The students said the knowledge based education system was somehow contributing to youth unemployment rate in the country, therefore, there was the need to shift focus to a more practical and skills based education system that could feed the industries to expand the economy and create jobs.
Every advocate for purposeful education ought to cheer, Hallelujah: Free at last! Did we grown-ups have to sit and wait that long for children to alert us about something so pertinent and obvious? Something that should have happened umpteen years ago? As Malcolm X (1925 1965) used to say, by identifying the problem, youve solved half of it. Education is at its best, when we support the youth to develop quality thoughts, and then empower them with skills to act on those thoughts.
In this era of young innovators, we - the all-knowing wise adults have to avoid being the analog pegs in digital holes.
The word disabilities immediately suggests an inability to see, to hear, to walk, and so on. But imagine young people who have spent 16 solid years for their education from primary through the university - who cannot find a way to make a decent living, who cannot find a purpose and fulfilment in their lives, and who live in disappointment:
These are disabilities too! Its a shame that theres a lot of intelligence out there being wasted daily, confirming Darwins other observation that, A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
In talking about the growing number of unemployed graduates, it is necessary to reflect on who taught them, how they were taught, and question the purpose for which they were taught. The nations educators need to wake up, think into the future, and act to support the youth in every pertinent way imaginable. My response in the Radio Univers interview was simply that The University of Ghana, Legon, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the University of Cape Coast (UCC) must all be in the forefront to help the youth develop skills that support jobs and wealth creation!
For one thing, many bold, brilliant people beam their brilliance at the tips of their hands the so-called kinesthetic learners who progress by doing things getting involved being in the open fields adding value to their innate potential and the environment in which they live. The victories of this class of learners come from getting useful things done. Unwittingly, they too have been shackled, reduced to the academics, sitting, and waiting to listen some more. In a nutshell, theyd been misled to think that education is about filling in the blanks and writing reports that collect rust and dust. What a waste!
The fixed mindsets of the old school are diametrically opposed to the 21st century demands for students to be purposeful, intuitive, daring, visionary, authentic, and unconventional. Add modern technological advancements to the mix and we realise that we are unwittingly doing the youth a great disservice.
In this day and age, for theories to be useful, they must converge into applications and skills that result in useable products or services anything that will move learners from a passive mode into an active mode that adds value to the human being through solving societal problems. How else can Ghana, for example, leave the rickety third world into the first knowing darn well that the countries that have gone far beyond us, used to be just like us in the beginning?
The old academics format an archaic process now dubbed Courseology consisted of isolated subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Ecology - and so on tossed into in a disjointed theoretical heap for exit certificates. As Lee Kuan Yew (1923 2015) observed, You score high marks in mathematics, you have got it. But that is not enough have a sense of reality of what is possible. But if you are just realistic, you become pedestrian, plebeian, you will fail. Therefore, you must be able to soar above the reality and say, This is also possible a sense of imagination.
A technical report by The National Council for Tertiary Education (ISSN 0855 4978, December 2014), cited Traditional University (Classical/Research University) as Theory and research oriented, Emphasis on mainly disciplinary approach to learning and promotion of scholarship among others. Whereas Technical University (University of Applied Sciences) was defined as Teaching and practice-oriented, Applied or strategic research with focus on solving practical problems and providing technology solutions that make production systems more efficient, Skills-driven or acquisition of employable skills, and so on.
Considering that Ghana has pursued this traditional university business for so long - and now with even children suggesting otherwise - it makes sense to go the other way to add value to Ghanas enormous human and natural resources.
The premium that nations place on pertinent skills is going to climb. Traditional institutions will be pushed out of their comfort zones; but that doesnt mean that what they already know wont still be valuable; it simply means that they must be responsive to change to survive. The way to do that is to learn to add value to their previous knowledge in practical and useful ways. It takes pertinent skills to End Poverty Globally.
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