Feature Article of Thursday, 30 July 2015
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 20, 2015
I praise him whenever I believe that he deserves such praise, and caustically lambastes him when I am convinced that he deserves some butt-melting verbal spanking. But this is not one such occasion. I am only here to set the record of the deteriorated quality of Ghanaian education straight. The Ghana Education Service (GES) recently released a media statement in which it claimed that the GES had adequate chalk available to meet the teaching and learning needs of all Ghanaian public school pupils.
And so how come that when Mrs. Juliet Oppong needed a box of chalk to share with her staff, the Headteacher of the Akyem-Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School had to call on Second-Lady Matilda Amissah-Arthur, who promptly delivered five unusable personal computers and five dirty verbal slaps? Well, I don’t know who this Stephen Desu guy is, who is described as President of an organization called Innovative Teachers-Ghana, but one can almost be certain that he is not nearly half as innovative as he claims to be (See “Kufuor Was An Exceptional John – Frank Agyekum” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 7/20/15).
Mr. Desu was recently reported to have asserted that “all four Presidents under the Fourth Republic, namely, John Rawlings, John Kufuor, John Mills and John Mahama, have deliberately schemed to keep Ghanaians in perpetual poverty.” Those are, undeniably, harsh words. And I am not here to panegyrize the man, but it well appears to me that the foregoing quote more accurately reflects the performance of the “Three Johns” produced by the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Indeed, if Mr. Desu were a serious critic, he would first have recognized the indisputable fact that it was Chairman Jerry John Rawlings who took Ghana in the direction that saw our entire educational system ran aground.
It began with the rampant and riotus closures of the country’s major universities, even while the unconscionable self-righteous destroyer shipped his own children abroad to school in some of the finest and most expensive secondary and tertiary academies. And then the P/NDC Abongo Boys started tinkering with the duration and curriculum of our secondary or senior high schools. It was the “NDC Johns” who introduced the 3-year secondary educational system into the country and effectively destroyed the future of a whole generation of Ghanaian youths. And here also needs to be pointed out that nowhere in the most technologically advanced countries is senior high school three years.
Couple the preceding criminal policy with the woeful under-funding of public education in the country, and the picture could not get more repugnant and downright disgusting. Today, the Ghanaian woman cabinet appointee who did more to justify the total destruction of the country’s high school system is Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany. Her name is Ms. Akua Sena Dansua. And she was appointed Ambassador by the third of the “Three NDC Johns,” namely, President John Dramani Mahama. It was Ms. Dansua who, as Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, or some such underdog portfolio, justified the 3-year Atta-Mills high school system on grounds that our young women needed to graduate high school early in order to get a head-start in the marriage industry.
You may not like the man, but you ought to be honest enough to accept the fact that President John Agyekum-Kufuor did more to attempt to rehabilitate Ghanaian public education than any of the so-called Four Johns. He may not have been as successful in this sphere of national endeavor as many of his supporters and sympathizers expected of him, as even his own longtime spokesman, Mr. Frank Agyekum, has publicly attested, but he definitely appreciated far more than any of his three NDC counterparts what it really takes to educate the Ghanaian child. His School-Feeding Program, which ensured that hunger did not compete for the attention of the pupil in the classroom, was far more foward-looking than the selective and politically expedient distribution of school uniforms by the late President John Evans Atta-Mills and most recently, the farcical distribution of some 10,000 pairs of shoes to a population of nearly 6 million public-school children.
Then also, President Kufuor introduced the free-boarding and transportation of schoolchildren on public buses. This was a forward-looking and civilized school attendance-enhancing policy that did not exist under President Rawlings, the founding-father of the faux-socialist National Democratic Congress. Were we to switch the subject of discourse to other policy areas of national endeavor and development, Mr. Desu, the president of Innovative Teachers-Ghana, would realize that President Kufuor is far and away the best Fourth-Republican premier so far.