Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Failed Education: A Growing Evidence

Even though they have always been there, lately, I have noticed a steady growth in the congregation of abled-bodied young men; many standing, some squatting and other sitting or even laying, by the sides of the arterial roads and streets of the western suburbs, near where I live.
They appear almost always desperate and are always on the rush to the windows of drivers, who in a moment of time, look in their direction. Jostling and pushing, they try to outmanoeuvre each other to get the attention of their potential clients.
Any guesses?
No. These are not sex workers. They are not beggars, neither are they hawkers.

They are unskilled labourers for hire: any piece job one may present to them is probably the only choice they may have for the whole day. A rare opportunity to tidy up somebody's garden, in most cases, may be the only difference between those who go to 'bed' hungry and those who do so with some nourishment.
Unskilled and realistically unemployable, they are left with no choice but to feed on the crumbs that fall from the tables of those who care enough to give them a chance to hope for another attempt tomorrow. Is there hope for them? Are they a lost generation? I wonder. I hope their plight is addressed so that it doesn't become the plight of the entire society.

The world may be a very inhospitable place for many people, but many of the wreckage and misery we see around us are preventable. Many simply need a little help to help themselves!

I firmly believe that the best way to avoid the episode described above is to provide a sound education for ALL our citizens, especially children. When we fail to provide the quality education expected in this day and age, we are inevitably preparing our people, societies and nations for a monumental failure!

A failed education system, without question, is the mother of all failures!


Denise said...

Hi Posekyere, just today I attended the launch of the UNESCO Education For All Global Monitoring Report for 2008 and came to the same conclusion that you did in your post. Our education systems struggle to cope with the vast deficiencies there are and current strategies to address these issues seem loudly silent or quietly vague.
Ghana was listed as one of the countries 'far' from achieving the EFA deadlines of 2015. Though the presenter hurried to explain that this was based on the 2004/5 data and not on present statistics, and while references to Obama's mantra 'we can' were interspersed in the presentation, I left feeling a bit disillusioned about the reality of that.
Gender remains a crucial issue. For each one of those men you see, rest assured that there are perhaps three to four women/girls who if society permitted would be there jostling for these potential clients as you referred to them. It is really a sad state of affairs.

Maya said...

This post sums up my motto. Here in Ghana, I feel the route to solving all our problems is education. Let's give ourselves 2, 3 decades to educate a new generation to a new level, then we'll see real change and development.

Meanwhile, why are these unskilled people not given "menial" but regular jobs as in other countries, e.g. street sweepers, gutter cleaners (although I'm guessing S.A. does not have the same open gutter problems), rubbish collectors, etc. Elsewhere, even for the untrained, there are jobs to do that give them a regular salary.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

I agree. Further, in looking at things from another viewpoint, these people might be driven by all the desperation to crime (in fact that progression is quite natural) so they come into our homes to haunt us. I am so afraid to be living in this century!

posekyere said...

Hello Denise,

Always thought provoking comments!
It really saddens my heart that our leaders tend to give lip service instead of brain service.
Just hoping that things will by themselves get better is the highest form of irresponsibility.

I certainly agree with the centrepiece of your concern: the situation of women/girls being much more worse.
We are failing ourselves, by setting sub-standard goals for society.

posekyere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
posekyere said...

Absolutely spot-on, Maya!

It requires an unbreakable focus on pouring the little resources that we have in Ghana into providing an education that is even more ambitious than what pertains in the west.

Singapore has been able to do that with exceptional outcomes.
Why can't we?
In South Africa, the number of the folks in that terrain is quite high so it is almost impossible to absorb all into that sort of scheme.
Probably an attempt to provide a lot more vocational training is the way to go.

posekyere said...

An unblemished conclusion, Nana!

That is exactly what is happening here. It is tearing apart the soul of the nation.
And the root cause is the "bantu education" unleashed under apartheid. If only something could be done to eradicate the consequences of that era much more forcefully!