A culture is said to be corrupted when any natural body is adulterated to influence it from functioning as would have been the case if it had been left in its original condition. Of course every facet of the African effort has been corrupted and the academic sector is as worse hit as any other. This unique sector that breeds the human brain to think beyond the norm and come up with rare solutions to human survival, has proven to have given practical answers to bettering and sustaining lives at such dark times in the history of what we today refer to as "Developed Nations". In the case of the African Union states and Ghana to be specific, the academic community is just as useless in the faces of our challenges as any other facet of the nation. This in every sense calls for serious thinking to the possible causes of this problem and thus the possible solutions that this easy intended to explore.
It is not an uncommon thing to hear the ordinary man on the street of Africa expressing his/her frustration
towards the African intellectuals. I have on several occasions heard such expression as "Our African intellectuals
are just stupid and useless that all they do is to write big books and paid a lot of salary for doing nothing".
I have also heard of such other ones as "African intellectuals are just ceremonial academic tittle holders who
use their titles to occupy political positions". It is not also uncommon to hear such sayings as "African intellectuals
buy their titles from foreign and questionable institutions with which they gain access into political position to loot
the wealth of the people". I am also very sure that you might also be full of your own versions of the ordinary citizens'
impression of the African intellectuals, for any of the above to be strange to you.
On the continent of Africa and Ghana to be specific, we adore individuals with academic titles. We revere such people and expect so much from them as their titles indicate. We speak highly of such people and never see fault in anything they do. They occupy the highest position of every institution of importance in our nation with fabulous pay pack to go with it. They are never faulted in our eyes just because of their titles, even when the faults are obvious. In short, we worship them.
One marvel at how almost every institution in Ghana is headed by a professor, doctor and at the least a titled professional, but with basically nothing to show for this. We had a president with the academic title of a professor of law being the head of state of Ghana and the condition of the majority of our populace is not different from what it has been when a mere flight lieutenant in the army was our head of state. The best most can say about the professor at his death is that "he was a fine gentleman" during his reign of political office.
The poor professor came to meet a malfunctioning state with; corrupt minded individuals disguising under government contractors or private investors, over 45% of national budget by donor funding, underemployment of the masses, over dependency on foreign investment for national projects, mass unemployment, heavy foreign debt burden, poor infrastructure, over 4,000 school under trees, state paid employees passing judgement debt against the state itself, uninsured police vehicles plying our street to enforce the laws, incarceration of the poor at the slightest instance under the guise of justice, 130 detained persons for over seven years under probation awaiting trail, one medical doctor for over 600 prisoners, ritual murders, mass youth and under age prostitutions, massive housing deficit, underdevelopment in human resources leading to negative national technological deficit, poor medical facilities of which the president himself was a victim and intentional socio-eco-political mass misinformation.
Our problem as a people is a fundamental one and individuals of other nations with such academic titles
earned them by coming up with practical solution at such desperate time. Academic and professional titles are
earned not just by the work in the fore walls of a classroom and the writing of meaningless academic
publications earning cognisance in the international journals but by what such individuals also did as
physical output that addressed fundamental challenges of their people that turned lives around.
In terms of our population of individuals with academic and professional titles, the African continent and Ghana in particular has earned it share but when one come to the practical or physical things to show for this, the answer is zero. We have these individuals in all sorts of fields of endeavour by title but our needs in these same fields of attainments are seriously a concern. From diseases or ailment control in terms invention of medicines, medical and surgical instruments, we are all at the mercy of others. In this day and age, we are struggling with shortages of hospital beds and traffic light for our roads just because we do not make them ourselves. We are still struggling with the basics of food and machine productions.
The irony is that, the fairly non-academic achievers in leadership of the AU member states have been blame for the poor productivity of our academic achievers. It has been the assumed case of the sit-tight solders or dictators not allowing the academicians the right resources necessary to put to use their knowledge to better the nations. The sit tight leaders were blame for lack of the technological and scientific invention of our academicians.
The ascendance of a professor to the position of the Ghanaian presidency to decide what everyone does leave one wondering if there is any hope for us? The academicians of Africa and Ghana for that matter are more of "financialists" in nature. They exist as animals with extreme financial instinct than was traditionally associated with those academically inclined. Their dependency on money as a denominator of arriving at the solution to everything is stronger than whatever they learnt in the university. Indeed an average person in the Ghana Ministry of Science and Technology sees a mere "rabbit" by the amount of money the animal can be exchange for in the market than than an experimental spacemen whose rightful place is the laboratory for scientific purpose. I will be the least shock in learning that the ministry of Agriculture in Ghana has no even a single plot of land with one sheep being kept for research purpose. In short, the ministries in Ghana are mere centres for money making and money sharing as financial centres does than government institutions are traditionally known for.
It is a normal thing these days to have our brothers with educational excellence excelling themselves in
running to our colonial masters for money and guidance when confronted with challenges. But, why should this
be the case?
I believe African people become to understand type the education system they got. Ali Kofi's article is illustrated why African intellectuals can't develop pratical things but they are good in theori because it's colonial education system planted in African minds and culture.
Today in Africa for you to be considered an intellectual you must dress, speak even behave like our former colonial masters. If you black and studied in Western countries you're better than African back home. Our former masters still controling us but mentally may be not phisically.
Africa still unable to create its own engineers and scientist who are able to create pratical materials to help African because of colonial education system that Africa are under at moment. African intellectuals are to blame just like African politicien. They're like free slaves!
Thank you, Ali Kofi for your article that it illustrated that we need to change our education system in Africa if we want to progress. If not we'll stay in same position that all Black people and African are at moment that it was created by white people 400 years ago.Feel inferior toward white
Dear, Ali, I Partially agree with your analysis.In most African countries the professionals like prof. and Drs are kept away from administration activities since gun holders always come to the power. The political power is widely held by rebel militants in African countries.
I continue. There are no well developed facilities in African universities to solve the specific problem of their societies. This obligate them to work and live in West and USA.Thus, the major problem to African society is that the political administration is held by illiterate rebel forces.
because of the corruption within our African Governments. mainly they better they own family sending they childrens to the Universities within the country or outside the country, even if those children haven't gain good grade and liveout the kids with better grade who really want futher their educat
people who want to further their education they don't get a chance. that is the reason why we don't have our very own engineers, doctors, scientist, lawyers etc. African government need to work togther to developed the african continent. i know their are people outhere with skills to do something.
I know young people from Africa are frustrated by seeing others developed nations comparing to our nations.We Africans we are not poor but our leaders minds are poor.Most of the leaders we had on 60s right after independence are 1000 times better than what we have now, elected or non no difference!
Please give us more room so we can share our thought, the characters you are offering us are very short. We are on 21 century with abundant of tech bandwidth why your site is too limited like this
other thing is thats africa adopt all the methods of overseas countries and forgot thats they dont have the resouces to implement it to the learners.....we must do what is in our power to do, not to copy
often times we have people write to critices others but when given the same chance they fall below expectation. Kofi I share ur pains but it is vital to look beyond the individual ruler to our general contribution. How well are we doing on that . That is a crucial issue
Colonial education never made Africans to think for themselves and their people besides serving foreign interests, a fool only lets his/her enermy educate their children. It is the case of Africa ever since, many Africans have read thousands of Academic pages, all that is to memorize, many Africans cannot write their own history, it's written for them by their previous colonial powers.
Kofi, I agree with you. We have a lot of Unis in Gh, yet virtually nothing practical comes out of them. KNUST has thousands of students who use the toilet and generate tons of biodegradable waste every day, yet they cant create a biogas digester to give them power and fertilizer, and they sleep in the dark when lights are out. And we call this a University of Science and Technology. What tech?