Catching Up In A Concentric Race: The University As A Site For Impoverishing The Defenseless—Part II
Here are the reasons the public universities and the government are seeking to keep the impoverished away from the largesse of society. First, the impoverished are catching up with the enriched. There are many postgraduate degree holders in Maamobi and Nima now than a decade ago.
Many sons of the peasants are becoming elite. This development is part of the failure of the capitalist world to solve the excesses of capitalism. The government and its compradors have for many years placed an embargo on public sector employment.
Many graduates finish their First-Degree education without the jobs the capitalist vampires promised them. In response, the government and its factors-and-collaborators are saying that these graduates do not have the skills. They only have book-knowledge. They can only manage to read and write. The industries are also saying that these graduates are not suitable. And instead of shifting the blame on the Ph.D. holders and professors and government, they blame the students!
The victim is punished for the malice of the oppressor. If the students did not know anything and they paid to be taught at the university and ended up learning nothing after their graduation, who is to blame? Why do you graduate students who are not supposedly fit for the market? It is only in an unjust society where the student, who has been robbed of his money and resources, will be blamed! Certainly, the African gerontological reasoning is at play here: the student is powerless and must be blamed for the oppression of the empowered: government, the university, and employers!
But the peasant son is not worried. To while away time, he forces his father who is a security man to borrow money from the bank to go back to school. The peasant’s son, through thick and thin, thorn and flesh now get a master’s degree. He speaks good English. He qualifies to teach. He qualifies to get a good job to help his father pay off the bank loan. He is catching up with the enriched in society. But, the capitalist vampire must think fast.
The capitalist vampire creates a new law: now you need a Ph.D. to teach in the university. Your Ph.D. must come from a ‘credible’ university. The peasant’s son gets depressed. His hope of getting a job to feed his father is dashed. And since his father is unable to pay back the loan, his father is taken to court. The court rules that the peasant’s land, which he struggled to purchase, should be given to the state to defray his indebtedness. The peasant’s son and his father are thrown into the abyss of poverty again. There is no hope.
But somehow the peasant’s son manages to work with a few some ritual functionaries, who rationalize their profession on the occult forces. The peasant’s son does not support that idea. But a man must live, anyways. He makes a breakthrough. He mobilizes money, begins a Ph.D. at the University of Ghana, which costs nothing less than a whopping GHC11000.00. This excludes feeding, accommodation, stationery and so on. This is no joke. The school fee was supposed to scare the peasant’s son away from acquiring a Ph.D. certificate.
But through the help of the ritual functionary, he manages to begin the Ph.D. His supervisor feels threatened that the peasant’s son is catching up with the capitalist vampire. He decides to begin pugilism with the peasant’s son. The peasant’s son cries and weeps like a baby. But he gathers courage. He goes to one of these miracle workers. He is given a magic pomade to smear on his face. He succeeds. He finally passes the Ph.D. He grudgingly receives a Ph.D. certificate. Undoubtedly, his Ph.D. journey nothing short of a literal two pugilists engaged in pugilism.
He starts to teach. But, lo and behold, the capitalist vampire begins another trick. He brings in a new law. He tells the peasant’s son, “You must publish or perish.” Of course, this empty phraseology is part of the apism and mimicking of the lumpenproletariat. The peasant's son begins to take care of his family. He mobilizes money to free his father from debt bondage. He marries. He gets two children. Now, he is encumbered by family life. He has no time to publish. He is not unable to follow the advice of Socrates (speaking through Plato) that the Philosopher-Kings should have sex, but should not involve themselves in family life. The peasant’s son is under intense pressure. He is unable to think and publish. He does not even have money for research. The vampire capitalist has firm control over the research funds.
The peasant’s son has a colleague who is a bachelor. He is energetic and not overtaxed by family life. He can write but has not got enough money to publish. The peasant’s son pays to have his name added to an article his colleague publishes. Indeed, in the university, you can see a basic and trite article, which my illiterate and unschooled mother alone could publish, bearing the names of five co-authors. I mean a basic academic article in the Humanities. At least in the physical sciences, it makes sense. The peasant’s son continues to make ends meet. He appears to be moving on.
But wait, before he heaves a sigh of relief, the vampire capitalist introduces a new law: ‘you must have a postgraduate certificate in education before you can teach in the university.’ The peasant’s son is troubled. He has passed the year of active cerebral work. How is he going to learn again for just a certificate? Indeed, if a Ph.D. is not enough for him to teach, what will a certificate do? Indeed, Mafias run Ghana’s universities. These mafias are merciless to the impoverished. They care less about how the peasant’s son will survive in life. Well, the university says to the peasant’s son, ‘like the practice of old, we will give you five years of grace period to work for a certificate in education.’
This inane provision of forcing Ph.D. holders is nothing short of one of the tricks of the bourgeois elite to keep impoverished in perpetual penury. If a Ph.D. could not help the university professor, how could a certificate do that? Excuse me! teaching is a calling. There are many three-year trained teachers out there who are wasting the time of pupils in school. There are equally many trained educationists from the University of Education, Winneba, and the UCC, who have resorted to quaffing and ‘blunting’ to numb their frustrations over the burdens of teachings.
I have never been professionally trained as a teaching, but since I started teaching at Hightech Preparatory School at Adjiriganor in 2001, I have produced many university graduates and a potential lawyer! Most of these children were from very poor homes in Adjiriganor. I also taught at Highway Nursery and Preparatory School in my community for two years and trained impoverished pupils some of who are nurses and university graduates.
While pursuing my MPhil, I took three months to teach total illiterate old Muslim women in my community how to read and write Basic English. There is evidence for this. As a natural teacher, I used my God-given skill to train these pupils. I have also taught virtually all the levels of education in Ghana. My students are out there to attest to my savvy in teaching. I don’t have a certificate in teaching. By the way, did the first person to teach in any university have a teaching certificate and/or a degree?
It is surprising that university dons cannot think hard enough to know that there is a world of difference between teaching and research. The university is not just a research institution. It is also an institution of learning. Researching leads to learning as learning leads to researching. Both are a true reflection of a university. They serve the utilitarian value of the university. The modern university did not start as a research institution. It started as a place of passing on received theological knowledge. Later it was used for training courtiers. The focus on research is recent! This trajectory is a truism because speech (as a means of teaching) preceded writing (used for research).
Now, whether teaching or researching, you may not necessarily need a certificate in education to be productive. Someone who teaches may or may not need some training to beef up his game. There are also those whose call is to teach. For such ones, they may not even need any certificate in teaching. Their undergraduate degree may be enough! Socrates belonged to this class of university dons.
Humanly speaking, Jesus Christ, the only accredited savior of the elect, belonged to this category. Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, belonged to this category. For those who are cut for research, they may not need a certificate in education for anything. They may not even be forced to teach. Their talent may not be one of teaching. In this category, we have Siddhārtha Gautama, who out of research (not revelation) became a Buddha (enlightened). In rare cases, you find a scholar who is gifted as a teacher and researcher. In the end, there is no necessary and sufficient correlation between a certificate in education and quality teaching and researching!
To restate the above, I know professors, whose calling is not to do research. They are poor at teaching. The work of these research-professors is to provide analyzed data for others to teach. These professors must be hauled to teach. This was what Prof. Mahmood Mamdani could not understand about Dr. Stella Nyanzi, who is a researcher, not a teacher. There are also professors, whose call is to teach. They teach and create new insight that calls for research. They presciently say things that trigger research.
Consequently, in the university, we have these two broad categories of professors. None is greater or lesser than the other. None is superior or inferior to the other. Imposing a postgraduate certificate in education without any qualification is emblematic of our atavism for certificates. It shows how the very certificate the universities and industries are using against university graduates is used against potential teachers in the university.
The attempt to force out some people out of enjoying the works of their labor through state-sponsored and bourgeois manipulations may lead to a true revolution that will not necessarily lead to communism or classlessness: But a revolution that has the potential of contributing to changing the paradigm in Ghana. Currently, the university system is oppressive and insensitive to the impoverished. The unjustified high cost of pursuing a terminal degree in Ghana is an apology to a nation that is blessed with potential resources. It is also a mark of how manipulative the vampire capitalist is.
This bourgeois people, armed by their exploitative system, are going to create a state that may not be governable in the long run (I pray against this, though). The more people feel oppressed, the more they are induced to indulge in ‘violence’. In conclusion, I ask all caring students to reasonably challenge the imposition of local neocolonialism. If you are from the University of Cape Coast, this is the time to chant the chorus of the school anthem, ‘UCC, UCC, therefore rise to your call.
UCC, UCC, to the call let us rise. To our call let us rise, veritas Nobis lumen.” If you are a student at the University of Ghana, this is the time to invoke the chorus of the anthem of the university, “Arise, arise O Legon (students); defend the course of freedom. Proceed with truth and integrity to make the nation proud!” The truth is our guide and the truth will win. If you are a fellow Casfordian, this is the time we need to faithfully combine our truth and courage mantra. We need to be encouraged by the truth to challenge the rot that has crept into our education system in Ghana.
Charles Prempeh ([email protected]), African University College of Communications, Accra