NOTE: This post/article was originally written for the Daily Graphic as ‘Fixing Our Education; A Delightful Paradigm,’ and was published in the 29 March Edition of the Daily Graphic newspaper; Page 07. For that original publication, you may click here.
At a historic Speech & Prize Giving ceremony recently, a lot of education-related issues flooded my mind as I sat through the proceedings, and was inching up to deliver my address. Scenes from a press conference I addressed more than a year earlier, and high points from various media interviews I granted over the period, played in my mind; I wondered whether I had taken these Education & Productivity concerns too seriously. Well, I was concerned enough to have devoted several years researching on education and productivity factors, and have written 15 books on the subject matter; so I am ‘guilty as charged.’ And I am persuaded that we can fix our education! Here is how…
Analytical Examination and Diagnosis
Education is a noun for the process of ‘educing.’ In its truest sense, the term ‘education’ has been derived from a couple of Latin words which basically mean: to nourish, to train or mould, and more deeply: ‘to lead out’, ‘to draw out’ or ‘to bring out‘ (as in bringing out something that is within).
Generally, every person has immense inborn potential; a genius within. Now, it is the process of ‘education ’ that will develop, ‘draw out,’ or ‘bring out ’ the genius within, and make the person extremely effective/productive (or truly great) as implied by the Latin words from which the term ‘education’ was derived. Ordinarily, this kind of education is beyond the scope of the formal education system; because largely, the traditional education curriculum has been designed to supply specific manpower to industry, and not necessarily ‘to bring out the genius that is within people.’ Nobel laureate Prof. Sir, William Arthur Lewis, for instance, has argued that, “What goes on inside the schools are not always education, and the result may well be to reduce productive capacity rather than to increase it,” and he is right; “Education and schooling are not the same thing!” Indeed, a study carried out by Harvard University revealed that, the formal education system is able to harness/contribute just 22 percent of people’s true effectiveness and greatness in life. Studies done by other institutions like the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching yielded similar results. There is every reason to suspect that this percentage contribution is much lower in Ghana (and Africa). And what has that yielded; after almost 60 years of independence?
Massive unemployment and underemployment, our ‘Debt-to-GDP’ ratio is very alarming and yet we still have huge infrastructure deficit, we have very little share in the abundant natural resources, the economy is heavily import-driven and consequently depreciating the local currency, price inflation is so huge, our environment is getting degraded the more, filth is all over, etc; even though we have a lot of people who have been to school extensively; some with PhDs, Masters Degrees, and other very good credentials, and are in charge at various levels. Besides, we are a highly religious people; we worship God a lot, and we pray a lot.
Prognosis and Prescription
We can readily cite laziness, lack of creativity, greed and corruption or disregard for laws/regulations, etc., as the causes of our woes, but the greatest cause (and indeed, the root cause) is the prevailing formal education (call it ‘partial education ’); it is such that, even when we are able to put in place (i) good and adequate infrastructure across the country, (ii) adequate supply of the selected teaching/learning materials/resources, (iii) adequate remuneration for teachers/educators and supervisors, and (iv) effective supervision at all the levels (and we must) such a system would still be harnessing just about 20 percent of the genius inside people. And that resulting calibre of manpower may still not be able to solve our developmental problems to any considerable extent. It is important to additionally overhaul the curriculum, and the teaching/learning methods; with the objective of harnessing the other almost 80 percent genius that usually remain untapped.
Fortunately, there has been adequate research to identify and collate principles that can harness the other almost 80 percent genius that, ordinarily, the formal education system is not able to harness. We must just implement those principles; the Zing4Life! principles. And the various stakeholders (including parents/guardians, religious leaders, professional teachers and other educators, policy makers, development partners and the individual selves) have respective roles to play. Thankfully, it takes less than 1 year of about 1 hour a day; it is very easy to implement.
This complementary education; the Zing4Life! Principles, if so implemented, will augment the formal education system for us to attain ‘Total Education;’ the kind that will truly develop, ‘draw out,’ or ‘bring out’ the genius in people and thus yield the calibre of manpower that will be able to deal with our developmental problems adequately and delightfully.
Time for action
Together, we can make this redemption happen! Indeed, having discovered the remedy, posterity will judge us badly if we refuse to implement it.
Long live Ghana! Long live Seers Foundation!! Long live Africa!!!
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