So my dad and I are arguing about the choices of the sitting president of Ghana and how his choices determine the pace at which the country progresses. One of the choices that the president made, concerns the ministry of education. I have very strong sentiments about this choice because, I convince myself every day that if I ever decide to go into politics, it will be because I was lured with the position of the minister of education.
My dad has a very opinionated personality and over the years, has stuck to just one political party, defending their actions and inactions, and celebrating their achievements. He supports the sitting president whether he is wrong or right, because the man is a member of his party! One time, he decided to not talk to his blood brother for over a year because his brother voted for the opposing party. That is the kind of man he is. I was raised to support that party although I have never actually voted in Ghana.
Recently, when I started questioning the actions and also inactions of the sitting president because I felt he could do better, dialogue between my dad and I, have been lengthier and more heated up. I refuse to back down and kowtow to his opinions, while he vehemently protests against my opinions. One of such arguments is about the president’s choice of the deputy minister of education.
In a fairly recent interview of the minister in question, it was brought to light that he never really completed his first degree studies at the university and therefore, does not have a certificate. The government was beginning to pressure the university authorities to give him his certificate. I found this to be disgraceful, especially since he is the deputy minister of education.
I am not saying that the minister should have a lot of degrees up his sleeve, neither am I saying that a degree determines anyone’s competence. No! I have seen way too many educated buffoons to last me a lifetime to make such an argument. I just think it is a slap in the faces of all the professors and academicians in Ghana, who can very well serve in that capacity. It is a blow to me personally, as an individual striving to reach the top of the educational ladder.
My dad argues that if he were the president, he will ignore qualifications and only concentrate on competence. Which brings me to my question of how competence can be measured? For someone, who had no political experience prior to the recent election, where he played a key role in convincing a lot of students to vote for the president, how else can his competence be measured if not for his educational level? Yes, a degree is only a piece of paper and is not a measure of one’s competence or intelligence, but how else can we effectively measure the competence of an individual who has not served in any government position prior to his election? Especially in the educational sector, where he has been elected to head, what qualifies as the benchmark to assess his qualification if not for a certificate?
Is it not disrespectful, to say the least, to all the academicians and professors that are going to serve under his leadership, who obviously know better than he does about how to propel the ministry forward? Is this not how nepotism starts? One elects someone he knows and trusts to serve in a leading role, because he is not convinced of the allegiance of the people that are more qualified. As students, we are required to write an exam at the end of most of our classes to examine how well we know the subject matter although we attended classes. That is how we know that we have actually learned something from the class. A paper as my dad puts it, or more aptly, a certificate, is just like the results of a test, to prove to ourselves and everyone that, we know the subject we have learned. That is the accepted benchmark in education. So why would anyone think that a deputy minister of education can still serve competently, whether or not he has a certificate? I will be happy to hear what other think of this matter.