For me the highlight of the event came when the President lit the perpetual flame with the assistance of Master Frank Adu-Poku, WAEC's over-all best student and winner of the prestigious Augustus Bandele Oyediran award. It was an inspiring moment for me because it counted as the few events that sought to celebrate brilliance and academic excellence in Ghana. For two years, Ghanaian student have been selected as West Africa's best, there is however very little done to motivate the students who put Ghana forward in such times. Master Adu-Poku was one of three Ghanaian students who won the WAEC Excellence award out of 1,520,319 candidates from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Gambia. The name doesn't ring a bell, or does it?
For a developing country like Ghana that has acknowledged the development of education and science and technology to be its panacea, I am a bit surprised to find out how little it is invested in education as compared to the millions of dollars pumped into football. Each player in the Ghana Black Stars team has been promised an amount of $20,000 and a national award for their performance in the South African World Cup 2010. This excludes the hundreds of thousands of dollars given them as winning bonuses. These actions have gone on to see Ghana progress in football. I am not totally against these rewards, I do think though, that similar motivational measures should be channeled into education.
Should similar incentives be introduced in academia?
It will depend on what we want as a country. Do we want to produce graduates who will deliver as much as their counterparts in other developed nations do? Do we want to see a Ghana that will have citizens that will understand policies and decisions instituted by the government? OR do we want to continue seeing 1,200 students clamped in one lecture hall being taught by old lecturers in our universities? or do we want the future leaders to share rooms with 13 other students in a room only meant for 5?
At the function, the President gave assurance to the youth that the Government was committed to investing in them to build a critical mass to sustain the nation's development agenda and move it to higher heights. This promise is yet to be fully fulfilled. I think it is about time Ghana invested more resources in education. Until we do so, the country will continue to wallow in poverty and ignorance.