Dr. Esi Sutherland-Addy
IDEOLOGY AND EDUCATIONAL POLICY: THE VISION OF OSAGYEFO DR KWAME NKRUMAH
The Regional Minister,
Nana, Omanhene of the Efutu Traditional Area, The Municipal Chief Executive, Members of the University Council,
The Vice Chancellor,
The Pro Vice Chancellor,
Deans and Heads of Department, Colleague Faculty Members, Students, Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I stand before you in deep gratitude to the University of Education Winneba for honouring me in a number of ways. I must recall that in 2004 I received recognition on two separate occasions here at the University. Firstly, in July, I was given a University of Education, Winneba, and Award for Special Contribution To The Birth and Development of Distance Education in Ghana. Secondly in September, at the special congregation marking the momentous occasion of the attainment of full university status and 10th anniversary of the establishment of this institution, I found myself the only woman in the highly distinguished company of the first 6 Receipients of honorary degrees from the University of Education Winneba.
Appearing on this platform for the first time as an honoree since that auspicious occasion, let me state publicly that as I observe with keen interest, the growth and development of the institution, I remain a very proud recipient of the degree of Dr. of Letters Honoris Causa Conferred on me at the time.
AND now this: The immense honour done me in inviting me to deliver the 14th Congregation Lecture. I can only say that I stand before you in full cognizance of the significance of the occasion and can only hope that I will be able to make a fitting contribution to discourse on Education led by the University of Education, Winneba.
Rationale for choice of Theme
I thought that to begin with I should provide a preliminary rationale for my choice of theme for this lecture. Indeed one's head fills up with ideas when the field of education is evoked because there is a myriad of issues to be explored from both a theoretical and practical point of view. Policy matters are pressing as are issues of management and delivery.
I hope however to be able to convince you by the end of my submission that, in spite of the burgeoning demands for education which threaten to stretch our resources to their very limits, educators and policy makers must consciously spare the time to generate and re-generate a coherent, philosophical outlook for education in Ghana.
There is robust evidence that we took our first steps into nationhood with a commitment, from the seat of government, to the formulation of an African-centred, national educational policy.
On the occasion of the celebration of the Centenary of the birth of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, first President of the Republic of Ghana it seemed to me quite apposite to invite us all to return to the period 1951 and circa 1964 during which bold steps were being taken to define a suitable ideology for a socially equitable nation building enterprise. Furthermore, on the occasion of the centenary it was impossible as I considered the theme, for me not to recall that in this very University and indeed this Hall, one of the main planks of education being the education of state and party officials in the state ideology and policies was launched. What were the wider implications of this broad definition of education?
Mr Vice Chancellor, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we find ourselves in an increasingly globalized environment bristling with multi and transnational entities promoting targets, strategic goals and conventions. To what extent are these processes also ideologically based, and to what extent is our country involved in defining these ideologies if they indeed exist?
Structure of the Presentation
To engage in this retrospective on Dr Kwame Nkrumah I believe it is necessary to look at his own very intriguing educational trajectory and the shaping of his ideas between the late 1920s and 1947 when he started his political work in Ghana.
This will be followed by a presentation of some of the recurrent themes in Dr Nkrumah's advocacy and policy statements on education.
Having done this I intend to provide a summary of educational policy actions taken in the period 1951 to 1964.
As a bridge to contemporary times I will highlight elements of the 7year Development Plan which was to have covered the period 1963/64-1969/70.
The effect of the age of global neo-Iiberalism beginning in the 1980s will be briefly examined with a view to interrogating the relevance or otherwise of raising the issue of ideology in the contemporary context.
NKRUMAH'S EDUCATION AND THE SHAPING OF HIS EDUCATIONAL IDEOLOGY
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's early education was under difficult circumstances. He attended school in Half Assini where his father lived. Upon completing his basic education in 1927, and after having taught as an untrained teacher briefly, he entered the Government Teachers College which was absorbed into Achimota School from where he graduated as a teacher in 1930. It is worthy of note that he had come under the influence of James Kwegyir Aggrey the then assistant headmaster and only African member of staff. Aggrey was not merely an administrator but a Christian missionary, an educationist, intellectual and nationalist who propagated strong views on matters such as the need for African Education to involve the training of the head, heart and hands - A view which had been championed by the African American educationist George Washington Carver). He also famously reflected the view that like the black and white keys of the piano, there would be no progress in world affairs if the contributions of African peoples were ignored or undervalued. It is worthy of note that Kwegyir Aggrey had spent many years in the United States of America acquiring an impressive formal education in both the sciences and the humanities and a high consciousness of the status of the African in America.
Later on, Nkrumah was to take a similar trajectory.
After teaching in Elmina briefly at the Catholic Junior School, Kwame Nkrumah was transferred to Axim and become the head of the Catholic School there. During this period, he prepared for and took the University of London Matriculation Examination failing in Mathematics and Latin. He went back to Elmina in 1932 and taught at the Catholic Seminary in Amissano where he even considered submitting himself to the Jesuit order.
By the 1 930s the seeds of nationalism were germinating in West Africa and Kwame Nkrumah is known to have been aware of the nationalists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, then editor of the African Morning Post. With the assistance of relatives, Kwame Nkrumah was able to set off in 1935 for the first black University: Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in the United States to begin an educational odyssey which was to last 10years. In his autobiography he makes the following point: "My ten years in America had been happy and eventful, but at the same time had been remarkably strenuous. Life would have been so much easier if I could have devoted all my time to study. As things were, however, I was always in need of money and hard work [was the way that I] earned my livelihood.,, This included peddling of fish in Harlem and working in a soap factory.
Under the circumstances, Nkrumah availed himself of a broad and rich education with strong penchant for Pan Africanist and Socialist thought as well as history and philosophy. His formal degrees were earned as follows: From Lincoln,
a) A B.A. Magna cum Laude in Economics and Sociology (1939)
b) A bachelor of Theology (1942) From the Theological Seminary at Lincoln. He then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he obtained an MSc degree in Education 1943 and an MA in philosophy in 1944.
Unfortunately according to the write up for the "Kwame Nkrumah at Penn: A Digital Exhibition currently displayed by the University's Archives and Records Centre, both theses by Nkrumah are lost.
We do however have an inkling of his concerns from two articles which he wrote as an undergraduate for the student journal "Educational Outlook." In the first entitled Primitive Education in West Africa (1941) He is at pains to demonstrate the robustness of the education system he left behind in his home continent. He says:
" ... the education of a child is largely a process of acquiring, in the first place, conditioned reflexes, and then, the more permanent associations and systems of conditioned reflexes that we call habits. The leaders of primitive West Africa, for a long time, consciously or unconsciously, have been aware of this psychological fact."
And concludes that West African education "gave efficient preparation for the activities of life and so it fulfilled its purpose,"
In a later article entitled Education and Nationalism Nkrumah appearing much more confident questions the validity of a Eurocentric education offered by mission schools:
.. under such a system of education the youth of Africa is not prepared to meet any definite situations of the changing community except those of the clerical activities and occupations for foreign commercial and mercantile concerns .
.. any educational program which fails to furnish criteria for the judgment of social, political, economic, and technical progress of the people it purports to serve has completely failed in its purpose, and has become an educational fraud.
Nkrumah, through his studies became conscious on the effects of mis education. In his book The Struggle Continues, he observes that
: "American text-books shy away from discussion of slave revolts, though riots and insurrection form a large part of African-American history." He goes further to say "African-Americans have been separated from their cultural and national roots. Black children overseas are not taught of the glory of African civilization in the history of mankind, of pillaged cities and destroyed tribes. They do not know of the millions of black martyrs who died resisting imperialist aggression." (Nkrumah - 42)
As we shall see later, these themes resonate through out Nkrumah's evolving thought on education and also recall strong positions taken by prominent Africanists like J.E. Casely Hayford who 20years previously projected a pan African educational ideal. According to Casely Hayford, there had to be a total reversal in the philosophy of education. In his pan Africanist vision, this would be an educational system based on African languages and culture. Using the vehicle of a dream sequence in his novel Ethiopia Unbound for example, he projects us into a world where there is an Mfantsipim National University built from local funds and labour. Taking over teacher training and translation work from the missionaries and colonial government, tuition is conducted in Fante, Yoruba and Hausa, while education materials are produced in these same languages. In the school system there is a vastly increased enrolment of children. Teachers are being trained on a massive scale and their remuneration has been increased
·In reading this, one cannot help but recall that in opening the Institute of African Studies in 1963, President Nkrumah sets the Institute a mandate which although not quite so emancipated requires the institute to study Africa and its Diaspora in African Centred ways.
Kwame Nkrumah's view of education was obviously well rounded. Apart from writing, Nkrumah was an active student. As an undergraduate, he participated in theatre. He was also a member of the Mu Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Between 1939 and 1945 Nkrumah also lectured part time in Negro History and was voted "Most Outstanding Professor of the Year by "The Lincolnian. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he taught Twi at the African Studies section there. He also helped to organize African students in America and Canada into an African Students Association of America and Canada. At the first congress of the Association, he was elected its president. He also preached in Black Presbyterian Churches in Philadelphia. Through James, he learned about political organization and took deep interest in the writings of Marxists and other revolutionary philosophers. He was particularly inspired by the thoughts of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic Jamaican who initiated a Back-toAfrica movement, and of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois who in his capacity as one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was writing authoritatively on African Affaires. 3
Nkrumah acknowledges African American roots of Pan-Africanism and identifies forefathers who influenced his nation-building strategies. "Pan-Africanism has its beginnings in the liberation struggle of African-Americans, expressing the aspirations of Africans and peoples of African descent.... The work of the early pioneers of Pan-Africanism such as H. Sylvester Williams, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and George Padmore, none of whom were born in Africa, has become a treasured part of African history. Dr. Du Bois died, as wished, on African soil, while working in Accra on the Encyclopedia Africana. George Padmore became my Adviser on African Affairs, and spent the last years of his life in Ghana, helping in the revolutionary struggle for African unity and socialism."
Later in the same piece, Nkrumah identifies his Marxist roots. "All manner of red herrings are being used to distract and deflect us from our purpose. There is talk of "African socialism," Arab socialism, democratic socialism, Muslim socialism, and latterly, the "pragmatic pattern of development," their advocates claiming they have found the solution to our problems. Just as there is only one true
, socialism, scientific socialism, the principles of which are universal and abiding, there is only one way to achieve the African revolutionary goals of liberation, political unification, and socialism." (P3 5)
Nkrumah can be said to have been pivotal in sowing the seeds of a modern, socialist, Pan African paradigm in the live soil of an African State. As far as education is concerned one of the priorities on the government as the nation attained self rule was to establish the accelerated development plan (1951).
As far as our continent and country are concerned, the vision of a postcolonial independent statehood was inextricably linked with education which was to have a twin effect: firstly, the reestablishment of the dignity of the African and secondly the rapid modernization of the economy to rapidly bring to the people the well being of which they had long been unjustly deprived. As we have tried to demonstrate, this view of education was already being articulated at the dawn of the 20th century by educationists like Edward Blyden whose Pan Africanist vision for education in Africa influenced many a scholar and political activist after him.
Major Features and Effects of the Accelerated Development Plan of Education of 1951 and the 1961 Education Act
1 .The Mass Education Programme was a vigorous national drive initiated at the inception of Ghana's independence and lasting through the First Republic. Literacy in Ghana was embarked upon in the late 1 950s by the then government with a clear ideological commitment on two
fronts, Firstly its purpose was to provide education to the 'mass of the people' by a socialist government in fulfillment of their right to education. Mass education as it was thus called was therefore a priority along side a scheme to set up a massive new education infra structure at all levels involving fee-free ,compulsory education for all school-going children. The second rationale for the adult literacy drive was to prepare the manpower base for an accelerated development plan to be achieved by leapfrogging several steps in the development process.
2.Introduction of fee-free education for the first 6years of primary education followed by four years middle school for which fees were required. (Followed in 1961 by the introduction of fee-free education for the entire span of elementary school through the Education Act.)
Speaking to the Conference of the Teachers Association in Legon on April 6th 1961, President Nkrumah makes a statement on the place given to Education in the entire process of nation building:
"The importance of education, especially in developing countries like ours today, cannot be over-emphasized. Education is the firmest foundation of all for any national building process. It is therefore the cornerstone upon which rests our surest hope to build in Ghana a structure of society which will be worthy of a respectable place among the civilized nations of the world.
It is for this reason that, my Government attaches the greatest importance to the development of education at all levels. We will spare no efforts to rid this country completely of illiteracy, and banish from it, the attendant curses of ignorance, poverty, and disease. It is our aim to ensure that, beginning from primary school level, right through up to university level, there is a continuous flow of talent properly directed to meet our every need, and drawing its inspiration from the challenge to make a definite contribution to world civilization and culture." (Selected Speeches of Kwame Nkrumah)
3. Exponential expansion of the state educational system at primary and secondary level and also teacher training colleges. Table 1 shown the distribution
of primary and secondary school facilities in the Gold Coast as at 1950. It is worthy of note at only 6.6% of the population were enrolled at the time.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL FACILITIES (1950)4
SOURCE: From Abban, J.B., Prerequisites of Manpower and Educational Planning in Ghana. Accra, Ghana: Baafour Educational Enterprises, 1986.
, Page 3, Table 1.1 P. Foster, op. cit., Table (5), p. 117 [Full Citation: P. Foster, Education and Social Change in Ghana (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965), Chapter II, especially pp. 48-5 1 for comprehensive historical background]. In ten years the country had achieved more than in the whole period of colonial
rule. TABLE 2
ENROLMENTS IN PUBLIC PRIMARY, MIDDLE AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS, 1950-1970/716
I_____ Year__ Primary_____ Middle______ Secondary
4 These figures include all schools whether government, grant-aided, or non-assisted.
5 These figures are computed from a projection based on an estimated 1.5 per cent increase in population per annum from the Gold Coast Census population, 1946 (Accra:
Government Printer, 1950) but should be regarded as crude approximations only. It is fairly certain that the 1948 Census considerably under-estimated the size of the population in the Gold Coast.
6 In Tables 1.2 and 1.3 (Table 3) above, the figures for the number of primary schools and enrolments, in the 1970/7 1 school year show a decrease over those of 1968/69. This may be due to a mistake in the 1970/7 1 compilation. Nevertheless, the increasing trend was still maintained between the 1950 and 1970/7 1 period.
SOURCE: Educational Statistics (Accra, Government Printer), Education Reports (Accra, Government Printer), and Unpublished data supplied by the Ministry of Education. In Abban Page 10, Table 1.3:
Table 3 gives the percentage increase in the numbers of children in primary and middle schools, and of students in secondary and technical schools and in colleges of higher education. Primary school enrolments more than doubled with secondary, technical and university enrollments rising by more than 400 %.
From Nkrumah, Kwame. The Struggle Continues (London, England: Panaf, 1981). Pages 50
TABLE 4: NUMBER OF, AND ENROLMENT IN, TEACHER TRAINING COLLEGES AND TECHNICAU COMMERCIAL INSTITUTES, 1963/741970/71
SOURCE: Educational Statistics (Accra, Government Printer). Abban 1986 Page 11, Table 1.4:
The government prioritized the building of schools and colleges. By the 1964-65 school year therefore, there were 9,988 primary and middle schools. 89 secondary schools constructed included several that had been built under the auspices of the Education Trust. A moving precursor to this was the Ghana National College established by Kwame Nkrumah himself followed by secondary schools all over the country such as Dormaa, Tema, Labone Winneba, Apam
, and Oda secondary schools. 47 teacher training colleges were also established.
Examples are Fosu, Enchi and Berekum training colleges. It may be noted that the Advanced Teacher Training College, The Specialist Teacher Training College and the Deaf Specialist Training College all now integral to UEW are included in this number. 11 technical schools and 3 universities were also in place. Looking back on this period in his book Dark Days in Ghana11
7 These include both Government and Private Institutions. The remaining figures in the table relate to those in the Public Educational System, except that for the 1968-69 academic year, the figures in the brackets are those for the Government sector only.
9 Teacher Training Colleges here include:
10 Refers to Commercial Colleges only. The figure for Technical Institutes is not available.
11 The Struggle Continues (London, England: Panaf, 1981).
Pages 50-5 1, from "The Big Lie," reprint of Chapter 5 from Dark Days in Ghana.
, Kwame Nkrumah notes:
"All this, in a population of 7,500,000 put Ghana in the lead among independent African states. At the same time, a mass literacy campaign has made Ghana the most literate country in the whole of Africa."
4. Establishment of institutions of higher learning geared specifically towards the development goals of the country such as The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (1952)
to assist in placing the country on the highway to industrialization and modernization and the University of Cape Coast in 1962.
SOURCE: The Educational Statistics (Accra, Government Printer) and The Commonwealth University Yearbooks. Abban 1986 Page 13, Table 1.5:
It is important to dwell briefly on higher education and research because President Nkrumah seems to have been particularly interested in this sector. Indeed, higher education and research seemed to excite his passion as a Pan African internationalist intellectual a political activist and leader of political thought and ideology and the head of government of an emergent African country with socialist aspirations. He was clearly convinced that the accelerated development the he envisioned would have to be powered by an intellectual powerhouse inspired by a thorough understanding of African history and culture, and a crystal clear awareness of world trends in all fields and a sense of urgency.
12 The University of Cape Coast came into existence in October, 1962 and until 1971 was known as the University College of Cape Coast (in special relationship with the University of Ghana, at Legon).
At His Installation as the first Chancellor of the University of Ghana during the inauguration of the University on November 25th 1961, he had this to say:
Higher institutions of learning in Africa were in the past designed to suit the colonial order and their products therefore reflected the values and ideals of the colonial powers. Consequently, colonial institutions of higher learning, however, good-intentioned, were unable to assess the needs and aspirations of the societies for which they were instituted. We have on numerous
occasions denounced these institutions as ivory towers, lacking the necessary sympathy with the people, walking in the clouds with their feet dangling in the air. The University Commission to which I have referred, interpreted the task of the university as follows:
They should be "responsive to the sense of urgency that exists in a developing nation; to use its resources imaginatively and effectively to contribute to the economy of the social organization; to interpret their studies for the benefit of the people and to learn from their problems".
I am not in any way belittling the academic foundation that has been laid here over the last thirteen years. We are grateful to the men and women whose work and sacrifices have made this university possible. We are grateful to them and shall ever remember their contributions to higher education in Ghana.
We have never had any doubt, however, about the intellectual capacity of the African. History tells us of the great medieval civilizations of Africa and the part that higher institutions of learning played in the academic and cultural life of the African. Centres of learning such as Walata, Djenna and Timbuktu had a singular impact on African education in medieval times. There is no doubt that in the University of Sankore, medieval Africa had already qualified to be numbered amongst the foremost intellectuallyinspired of the world. It the University of Sankore had not been destroyed; if Professor Amed Saba, author of forty historical works, had not had his works and his university destroyed; it the University of Sankore as it was in 1951 had survived the ravages of foreign invasion; then the academic and cultural history of Africa might have been quite different.
His commission to the University of Science and Technology on November 29th, a few days later was, in part:
Modern life has become so complex that we can no longer rely on the stone implements and simple tools which were adequate for the needs of our ancestors. In a sense, we must move swiftly from the stone-age to the age of the atom. What it has taken other peoples and nations centuries to achieve, we have to carry out in a decade or generation. This places a heavy burden of responsibility on this university as a centre of science and technology education. It is only by 'a revolution of the political and social order, complete mental emancipation and the education of the miseducated, that we can achieve this rapid transformation. .
This university, therefore, has a unique opportunity for making a positive contribution to the development of Ghana by directing its attention not only to the production of graduates in engineering, architecture, building and town planning, but also by addressing itself to investigation and research into the problems of industrialization and agricultural development.
Expatiating on this idea he makes the following points:
Indeed there are many problems for the solution of which we must look to our scientific institutions. For instance, with more and more cocoa coming to glut the market, the West African Cocoa Research Institute should not lose any time in setting up a commercial department for dealing with cocoa derivatives.
We have, too, many species of timber that are not being used. This is a complete waste and the timber utilization research unit should be turned into a proper institute, adequately manned so that it can cope with the problem and give effective results.
As far as the strategic interest of Africa in the world were concerned, his speech delivered at the opening of the Padmore Library in Accra is instructive:
There is indeed an urgent need for a centre of research into the life of the people of the African continent to which the student can turn for current information and historical narratives in this period of tremendous change and political upheaval. No one appreciated this need for libraries and research better than George Padmore. He was one of the most widely read and most prolific authors on African Affairs in this day, and this library, which will bear his name, will provide the raw material of scholarship on the whole of Africa. I am confident that by co-operation with other centres of African studies, this library will playa great part in the increasingly important task of making available publications from all parts of the world on the current African scene. Books, pamphlets and periodical articles will be indexed and classified so that the enquirer can have immediate access to the latest information, irrespective of language.
I hope that the George Padmore Memorial Library will eventually issue selected bibliographies on matters of current interest in Africa. There is a widespread misunderstanding and ignorance about the newly-developing independent nations of Africa. We are often misrepresented either because our critics do not take the trouble to check the facts or because they rely upon outdated and biased information. (Accra June 30th 1961)
These quotations are fairly extensive but I could see no better way of portraying to you just how much President Kwame Nkrumah believed in the role of higher education in the emancipation of Africa from the grip of the colonial mentality and in the modernization of the continent. He therefore did not only exhort but was palpably involved in the establishment of institutions. The story of the uneasy relationship between the first Republic and the Universities must be told on another day. Suffice it to say that the institutions sought to guard their academic freedom which the President often declared that he believed in unreservedly. However he saw no contradiction in acting directly in the sector to accelerate the development of the sector. The Institute of African Studies, the Ghana Medical School, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Encyclopedia Africana, the Padmore Library and a number of other research institutions were established in this manner and speak to the wide scope of his understanding of the role of education and research for meeting the economic, political and social vision which he championed.
Before we move on to look briefly at the 7 year Development plan and how its links up to the contemporary situation, it would be pertinent to point out one of the most overt synergies which Dr Kwame Nkrumah sought to make between ideology and education and which perhaps distinguishes the era during which he led the government from any other era. He was at pains to steer the political process away from one driven by the exigencies of the moment to one based on
, a reasoned ideology. He was also of the conviction that the ideals to which a country aspires and the strategies for achieving them would have to be learned specifically because it could not be assumed that they would automatically be imbibed.
This is how he put it on the occasion of the inauguration of the first course at the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute on whose premises we sit today:
February 18, 1961
As many of you do know, the circumstances of the Convention People's Party, the victorious party of Gold Coast revolution, made it practically impossible to organize any consistent party ideological education. Our party was in death-grips with imperialism and colonialism, and it was a grim fight every inch of the way. The objective of independence was so precious that everything else, including party ideological education, had to be pushed aside in the interim. Thus, it has been that, apart from some patch-up nationalist political education, no serious effort for ideological education has previously been undertaken by the Convention People's Party.
When, therefore, I have come to this town Winneba to lay the foundation stone of the Kwame Nkrumah Institute and to inaugurate the first course in ideological training accommodated in temporary premises, I see a beam of hope shooting across our continent, for the things which will be taught in the institute will strengthen African youth and manhood and inspire it to scale great heights; and the men and women who will pass through this institute will go out not only armed with analytical knowledge to wage the battle of African socialism, but will also be fortified with a keen spirit of dedication and service to our motherland.
It was not at all surprising that the ideological institute was one of the most criticized of the institutions established in the First Republic ,for. the leanings of the elite had been shaped by an association with the liberal West through its education system in which it was an anathema for the state to seek to direct the political thinking of its operatives. I have indeed met several senior civil servants who felt insulted that anyone would dare attempt to indoctrinate them. I will take up this issue again very soon in the following sections as I raise the question about whether in contemporary times, there is a link between education and ideology.
THE SEVEN YEAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN
I see the 7 year development plan as a great foreshadowing of later ideas on reform of education which actually got implement 25 to 30 years after they were initiated. Having declared the government's achievements in education in its first 10 years as laying the foundation for the greatest revolution in Ghana's history, the plan committed the state to making it possible for every child to get an education from primary to university level. The teaching of 'skills and other attainments for the running of a modern economy' was to be the primary thrust. Thus there was to be a heavy emphasis on the expansion of secondary education and the establishment of open and distance learning. The idea of shortening the length of time required for completing of elementary education from 10 to 8years was proposed in order to deal with the fact that the youth at the time were seen to be entering th labour market at an age higher than youth with comparable education in other countries. There was a plan to significantly expand vocational training and science education. The plan was to raise the proportion of science students to 50% at university level. Interestingly enough the output of teachers was to be at 6000 teachers per annum by 1970. As you are probably aware this, has until recently been the out put of our 38 teacher training colleges.
Although the 7 -year plan which was to mark the 2nd phase of the educational policy of the First Republic was not implemented it is clear that from the outset the government linked education to national development, setting up new institutions and systems, overhauling existing ones and all the while insisting that
there was a set of guiding principles generated from within the country which were to under gird the emergent nation.
GHANAIAN EDUCATION POLICY IN A NEOLIBERAL GLOBAL SETTING [SLIDE NO.7: DEFINITIONS]
Over the past 40 years or so Ghanaian Education has gone through a number of major policy changes which have been attributed in some part to the political instability and political misadventures and stagnation in economic growth as well as demographic pressures.
Having been part of a team which attempted to completely re-configure the education system when it was at very low ebb, I have experienced first hand the difficulties involved in resetting the compass in the midst of low resources and political skeptism.
I am speaking of the reforms initiated in 1987 which led to the establishment of the University of Education.
I have written about aspects of this experience elsewhere and would be happy to share them with you on a separate occasion but suffice it to note that those reforms and others since then, unlike the ones embarked upon through the leadership of the First Republic were undertaken in a very different context.
That educational reform program was formulated in the context of an Economic Reform Program the midwives of which were the Breton Woods Institutions. Funding was sought from these institutions for significant parts of the programme which therefore had to be negotiated with them. Those of us involved in the sectoral program came face to face with the challenges of distilling and negotiating a national thrust and process in the context of the economistic
, policies of the World Bank at the time and the vocal and trenchant cynicism of our constituents for whom the raising the issue of education financing at the time was enough to resist for a long period the process of creating a reform program.
I believe that looking back, it would be fair to state that The Educational Reform Programme of the 1 980s inspite of its well documented lacunae has been the most sweeping of recent times as it sought to interrogate fundamentally the basis of the entire educational system. However by its very provenance, stated vision and coverage it brought up questions of process: (of how reforms might be initiated, implemented, monitored and evaluated), which ought to provide a guide for managing change in education for development. Indeed the scope of this process placed Ghana among the forerunners to the global Education For All campaign initiated in 1990 which sought to ensure that resources of governments as well as Development agencies would be redirected towards basic education for all.
I would venture to call the past 27 years the age of International Goals. The atmosphere has been bristling with conventions, conditionalities, strategic goals in all sectors. For education, we have for example (EFA by the year 2000; MDGS by 2015 the Fast Track Initiative Etc). These have been interpreted at regional and country level so that in Ghana we have the FCUBE the ESP (Education Strategic Plan under the auspices of a PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan). In a neo-liberal environment, there is supposed to be a global consensus that requires no articulation - that is a subliminal message that if our economies are open to global markets and if we practice liberal democracy, all else shall follow. A neo-liberal environment is one in which global market capitalism is the dominant mode of interaction among nations. It is important to note that apart from being an economic system, it has moral and political features as well. Inspite of the fact that it is expected to be regulated by market forces, its modalities are infact enforced by dominant states such as Western States in emerging states such as those in Africa. Again there are a number of multi lateral agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF which see it as a mission to promote these ideas, while organisations such as the United Nations lead in identifying what ought to be the development goals of member countries at any given time. One credo of a neo-Iiberal environment is precisely the notion of liberalism implying among other things:
1 .The absence of a dominant, controlling ideology or force 2.Competitiveness
3 .The championing of individual prosperity. And
4.Limitless choice and opportunity offered by global markets and technology
5.The existence of universal templates more or less determined by paradigms fashioned out of western cultural experience
The Issues that arise from not interrogating the neo-liberal model as a collective or as individuals are many. Here are a few of them:
· The first is not to recognize neo-liberalism for what it is - an ideology in every sense of the word taking the form of a set of prescriptions which come to us from a dominant culture. The extent to which neo-Iiberalism demands conformist behaviour is quite astounding. I do not wish to be mis understood. By advocating a consciousness of this fact I am simply calling for enlightened decision making and a sense of freedom to choose not to relinquish the custodianship of public policy making to forces from whom we demand no accountability.
· To what extent do our state and public institutions, our political leaders or our intelligentsia truly believe that they have the capacity devise a coherent policy that has the African truly in focus? Is their perceived inability to do so finally not a reversal of the confident stance taken at independence?
· To what extent are the persistent difficulties experienced in trying to become successful models according to the neo-liberal template wearing away at the faith of citizens of African countries in their own systems?
i.Taking the area of education in Ghana specifically it is pertinent some issues very closely
ii. Perhaps we are not seeing the forest for the trees. Today, the country is nearing one hundred percent enrolment in primary education. Millions of Ghanaians have been educated since independence. The issues of quality and the need for a diversified curriculum which confront us today are the challenges of our time. While accepting that parents must choose what they accept to be the best education for their children, it is instructive that the solution that people have selected leads, them to engage in the regressive. It is disturbing to know that people think that in this day and age, by setting up institutions which reject the Ghanaian curriculum and teach the national curriculum of western countries, the children who receive this education will necessarily be superior to those who are properly instructed in the Ghanaian one.
iii. The second is to us the educators and researchers. Can we confidently say that we are cultivating enquiring minds and showing leadership in pursing knowledge for ourselves. Are we engaged in education or miseducation?
But perhaps it is not as easy as it would appear to advocate for a coherent ideology today. for as the Nigerian literary scholar Onoge has said:
The multiplicity of contradictions in contemporary Africa poses, at the moment, a host of ideological and institutional hurdles in the way of the development of socialist consciousness in the entire intellectual domain ( Onoge 1974:21)1
Mr Vice Chancellor, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am now going to steer us to the end of our exploration of the manner in which the content and form of education must be defined in its time and place by every society for itself. I hope I have been able to convey the reason why in the midst of the contradictions in which contemporary Ghana and Africa find themselves, it has been refreshing for me to return to Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah's passionate grasp of the critical need to ensure that the ideological underpinnings of the educational system of Ghana were derived from an astute reading of the inspirational, aspirational and material requirements of the society.
Much as the opportunities offered by fresh beginnings and revolutionary feveur cannot be compared with the challenges inherent in our contemporary situation marred with the cynicism, I am convinced that the need for self knowledge, creativity, motivation and vision which Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah so fervently tried to inculcate into the enterprise of nation building through an emancipatory education is as high as it ever was.
This university: The University of Education Winneba has immense opportunities to lead knowledge creation and promoting a healthy discourse around educational policy and provision. This country needs to go beyond the firefighting mode and dare to try out visionary ways of answering the questions "Education for What?" and "How do we go about it?" It is my hope that this university, given the particular historical relationship it has with the educational vision of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah will create an archive where documents, photographs and audio visual recordings pertaining to the era as well as works produced by innovative African thinkers will be kept. to enable further work to be done into questions such as education and nation building in Africa, the history of Pan Africanist educational strategy, innovative African education in a globalized world and so on.
I further suggest that is most unfortunate that we have not heeded the early to mid 20th century, leaders of thought of whom Kwame Nkrumah is an acknowledged giant, who were encouraging us to learn more about achievements of African civilization, to use our own languages and to promote creativity and scientific innovation for our own development. I look forward to leadership from the University of Education Winneba in this respect. To close,
I leave you with extracts from Kofi Anyidoho's evocative poem "Memory and Vision" because it summarizes a lot of the things I have been trying to say today and captures for me the idea that as teachers and leaders of thought in the field of education, we must realise that excellence demands a willingness to ask difficult questions, a restless quest for knowledge and the astuteness to follow that which illuminates our own situation and finally the courage to offer hope founded on knowledge and vision. Some how, I am sure Osagyefo would have approved!
Extracts from "Memory & Vision" By Kofi Anyidoho
There is something of Our-Story
something of our mystery carved into every Tomb Stone
in all the Graveyards of the World something of our History
enshrined in every monument and in every Anthem ever erected in honour of the Spirit of Endurance.
Some tell us ourSalvation
Lies in a repudiation of ourselves
A repudiation of ourHistory
Of pain our History
Of shame our History And of endless fragmentation.
It cannot mustn't be
That the rest of the world came upon us Picked us up used us to clean up their mess Dropped us off into trash and moved
On into new eras of celebrative arrogance
Hopeful somehow hopeful that we shall forever
Remain lost among shadows of our own doubts Lost forever among shadows of our own doubts. It is the quest for a Future
alive with the energy of Recovered
vision a future
released from the Trauma of a Cyclonic Past
and from the myopia
of a Stampeded Present
Some how somehow we must recall that we are a People who once rode the Dawn
with Civilization's Light
still glowing through our Mind
A people once enslaved are too often too willing to be a People Self-enSlaved
The Asante the Azande and Made The Madingo and the Bakongo
The Basuto the Dagaaba and the Dogon
A people who once built Civilizations of rare Glory are now but Doubtful Memories on Faded Pages of World History.
For Five Hundred Years -and moreWe have journeyed from Africa
through the virgin Islands into Santo Domingo from Havana in Cuba to Savanna in Georgia from
Voudou Shores of Haiti to Montego
Bay in Jamaica from Ghana
To Guyana from the Shanty-Towns of Johannesburg Favelas
In Rio de Janeiro
from Bukom to Harlem to Brixton
from Hamburg to Moscow to KyotoR09;
and all we find are Dis-Possessed and Battered
people still kneeling in a Sea
Of Blood lying Deep
In the Path of Hurricanes.
No matter how far away we try to hide away from ourselves
we will have to come back
Home and find out Where and How
the Light in our Eyes. How and Why
we have become
Eternal orphans living on Crumbs and LeftOvers.
That just to survive simply to survive merely to survive Is not & can
never be enough.
And so still we stand so tall among Cannonades
We smell of mists and of powered memories
And those who took away our Voice They are now surprised They couldn't take away our Song (PRAISE SONG FOR THE LAND Anyidoho 2000 22-31)