The Question- The System

An organisation I am a part of(NSBE-National Society of Black Engineers) organised an event where we went to secondary schools to talk to science students about science and engineering courses they could pursue in the university. After the talk, it was question time then they asked” If we have scientists and engineers coming from the university every year, why does government and other companies employ foreigners to undertake projects, because we should be qualified enough to do most of the work ourselves. Some also said they know Chinese children build gadgets. We said we have Civil engineers but its mostly white men who build our roads. Why?”

Their questions got me thinking, but I gave them the most obvious answers; Ghana doesn’t have the resources like machines and equipment to undertake such projects.We still buy the equipment from the foreigners. So its cheaper like that and when they come, they employ us. It was a lame answer but I got away with it, but the question troubled me because I was about to graduate(finally) and I for once looked at life after school, and got scared.

I’m not scared because we will not get jobs, my fear is this, I’ve seen very intelligent students with brilliant ideas that would change the nation, but what will happen to them after school? They will get sucked in by the SYSTEM. The system that doesn’t allow graduates to think, they just do. Some will travel outside to seek higher education, some will just join these inefficient Ghana something something companies, get brainwashed and made to believe their quota is to get used to the system and live in it. After, they will buy a house, a car, get married, give birth and wait for retirement. That’s the end of the education.

I will limit myself to sciences and engineering. Most of these engineering firms and telcos import their software and are taught how the system works, by a year, they would be experts in the system then all innovation is killed. Scientists? lol the most prominent one I know in Ghana is Prof Allotey. What happened to the others? Some became tellers, businessmen etc. What about starting something? Entrepreneurship? Go to linked in and check, you will see Entrepreneurs who are working for people. Honestly, I think the term Entrepreneurship has been abused in Ghana, that is another article.

Maybe the reason why we employ foreigners is because we aren’t well taught, we are mostly taught to use and maintain what the foreigners have built. Innovation and brainstorming is not encouraged, after all, do you know more than your lecturer? What about the government buying the equipment so the locals here can use? Do we always have to import everything, even mental work?

Well, we can change this. We must. The SYSTEM isn’t good enough and we must not allow the younger generation to suffer what we suffer, that would be wickedness. We can build a better Ghana by restructuring our educational system.

My graduation speech is very simple: I thank God, I thank my parents, and thanks to all the passco!! Hasta La Vista, so long and thanks for all the fish. May the Force be with us all…

Brain drain or Greener pastures?

In school, we were told we needed education to be successful in the real world. We were told all we needed to do was to study hard, make the right grades and companies would rush to employ us. Companies came to advertise themselves and encouraged us to apply for work with them. We were told many things. We incubated these hopes and dreams and waited to graduate so we could birth them. Four years of university education in Ghana and a bachelor’s degree later, Where are all the goodies we were promised? Then the harsh reality hit me, I am now in the real world…
In the real world (The place you go after school), jobs are not lying in the street. You would find graduates sharply dressed in their coats and ties, holding huge files filled with CVs, degrees and academic nonsense, hopping from one job interview to another. You may be very lucky and get employed by someone you know. Let’s say your parents own a company, or your parents know someone who owns a company. All this person needs is a paper to show he went to a university and has graduated, the class doesn’t matter. Whether they deserve the work or not, whether they deserve the pay or not, they already have a door with their name on it in the office. Not so for everyone, some parents don’t know anyone and they don’t have an official SSNIT pension scheme. Their “pension scheme” is the money they invested in educating their children, what do these children do after school when unemployed?

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borrowed from ghanaweb.com

You could decide to seek “greener pastures” on either the American or European soil. But in school, we were advised against this option. We were told we would cause our motherland Ghana to suffer from some strange disease known as “brain drain”. Brain Drain is the depletion or loss of intellectual and technical personnel. In the real world, starting a business is not child’s play. Why not use the intended capital to purchase a visa and plane ticket to the greener pasture? After all, washing plates, cleaning restrooms or brushing horses’ teeth and getting paid per hour in the foreign currency is better than walking around in the sun for jobs that are like mirages. Even if you are lucky to get the job, your pay would be terrible as compared to someone who had lower grades but got employed by someone he knows.
You might disagree with me, you might be saying the youth have to be patriotic and use the education acquired to serve the country, fine. The question now is serve the country where? In my parent’s living room?  Or under the scorching African sun? Why won’t we run away and drain the country? After paying all that school fees? Unless of course you want me to stay and start a business in the social vices which is risky.
The heart breaking part is the kind of education we receive. It is locally known as “chew and pour”, the lecturer gives you notes, you cram them (if you are very good, the day before exams) then you answer definition type of questions, “what is this, what is that?” I am not against knowing what this or that is, but after we know what they are, won’t it make more sense to ask “How do you use x to solve problem y?”At least that would show the student understands and can apply what they have studied. After, when you go to look for work, they tell you that even though you know, you cannot apply in the real world so they need some years of work experience. Where am I going to get work experience when you don’t want to hire me?
What is even annoying is, while we were in school acquiring this education for 4 years, someone started a business and is now successful and I am now about to start that journey.
At the end of the day, when you are unemployed sitting on your veranda in your house, brain drain is occurring because you are still not applying what you learnt in school. At least when the graduate travels, even though there is brain drain, he would still come back and maybe set up a business or spend some money in our brown pastures country.

Pre Easter frustrations- temporary policemen?

Ok so this is not how I thought my first post would turn out to be, I expected more pomp and pagentry but it has swerved me.
Let me get on with business,what happened? It all started with ECG(electricity company,Ghana) the official body in charge of providing electrical power. First there was a nationwide black out followed by very high current which of course blew my laptop adapter.  I had to break my piggy bank to repair it and that went into my easter celebration savings. That aside, I went to the repairer hoping and praying for instant repairs and I was assured. “Take a seat,I will be done soon.” I checked my time,it was 4:30.
Then it happened,we heard a scream outside. At first I thought it was a dog being hit by a car so I ignored it, then it came again. It sounded more human this time around so I went out. A guy was brought down to hit the hard earth wrestling style. What was going on?

The helpless guy was actually a suspected armed robber who attacked students and took their laptops at gunpoint. Apparently the guy doing the beating had recognised him after he robbed him in February and he wasn’t ready to hear him out,all he wanted was his laptop. The guys in the area upon hearing this joined in the beating.Beating and slapping and hitting him with all kinds of objects,all kinds. Sticks,stones etc. He was beaten till blood was oozing out of his mouth like a fountain..

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You might be asking yourself so what? Its normal, a thief has been caught. But my issue here is the instant justice being metted out. What shows he is a thief? Who pronounced him guilty?But yes you have a point, the trauma experienced after being robbed is too much, expecially at gun point. And funnily enough, all those who took part in the action had been robbed before.It might not have been by him, but once he has been declared a thief, people have to vent their spleen. As a thief,you will be unlucky if that is actually your first time because you will be punished for the sins of your fellow brothers in the trade.

In the best case senario,you could either run to the nearest police station or pray someone calls the policeman. In the worst case scenario, you would get a generous person willing to buy petrol and another bringing car tires. Then after the beating,you would be dragged to an open area with the tyres put around you,petrol poured on you,voila! We have a human bonfire.

But again I ask,is this action right? What if the person is innocent?What about a case of mistaken identity?  Even if he is guilty, we have working laws right? Right? Someone said “When we send him to the police,they won’t do anything so lets beat him first.” and that might actually be true.
A human being beaten like a dog,no one deserves that. But no one also deserves to be robbed at gun point or  injured for property he toiled to acquire.
So readers I will leave this question for you to answer, Is mob justice fair?
Anyway my repairer went to take part in the action and forgot I had a time limit. He came back around 5:50 and said “Come back tomorrow for it.” and I said “In your dreams sir. Give me my adapter so I look for a serious minded repairer.”(all in my mind of course you should see how built he was). I actually said “I want to take it away,I’ll bring it tomorrow.” Then left never to come back. I have to thank ECG for this experience even though my tv and bulb blew too.So here I am writing in the dark..

Me, anonymous