A Message To My Precious Ones
Today, our teenage brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces have started their basic education certificate examination. The thought of it this morning has triggered a nostalgic feeling, a feeling I had a decade ago. A feeling that my entire life depended on the outcome of my performance in the exams, and it truly did.
In Ghana, largely, the secondary school we find ourselves in has greater influence on us as individuals and on our future because of a mixture of factors. Bulk of the people we interact with on daily basis at our work places, at the tertiary level, at religious gatherings, at social and entertainment events, and even in the market, are who they are and what they are, due to mostly the senior high schools they attended because the sensitive part of their formative years were spent there.
Lest I forget. This is another truth. In Ghana and many parts of the world, majority of the top dwellers are from some specific senior high schools only. They are the respected doctors, influential lawyers, renowned engineers, top notch politicians, big administrators, CEOs of big companies, etc. When they meet those from less endowed senior high schools in the same class doing the same enviable courses with them at the university, they see them as strangers and think it is an "academic accident" or "professional accident".
I am told that in the Ghanaian Parliament, some of the nation's influential senior high schools have more than or close to 20 of their products currently in parliament as MPs. You can think of how many are Ministers of State, former Ministers and MPs. Meanwhile, many schools can't boast of one MP, not even a former MP since the year 1992. This is just in the field of politics. You can imagine other fields.
One other truth which I must let you know is that, there's a very strong bond that exists between old students of senior high schools whether they knew each other during their school days or not. All they need to hear is a confirmation that you are a product of their school. And this happens mostly among the perceived "big guns".
Since the bond is very strong, the younger ones with the appropriate requirements easily get favours from the big ones up there and quickly get the opportunity to climb higher in any field of endeavor without going through the perceived stress and many frustrating hurdles those from the less endowed schools usually go through with same requisite qualification or even better.
And this partly explains why they are populated in the high positions in our country and the world over. It also explains why most influential people in our society want their wards to attend certain schools only. It's more of a cycle which looks complicated but very simple to understand.
Don't forget that the second cycle institutions we find ourselves in is determined primarily by our performances in the BECE. Only a few rich people's wards narrowly escape this because of the links of their parents. With the introduction of the Free SHS Policy, I want to believe that our younger teenagers from poor families will end up in their dream schools provided they meet the cut off points of those schools.
I am not discouraging people from going to less endowed schools and I am not saying that a particular senior high school is better or worse than the other. I know that whatever or whoever we become ultimately depends on us as individuals, and not necessarily the schools we attended. Many went to big schools and couldn't make it, others went to small schools and made it. But then the number is negligible, comparatively. These are the realities on the ground, and I am stating them so that our younger teenagers can make informed decisions.
I wish all the BECE candidates the very best. I wish all my precious ones the very best in their exams. You are the future of Ghana. You are our future. You are your own future. I want to remind you that your future is in your hands. I want to tell you that whether you get the opportunity to go to your dream school or not depends on you and you alone. I wish to meet you all at the top someday. Till I come your way again, take care and bye for now.
If you have a relative(s) who is or are BECE candidates, don't hesitate to share this piece with them.
The writer is an author, analyst and a speaker.
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