Putting The Fear Of God At The Heart Of Our Education
In the year 1992, when a referendum restored this country back to democratic rule, Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, who is still Ghana’s National Chief Imam, was firmly in his seat then. He has since seen and met five (5) different presidents who have all taken turns at the helm of the nation’s administrative (Executive) affairs. He has been lied to by each of them, time without number with the most notable lies being their promises of putting up a Police Station and a market at Fadama, where he lives. Of course, Fadama is still without both. Is it not embarrassing?
I have noticed a common trend with these high profile political leaders in our country. They all come to power on the back of making huge promises to the electorates and the nation at large, but immediately turn around to preach to the electorates to rather change their attitude upon assumption of the reigns of the country. And what I usually would wonder is how they think attitudinal issues at the grassroots never existed nor affected their predecessors whom they normally castigate on their way to power. In reality, these leaders embody the magnitude of the problem before us; they are the problem themselves. They never change themselves. They survive by deceit but luckily for us, it has been empirically established that those who live by the sword also die by the sword. That is why lies will always precipitate their exit like it usually heralds their coming. That is why, though it is widely acclaimed by the jury that an attitudinal change is what the doctor ordered to cure our society of the many ills, the politician may fail time without number in their quest to achieve the needed attitudinal turn around for ordinary citizens. This attitudinal change however has to happen and happen now with the speed of light. It is a must!
Recently, I bought an Attendance Book for use by my school. To my utter dismay, the designed lay out provided for gathering information about attendance of members of staff was absolutely outdated. There were two columns provided for attendance to be taken for the same day with the lay out making provision for both morning and afternoon attendees to register for each day. I got instantly bewildered. I began to wonder if the manufacturers of those books lived in this country or just flew in from some other continent with those Attendance Books for our use. The books are set up for schools which ran the shift system of education, a system that was discarded over a decade ago. How many schools, if at all there are any running the system now, are running such a system? You can hardly find any yet our attendance books are still using the same set up for gathering information? That is an unfortunate development. The manufacturers of those books are shameless selfish people whose only worry rests with getting their daily bread rather than doing the right things. They should bow their heads in shame for displaying such ineptitude by continually producing such attendance books for Ghanaian schools in 2019. They are the problem this society is faced with because they are busy revealing the high levels of greed inherent in them. They need an Exorcist to banish the evil spirits just so they can see the need to change their attitude by eschewing greed. With all these people abound in our educational system we have no where to go. We will struggle to make progress! They need an attitudinal change.
Last week, while skimming through the news headlines in a bid to update myself on the many happenings in our country, I stumbled upon the piece of good news that broke to reveal that our children in public schools, finally, will from next academic year (2019/2020), have the rare opportunity of enjoying a cup of cocoa drink for breakfast in school. You can not fault me for feeling happy that finally, our children would be treated in a way that reflects our thoughtfulness as a nation. Our children who, along with their parents, work so hard on the cocoa farms but never get the opportunity of enjoying products from the sweat of their very toil will finally have a chance to have a feel of what they labour on the fields to get the country to reap. It is the most refreshing piece of news I have heard in recent times! My welled up excitement, however, lasted only for a moment and got truncated by the thought of the highly indisciplined society of ours has become. The joy turned to sadness, instantly. Then I got carried away by deep thought and I wondered effortlessly profusely. Is it another case of huge resources going down the drain? Will this move finally get us to become responsible parents who live for the welfare and educational goals of our children? Will this move finally cure some teachers of laziness and absenteeism? Will this policy finally wake slumbering educational administrators up from their slumber? Will this policy finally be that one policy that will cause politicians to, for once, spare us the thievery by not looting and/or diverting our resources for selfish gains? Will this wonderful and useful initiative masterminded by Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah and her Ghana School Feeding Programme team yield its intended purpose? Let us pray ceaselessly about it because we have tarried in poverty. The need for attitudinal change is glaring and the onus lies on each and everyone to do a retrospection of self and possibly forge a worthy path to promoting the National agenda in our own small ways. That is what amounts to the much needed and talked about attitudinal change not the repackaged lies that political leaders will usually premise their sermons of attitudinal change on. Let us in 2019 break free of over reliance on people who themselves cannot change their attitude and move on to greater things. Think about eschewing all the negativity that you live by, and the benefits of education will roar so loud that your situation will change positively and spill over to the whole nation. Change now!
Attitudinal change: we need it. We crave it. We need it everywhere. Change the attitudes from the basis at infancy and get it embedded in the thinking of our people. Reintroduce religion related subjects at the basic level of our education and nip the problem in the bud once and for all. Raise the child in the fear of the Lord and when he grows, he will not depart from it. Until we restore the doctrines of our creator and religion as a whole to the Genesis of our educational system, there will not be any attitudinal change, sufficient for a massive turnaround of the country’s fortunes. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”-Psalm 111:10 and therefore the only condition that can stop our presidents from setting the pace for morally decayed attitudes as well as prevent them, at the same time, from telling vile lies and deceiving ordained men of God. Attitudinal change! Attitudinal change! It is all we all are calling for now but have we allowed ourselves to be changed by our religions for the good of society? Meditate upon it.
Oh ohoh! Why are we uncritical as a people? Why do we not learn any credence to processes and careful planning? The citizenry is the way it is right now because schooling has departed from many of us, though we may boast of having acquired education up to respectable levels. A lot of us still lack understanding of pertinent issues. A lot of us still lack commitment to key educational principles to the extent that all key stakeholders are fumbling with their duties and responsibilities. We are impatient with the system. We are compromising every vital thing that can turn around our society because we lack discipline. We are busily compounding our doom every passing day! Why do some parents think teachers are mad to raise the cane at their law abiding conformist children when they themselves think they care so much more about such children? Even if you control the same child at home with only advice and other sophisticated forms of punishment, do you think all the friends of your child are controlled at home by same measures? Don’t you think those controlled by corporal punishment in today’s Ghana still outweigh your kind of punishment in number? So why do you think turning completely away from this kind of religiously prescribed (Proverbs 23:13; 22:15 and 29:15) punishment will benefit you and will not have far reaching implications on society? Do you know that the secret behind government’s disapproval of the punishment is most likely going to be due to strings attached to some foreign aids they probably have sourced from some foreign entity? Ah… well. If we continue to prepare the grounds for more rottenness in society, how can we turn around and preach against it by asking for attitudinal change? That is not possible! You can’t sow beans and reap rice. It does not happen anywhere unless by miracles but here is the case most of you do not believe in miracles. Well… Let us see.
And to my colleagues in the teaching profession, we will only become architects of attitudinal change that we are supposed to be if we lead our children by worthy example. We may teach all the best doctrine of all religions to the children as part of education, and throughout their stay in our hands but if we continue to sexually exploit our pupils and students; refuse to avoid drunkenness during work; continue to show a lack of maturity at competitions by resorting to cheating to achieve success; fail to eschew financial exploitation of the parents and children then our society will continue to experience a slump in behaviour patterns, and everyone will continue to preach attitudinal change to everyone. Moral decadence will continue to enslave our youth and eventually the entire society because there is no strategy or measure put in place to arrest it in the short or long term. The lack of cure for attitudinal change will then continue, unabated.
One noteworthy point we all need to get is that the best performing education systems in the world are carefully structured in such a way that they retain some leanings to the societies in which they are implemented. So it is important to, by virtue of the foregoing fact, note that it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to implement an educational policy from another country, especially when it is from the Western world, into our own settings and make much gains! The implication is that we will make much more progress in our education if our leaders stop borrowing and replicating policies but rather design one that our society rather identifies with by way of its operational mode and content. That is where the educational policy makers are letting us down and by extension allowing negative attitudes to linger on and fester. They sometimes adopt policies that they know very well are incompatible with our society and actually implement them but still expect our educational system to yield results? They earmark funds for various educational projects but end up diverting such funds to personal accounts and political party coffers to the neglect of such educational policies. In fact, a research by worldatlas said: “Without doubt, a high emphasis on making expenditures for education indicate foster socioeconomic growth, as it enhances the development of all aspects of society and contributes to the lessening of social inequalities”. They went ahead to list the countries that fall foul to this fact and it was established that those countries have the worst performing educational systems in the world. Thankfully, Ghana is not in that fray but you will agree with me that the huge budgetary allocations to the education sector that we see in each budget presentation every other year is quite different from the story on the ground. Little is going on. So where has all that money been going? Mr. Politician you too need to change your attitude this year else our society will remain too ignorant to change in attitude. I know that that is the situation you pray should tarry for as long as possible so that you continue to rule us without much opposition. I believe. However, the time will surely come when enlightenment will forcibly seize the majority of our people, and they will turn against you, Mr. Politician. Watch out or change your attitude now!
If we wake up one day and find that our educational institutions are all properly empowered, equipped and resourced to start to pursue the agenda of real change then we will have the opportunity to witness the real change of attitudes that everyone thinks is much needed for the advancement of our country and which everyone lacks. Then when the fear of God finally takes dominion over the products of our educational system, they will become law abiding through acquired discipline and Ghana will work again.
David Angangmwin Baganiah
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