Monday, June 24, 2013

Educated Illiterates:Whose fault?

This post is going to be quite controversial,but I try to tell the truth no matter what.If you don't agree with me,comment and let me know.Better still,write a rebuttal and tag me.I'll read it,I promise!
Currently,Ghana is considered a lower middle income earning country,which means we are in that weird place where we aren't considered dirt poor and in need of serious aid,but are still really quite broke.When I saw this classification,I immediately thought of several things,some of which I shared in an earlier post on this blog.You can read that post here if you missed it.

Most recently though,I have begun to question this so called status again in light of certain observations I have made about graduates in Ghana.I don't think anyone will quibble with me over the fact we have issues with our educational system,but when I look at the caliber of people produced from the various universities and tertiary institutions in the form of 'graduates',I begin to wonder if its just an issue with our educational system or there's also some personal responsibility involved.

Since I am from a science background,let me talk about that for a minute.How many graduates of the various science programs in universities in Ghana are actually equipped for real hands-on scientific work?The final year research we are made to do is unsatisfactory, and to top that off most of us are usually too busy cramming for exams to read anything in the form of scientific literature.Most Science grads do not even know what a publication is,have no idea how to read and digest the information or how to use that information for their own purposes in a legal manner.Maybe I'm being too critical,but when even Masters and PhD degree students are no better,there is cause for concern.

Let's move away from Science shall we?Let's talk about the Master's Craze in Ghana.Everyone graduating from the university decides to pursue a Masters degree either because they can't find a job or everyone else is doing it so they also want to do it.A classic example is the thousands of MBAs awarded each year,not to students who have actually learnt anything and will be better for it(with very few exceptions) but to students that have been rushed through some classes and exams,made to cram more than they did in high school or college and then probably paid to have someone write a thesis for them(sorry if I offend anyone here).Is the Masters degree a simple extension of college now with the cramming and memorization?How do we expect to produce any kind of equipped grads with this kind of educational attitude?All the schools seem to be interested in now is money,and most of our graduates are apparently not circumspect enough in their reasoning and rush to do all these programs.I understand that there is a shortage of jobs,but is a Masters degree really a fix?Do you need another degree attained with cramming and memorization  to get an entry level job?

This is such an appalling situation,much like the monopolisation of medical schools in Ghana by the rich and by certain families(I didn't even know that medicine was now a family inheritance..smh).Before even considering a Masters degree,you need to sit and decide what you want to do with your career.How is an MBA necessary if all you ever wanted to do was teach for example(unless you're going to teach business or run a company)?Why do a PhD if you want to just be a lawyer?I understand that because most of us think that our options are limited,we decide to just do whatever is available,but if there's anything education was supposed to have done,it was to open our eyes to all of the opportunities we do have.If our education failed to do that,then it is up to us to educate ourselves by reading more and being more open to other options apart from those everyone else sees.Most of us after graduation never even bother to read anything anymore.Not textbooks,not newspapers or personal development literature,not even novels.How do we expect to be educated when we will not  do the basics ourselves and read?Or has our educational system made reading so boring and not fun that we can't see it as a helpful and fun activity?

This is  what makes a graduate educated,in my opinion,the ability to see and utilise opportunities other people have not seen or utilised, the will and desire to solve problems and not just get jobs and make money.Let's stop blaming the system,because we all know its bad, and actually do something on ourselves.After all,the same educational system has produced exceptional graduates.What makes you unable to be an exception too?Until we begin to see education as more than a pathway to get a job on the part of students and as a business on the part of schools,we will keep producing graduates who are actually illiterate,unskilled and unprepared to face and solve actual real world problems and will compound the problems we already do have as a country.Enough said!