An initiative in support of and an advocacy for the realization of real value of human capital in Ghana. The need for an efficient and balanced skilled people equipped to perform all manner of craftmanships for the Development of Ghana - Rueckkehrer Wissenschaftler.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
A Purpose-Driven Educational System, Must-Have For Ghana
*All those in favor of purpose-driven education, its time to please step up!!*
I deem it necessary to step up to project the rather urgent need for a change of attitude towards education in this country. Many people educated in Ghana over the past half century have left Ghana to acquire additional knowledge and expertise becoming giants in their fields of endeavour the world over. Good examples are Kofi Annan of the UN, Dr. Peter Atadja of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennuand Dr. Ave Kludze of NASA and the list goes on.These clearly answer the question on whether people of Ghanaian origin and Africans for that matter are intellectually capable. A lot more evidence continues to accumulate that totally disperses any contention that Ghana and Africa owe its current state of underdevelopment to lack of creative thinking abilities.
*Purpose of education:*
The value of education to a human being resides in two important points, firstly the transformation of the human mind from crude to structured or a refined form and secondly the acquisition of the capability to transform ones surroundings into a form that increases quality of life. It is in the second point that a clear demonstration of concept of purpose driven education lies. The key question that anybody in the educational sector needs to always ask is, "for what purpose is this quest for knowledge and understanding?" A quote from the Bible will explain what the purpose should be for any society seeking enlightenment and training for its people. When the time came for God to instruct the people of Israel to build the tent of meeting and ark of the covenant, God said to Moses in Exodus 31:3 -"and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts". And in verse 6 of the same chapter it says "Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you". In this situation God choose to build the capacity of the workmen involved in the project of constructing the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony by filling them with His Spirit. Society today builds the capacity of its people through education and training for the many different projects necessary to build the structures and create the substance our lives depend on.
Therefore, the delivery of educational services must be bench marked not by the grades awarded but rather the various project targets in specialised fields. A case in point is the training of automobile engineers in this country. The fact that courses in automobile engineering is offered in the Polytechnics and KNUST should reflect on the performance and longevity of our cars. Any one who owns a car can agree with me, without subjecting this issue to scientific polling and statistical analysis, that the current situation strongly suggests that the level and scope of training in automobile engineering is far lower than what is needed. I recently watched an interview of a businessman whose cold store in Tema broke down so frequently that he had to hire expertise from Holland at a great cost for revamping equipment and training his personnel to better maintain their set up. What he said clearly was that the Dutch expert had to be engaged again because his personnel still could not manage the plant. This speaks volumes about electrical engineering training in this country.
I was glad to note recently that KNUST was collaborating with GRATIS Foundation for the practical assessment of students in the engineering disciplines. This is one excellent way forward for rescuing the current standards of education. Industry and end-users of educational products must be involved in the evaluation of training programmes, with little emphasis on grading of examinations but rather more on creative works. Those in the visual and the performing arts will know exactly what I am talking about because it is easier for these disciplines to escape the flaws of paper-based examinations. And I will strongly advocate the use of creativity as the basis of assessment by teams of assessors to be made to form a larger proportion of the educational grading systems.
*Stratification of Education at All Levels:*
The growth of any plant is well known to be dependent first on its root system and therefore the way to fix the system of education to correctly deal with the needs of society is to ensure that everybody is given a good chance to express and develop the gift of God within them. The greatest disincentive to any teacher is to be asked to handle a class of students with vastly different intellectual abilities. In a typical class, the most endowed students grasp what is being taught very quickly and are able to ask the right questions, this is sharply contrasted by a group who require several hours of teaching and will still fail. The danger is that the scope of training is narrowed and endowed students are progressively retarded whilst less endowed ones are frustrated by the higher standard of assessment.
The way forward is the use of stratification of the student population at all levels in addition to specialization based on the natural talent of the people. I am of a strong conviction that a system that works well in Germany and other developed countries could be adopted and adapted to rescue our schools. The lower primary 1-3 could have all the kids together, upper primary 4-6 could be separated into a 2-tier system and a 3 tier system for JHS, SHS and the tertiary levels.
I fervently hope a major reorientation of the educational system will be done soon to begin the process of turning the wheel of progress. Education is considered to be a fundamental human right, but I favour the concept of education as therapy. Therapy is designed to correct a misnomer; it is rare to find raw creative talent in the mould of Bill Gates and Isaac Newton. The vast majority of people absolutely need training to be become productive members of society, implying that the "all manner of skills" needed for the nation's development can only be obtained through training and education.