Sunday, 24 November 2013

Young in Politics

This week Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama said that Ghana needs thinking graduates. According to him "we are challenged to produce the calibre of graduates who are critical thinkers to confront challenges". Tech-focused students are an advantage. What isn't clear though is whether the mark of a thinking person is that they are a graduate or whether "thinking" is the critical criteria to differentiate between graduates that Ghana is producing. I didn't want to touch on this because if you look through my tweets you will know just what I think of Victoria Hammah, but she is an example of the President using the former understanding of "thinking graduate" when searching for talent for his government. He and the Vetting Committee clearly thought she is a graduate and therefore she must be thinking rather than investigate whether this graduate actually engages in some substantial state-building thinking.

It's time for the thinking graduates (those graduates who truly do think critically, out of the box and against the grain), the radical and progressive graduates to stand up in the void left by Victoria Hammah. The problem is that the analysis of the whole Hammah saga seemed to conclude (note: it was a lot of old people doing the evaluation) that her youth explains her lack of composure in high pressure embarrassing moments (pre and post-election) and that her youth explains her mistakes whether we're willing to overlook them or not. That's not fair to the hundreds and thousands of other graduates in and outside of this country, who are young but mature in their thought; who can and want to help Ghana; and who are not given the opportunity because they didn't get involved in party politics on campus. Ghana doesn't just need thinking graduates, it needs thinking young people, teenagers and twenty-somethings (and thirty-somethings ;-] ) who are willing to take the country's future into their hands. It needs thinking young people who will put Ghana first and be willing to get their hands dirty even if that is literally cleaning out the gutter like The Be Bold Show did about a year or so ago.

Ghana's education system, as pointed out by JDM has been responsive to the challenges of the times. I might argue that Ghana is always trying to respond to something, we never pre-empt anything and that is the problem with our development. For instance, the quality of our tertiary education is important in our development but it's also quite irrelevant if after primary education the only people able to afford to continue with good education are those who could also afford to be educated elsewhere. Yes (if I'm being too subtle, I will point it out) I supported the Free SHS campaign. I've heard whispers of Ghana's youth being able to re-create the North African Spring. I'm not saying that we need to topple government, our democracy is still evolving, but young people, constituting over 50% of this country's (and this contnent's) population need not to just be critical thinking about our politics, they are to be thinking they are critical to our politics.

1 comment:

  1. ranted about this "critical thinking" call from the perspective of our "rising middle class" sometime before the president made these comments.They are there but the thinking one,hmm check out my post on blogger n myjoyonline here