Maame Boatemaa: Adesua ne Nk)so) (Education and Development)

fishing boat on sand

I’m spending my last few days in Ghana remorseful of the fact that I have no clear idea of when I will return to this beautiful country. This beautiful country with people who see the flaws in the systems and powers that be but remain hopeful. Hopeful for what exactly, I couldn’t tell you. But the energy in Accra and surrounding areas sparks with hope: from the hawker on the street to the lawyer driving around in the latest Mercedes.

My research, since the day I landed, has been in a constant flux but has remained true to its primary focus on the educational system. At this point in time, my interviews have been conducted and I am left to transcribe the audio files to written texts for analyses. Following these transcriptions will be an analyses of public data resources from various bureaus such as the Ghana Trade Union Congress and the Ministry of Education. With the information gathered over the two months I have spent in Ghana, my hope is to create a document (aka research paper) that uses narratives and voices of the people, along with the statistics to analyze the practicality of the educational system set in place post-independence.

From my interviews, I deduced that a major issue many educators and students have with the system is its lack of flexibility to allow for skill development necessary in a growing economy. For the university students I spoke with, particularly students from the University of Ghana, the lack of available resources that make job and internship searches easier contribute to unproductive summers and semesters filled with book-learning only. Although websites such as ‘Givenet Career Services’ attempt to solve this problem, the University government seems unbothered by this issue. A renowned professor I had the privilege of speaking to owed many of these ‘oversights’ to the seasoned professors who remain comfortable with their teaching skills and refuse to advance to more modern means of educating. To put this assertion in simpler terms; many professors and educators who have the power to enact change in the university school system tend to prefer to do otherwise as their jobs may be in jeopardy should the system be changed to suit the times.

For some universities such as the University of Development Studies in Northern Ghana, it is required that the students partake in group exercises that place them in remote villages. The assignments given to these students range from data collection to problem solving. An example of this remarkable program set in place to train the students in problem solving, was highlighted by Eric Agyemang, a curator at the National Science Museum. During his time at the University, his group was required to go into a remote village and create a data booklet highlighting the needs of the people in that village and how these problems can be solved. The booklet was then made available to NGOs who were to be based in the village so to guide their work. This project, conducted over the summer is one very important example of how the other educational institutions in Ghana can incorporate problem solving and data collection into their curriculum. Of course, the problem of funding comes into play here turning eyes to the policies set in place by the government concerning education.

My hope is to analyze data from the various bureaus involved in education and labor statistics, to support the motion of the skill inefficiency promoted by the current educational structure. To add to this, I hope to highlight the causes of these shortcomings and practical solutions to these problems of unskilled labor.
I plan to elaborate more on this issue in my paper and during my presentations.

Ghana has treated me well and my skin is glowing as if I have been dipped in gold. This research project has directed a very significant portion of my concentration at Gallatin and ultimately my life.

Whether it be that I be back on this soil this year or years from now, I know I must return.

But first, my research paper.

The view from the Cape Coast Castle
Here’s me surprising my Aunt after 5 years away from home (she raised me)
A fishing boat at Prampram
Makola Market
Of course, a picture of a delicacy: Tilapia (served with Banku)