sacrifice their talent, knowledge, skills and competencies to build an association that promotes togetherness, cooperation and a sense of belongingness.
Again, why standards? Why do we have to raise the standard as members of TESCON? The answer is simple: standards place a high level of responsibility on us to achieve a certain level of quality. It obligates us to exhibit a high level of excellence in what we do or stand for. As the student wing of the New Patriotic Party—a political party with a nationalistic appeal and attractiveness with an unquestionable mark of excellence and the promotion of high standards, you need to ensure that these distinctive marks define you at all material moments. You appeal to, and impact society greatly when you live by high moral and performance standards because these are qualities that define, promote and sustain progress. Successful students, groups and nations always promote and abide by high standards. TESCON will serve the party, government and country better when you decide to make high standards your hallmark. I will briefly examine the two principal areas where you have to consider in your preparedness to elevate the standards of TESCON.
First, is moral standards—Morality is important in developmental efforts. It is a particular orientation of values and principles of conduct. Morality shows the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. When moral standards are compromised, the fibre of society is weakened, thereby impeding progress and development. No society can succeed when moral values are thrown to the dogs. As members of this noble group, and the future of both the party and country, one thing that you should not do, is to sacrifice morality on the altar of mundane and material resources. Patriots, we should endeavor to build our lives along integrity, honesty and sincerity
The man of integrity is one that is honest and shows consistency of character. Do you have integrity? In fact, the supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. The greatness of man does not lie in how much property he acquires or possesses, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. The honest is truthful, trustworthy, loyal and reliable. Are you honest? The sincere eschews pretence, deceit and hypocrisy. They are open and frank in their dealings with others. Are you sincere? Let your integrity matter to you; let your honesty matter to you; let your sincerity matter to you. These are important standards that we have to raise in order for society to accept and respect us in our quest to meaningfully impact our society. Let us build TESCON on these moral principles; let us elevate them in our midst; let us uphold them dearly, and we shall raise the standards, not only for TESCON and the party, but most importantly for the nation. Any group, society, or nation without these moral virtues is dead.
Second, is performance standards—Performance standards offer employees with specific performance expectations for their assigned job role/duty/responsibility. These standards are needed to effectively measure performance in order to ascertain the achievement of personal or organizational stated goals. However, in this context, I would define performance standards as the attitudes and behaviors needed to positively affect societal progress. My focus here will be on time punctuality and self-regulation. In raising standards, we need to cultivate the habit of punctuality to lectures and other activities. Let us start respecting time; let us understand that the time at our disposal at any given time, when lost cannot be regained, and thus must be used judiciously. If we begin to have a positive attitude towards time, then we will be raising the standards, and be contributing to the prosperity of the nation. Poor nations have a bad attitude towards time. According to Pietro (2014), developed countries, Western Europe, Japan, and the United States score very highly on the punctuality index. African and South American countries typically have very low values. Self-regulation is very important in that it helps us in planning our time, activities, striking a balance in order to realize our goals and plans. Working for TESCON does not mean that you should sacrifice your books; however, if you self-regulate, you will be successful in all that you aspire to accomplish.
In winding up, I would further reiterate the need for you to raise the bar and rebuild the frontiers of TESCON; it is long overdue. Building a prosperous and progressive society demands the appreciation and promotion of certain notable values and principles. We cannot forgo sacrifice, service and selflessness; we cannot gross over integrity, honesty and sincerity; we cannot overlook punctuality and self-regulation of our behavior, and continue looking for progress, prosperity and development. It will not happen! God bless Ghana!