As Ghanaians Go To The Polls 1

INTRODUCTION

It is important that Ghanaians prudently put together the coordinates of their development needs and expectations in the political worksheet of national development priorities as the November election (2016) draws nigh. These valuation coordinates should take due cognizance of the suite of accomplishments, unaccomplished and yet-to-be-accomplished policy objectives, and policy failures of incumbency against what a potential Opposition could have done strategically and tactically better, including an impartial assessment of Opposition potential policy weaknesses and strengths in the likely event of assuming the highest office in the body politic.

Obviously these existential policy interrogations entail the praxis of dialectics, the logic of political economy, the sociology of knowledge, and the critique of moral epistemology. It therefore means that the ordinary Ghanaian should undertake an embracive qualitative valuation of the political and economic landscape, under the management and oversight of incumbency from the standpoint of sound statistical and visual validation, not under any restraining potentiality of partisan politics, political ethnocentrism, and ideological autarchy.

Such a painstaking undertaking requires a strict methodology of inclusive knowledge in an attempt to bring together, all measureable indices of economic, social, and political variables into a harmonizing posture of qualitative and quantitative reasonableness, backed by the moral imperative of individual and collective choices as well as by a commanding jurisdiction of statistical and visual conviction, transparency, accountability, and probity.

We shall not, however, provide templates of statistical data in support of our serial discourses. It is our submission that the inventory of these data are easy to locate for private and public digestion. Rather, we expect our discerning readership and the larger Ghanaian public to holistically assess members of the political class and political parties on the basis of the seemingly disparate but interconnected topical discourses we are initiating in this new series.

EDUCATION

Education constitutes one of the most indispensable building blocks of the edifice of civilization. Therefore, a society that neglects the education of its citizens does so at its own risk. We are not talking about education merely for its own sake. Rather, we are interested in a typology of education that is technologically, industrially, and scientifically advanced and versatile enough to meet the crushing challenges and demands of the complexity of human psychology, modernity, development economics and development sociology, and globalization. In this context, Ghana has a long way to go in terms of the radical modernization of its educational system in response to the material and spiritual exigencies of the modern dispensation, in which vigorous pursuit of technological and industrial advancement defines policy strategies and tactics and even more so, feeds the superior psychology of progressive nationalism and the hegemonizing tendencies of radical nativist nationalism.

Some commentators, policy analysts, educationists, and sociologists have concluded that Ghana’s educational system is behind the times as indicated and measured by international standards in the contexts of poor technological and industrial facilitation of its educational institutions, poor showing and sequent peripheral placements in the conduct of internationally administered tests. There is, however, no escaping the fact that the frozen institutionalization of ideological cacophony in Ghana’s body politic from the imposing stratosphere of partisan politics drowns out any meaningful discourse on the etiology of the virtual failure of Ghanaian education. Many candidates associated with the negative causation of potential problems plaguing Ghana’s educational system have, nonetheless, been proposed against the din of partisan politics.

Poor, bad, or substandard teaching methodologies may be just one of the many causes of falling standards in education. Yet, the general interlocking causes of falling standards in education is a complex one, somewhat beyond the scope of our reductionist simplicity. We all know what the problems are. And we also know what the solutions are. Politics and corruption are, perhaps, the greatest obstacles to implementing sound policy reforms of the educational system. Regardless, we should not ignore the relationship between quality mass education on the one hand and on the other, improved standard of living, quality of life, personal and collective advancement, and development. We believe democracy is stronger and sustainable when quality mass literacy and critical, analytic thinking and reading skills join hands in the political psychology of citizenship and collective agency.

What we can suggest now by way of potential remedies is, if we can find an effective way to demystify science, engineering, and mathematics for popular patronage and consumption in both formal and non-formal settings. In this way we remove the spectral halo of problematization from the domain of public psychology and allow it to assume policy emphasis in pedagogy and didactic methodology. This is not to say we should shun abstraction and defamiliarization in formal instruction, which are useful in the conversational methodology of formal pedagogy. Both tools are relevant for psychological and character development, individual, collective, and national. What we also need to do is to strengthen the liberal arts/the humanities/science sciences and the natural sciences via modern pedagogical methodologies.

Our schools need to teach students scientific advances in environmental awareness and the Afrocentric method. We should not leave out andragogy (adult education). On top of it all we should strive to move away from our entrenched policy overemphasis on excessive credentializing of students, to a more usable, practical, and technical education deeply rooted in the didactics of the liberal arts, Afrocentric theory and critical pedagogy, in the methodology of critical, analytic thinking and psychologizing, and in the acquisition of critical reading skills. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education can aid this compass of methodological emphasis of critical pedagogy.

Teaching technology entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial science, management science, public speaking, and operations research to students are equally, if not more, important. This is exactly what the Accra-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology has done producing a Ghanaian trio, namely Philips Effah, David Osei, and Kamil Nabong, whose web-based company, Dropifi, occupies a place among tech giants in the California-based Silicon Valley. But we should be careful not to pack all our tactical and strategic eggs into one convenient basket of formal education. The inventions of the Kantanka Group of Companies, even if their inventions are based on remodel templates, speak to the danger of totally neglecting the private and non-formal educational sectors.

All of these require intense implementable research and instructional capital if we want to build that reservoir of human capital with an intrinsic capacity for technological, industrial, and scientific transformation of society.

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

Pollution of our prized national topography of rivers, flora (forests) and fauna, and ordinary habitations due to galamsey may not have received wider criticism from the Ghanaian media, think tanks, parliament, and the general public. Criticism of the practice from certain sectors of the Ghanaian political establishment has been ideologically cosmetic at best, lacking the caustic imprimatur of statutory enforcement in defense of public health, environmentalism, public safety, and national security concerns. It is as if we do not care mortgaging the present and future of public health to corruption, profit, and official dereliction of constitutional mandates to safeguard the environment and citizens.

It is our opinion that if the current rate of pollution of certain regional enclaves due to galamsey is not effectively checked it is going to negatively impact Ghana’s GDP in a way we never anticipated. Our convenient nonchalance may cost us dearly in terms of unforeseeable and unforeseen rising disease burden and the health of posterity. Even so, pollution is already impacting Ghana’s GDP in many subtle and explicit ways. However, it is the potential long-term implications of pollution costs gnawing away at Ghana’s GDP and what the implications hold out for regional and national development priorities that capture our imagination. We do not want to see dangerous chemicals getting into the genetic constitution of our food chain and making their impact felt in rising disease burden and emerging diseases.

Our worry is that at present Ghana does not seem to have cutting-edge technologies and expertise to deal with the complex epidemiology of an emerging disease. Ebola comes to mind. The problem is, however, compounded by corporate greed. There is no question that corporate irresponsibility has usurped corporate social responsibility. Unfortunately some of these environmental crimes have the active support of officialdom. Traditional leadership is at the heart of the wanton rape and pollution of natural capital, as well, to the detriment of regional public health and development.

Distortions in ecological balance does not bode well for a practical homeostasis of flora and fauna co-existence. Such corrupt and greedy traditional leadership has no regard for collective agency in the management of common-pool resources (CPR). They may have forgotten that caring for the environment is not only a political responsibility but a moral one as well. Disaffected and well-meaning citizens need to drive the burning spear of collective agency via the frigid heart of traditional and corporate greed, dismantling the self-aggrandizing marriage of convenience among the grinding greed of traditional anachronism, public corruption, and vampiric corporatism, local and foreign.

Finally, while the earth may not have eschatological expectations as mortals, we may still want to believe that it is a living system with all the biologic accoutrements of livability and powers of transferable longevity to terrestrial living systems, plants and animals alike. The earth is more welcoming of mortal death than mortal finiteness is of itself. After all, the earth is what we submit to when mortal finiteness succumbs to the uncompromising dictates of the immortal coldness of death. Of course, the biologic personality of tellurian ontology is beyond the limiting grasp of mortal psychology, the psychology of secular politics, the moral oversight of mathematical psychology, and the ever-expanding mandate of land economy due to population explosion.

We shall return…

Francis Kwarteng

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