29 Apr 2016

Living The Lie: Politics Of Deception

It is a politics of patronage. In a democracy where all manner of people claim they are qualified to lead, the masses become guinea pigs of governance. These are some of the things I have realized about politics in Ghana, a highly indebted middle-income country.

Somebody once said politicians (and inept ones for that matter) are the problem of our nation. I can't but agree with this assertion. Consider a member of parliament who sits on the legislative council without making any meaningful contribution to issues either on the floor of the house or at the committee level. He decides to either report to parliament or absent himself. This politician can't even express himself well in the language of English which is used to do business in the house. How can this make laws and scrutinize any bills or proposals that are introduced on the floor of the house?


However, this lazy and inept member of the house is entitled to a huge salary, luxury car, and extravagant living while his overall output to this nation is nothing to write dad about. And this scenario can pass for most of our members of parliament.

Lies And Deception
Politics is seen as a game of lies and deception these days. It used not to be so
in the past.
The Holy Book says 'God hates a lying tongue'. But this is one of the many things politicians in our motherland know how to do best. All manner of lies and deceitful promises are made especially during elections just to deceive people in order to get the votes they so much need. New projects get started and are abandoned after elections.

The contracts that were awarded during the previous elections get reactivated so that the false message can be created that they are working for the people. This deception gets to work because many of the messages are crafted targeted at the illiterate mass in our society who find it difficult to understand the political jargon these politicians continue to churn out every time. These illiterate ones can't differentiate between their rights and privileges. So, a borehole is sunk for the community and politics is made out of it. A three-unit classroom is built and they are happy about it without critically analyzing how much it cost to build it.


Development Mirage And Manifestos
During elections, almost all political parties put up manifestos to present to the electorate as their blueprint for turning around the fortunes of the ordinary man or woman. These are often crafted in such a way as to create a rosy picture in the minds of the electorate as to how the country would be run under them. The 'smart' ones who cannot put up a comprehensive string of words together abandon manifestos altogether and propagate verbal promises which they know people may not be able to hold them accountable to after the period of their stewardship comes to an end.

However, manifestos get relegated to the bookshelves after their party comes into power. The policies and programs promised the people don't see the light of day as the reality of governance downs on the government of the day. They begin to blame previous governments of fleecing the national purse. They later come to realize that a nation cannot be governed with sheer propaganda. They begin to appreciate the work of the previous administration but will never come out to confess.

Magic and Charms

Many politicians in our land have turned to traditional worship with the crosses on their necks. They roam from one shrine to another to perform rituals they believe would help them win elections. Due to shallow thinking, they don't believe good policies and programs formulated to help the people out of the quagmire of poverty and desolation can do the trick. They, therefore, resort to all manner of charms to help them get into the "money zone" of politics.

So What?
The development we so much need gets stagnant and eventually deteriorates. Taxes are increased and new ones are introduced. Utility tariffs also shoot up at will without a commensurate improvement in our living conditions. The next time these politicians come to seek your mandate, a blame game is the next resort.

Previous governments will take the flack for not doing their best to make Ghana a garden of Eden. These politicians think we are not enlightened and discerning enough to read between the lines of their ineptness. So they keep coming up with new and bogus excuses to cover up for their failures. And in the end, the development we so much need eludes us always.

2 Apr 2016

Living The Lie: Education In Distress

Everybody seems to be worried about the educational system only when the students fail in examinations. But have we collectively sat down to assess what may be the bane of our educational system?

Route Learning
Passing through the educational system in Ghana from Kindergarten to College, the student's anthem has been the phenomenon of "chew and pour". This means students don't learn to understand and apply but rather to pass exams with higher marks and be acclaimed as being the most brilliant and it ends there.


Knowledge Without Skills
The fact is that our educational system is knowledge-based without skills acquisition. Knowledge alone can't make someone self-employed. And these graduates who lack skills will definitely add to the growing number of unemployed graduates.

Money And Certificates
It would surprise you that some students in our senior high schools can't express themselves well in the basic language of instruction. Some courses offered at the various tertiary institutions don't feed the needs of the country at the moment. Educational institutions introduce courses that don't demand much resources to train students yet charge so much for these courses to make more money. Some people also enter universities and colleges just to obtain degrees and also be called graduates. They don't pursue courses that would make them employable after graduating from school.
Image Courtesy ListSurge.com
There has been a lot of discussion about our educational system. The discussions have always centered on why our educational system is failing and also on why some subjects, especially science and mathematics, seem to be difficult subjects for pupils. Discussants always suggest a change to or review of our current syllabus as a whole. They think it would help make our educational system better. Teaching pupils relevant material using modern teaching practices and in a language which they can easily comprehend will be a panacea to our educational woes.

Our national language is English yet most of the populace cannot speak it fluently. Must you be taught a language that is supposed to be your national language in a classroom? How many of our children are born into English-speaking homes? Even Twi, a common Ghanaian language spoken in almost every home, is relegated to the background.


Poor Policies, Poor Facilities, Poor Results
Policy makers on education sometimes just copy educational models from other jurisdictions and paste them directly into ours without first considering the dynamics. If you copy a model from America or any other developed country and paste it into Ghana's system, it will definitely be fraught with hiccups. In our zeal to get to their level, we must hasten slowly. We must get the basics right!

Most schools are not properly equipped to carry out the various activities entailed in the courses they offer. The government is rather interested in putting up structures they can point to as evidence of work done, so they can win the next election.

Politics has it that, what is unpopular but makes sense doesn't get you the votes to win power. This has influenced most politicians to abandon brilliant ideas because such ideas, when implemented, will make their leadership unpopular. And the myopic ones often go with that idea.

What do you also make of this situation of our educational system? Share your thoughts here.