By Hannah Dadzie
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the driving force behind Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule is revered for his contribution to Ghana’s development. Many have touted his achievements as unrivalled. As Ghana celebrates him today on the occasion of his birthday anniversary, GBC News looks at his contribution to the development of the country, with a spotlight on his educational policies and how beneficial these policies have been to Ghana. The day is being observed as a statutory public holiday.
Dr. Nkrumah made tremendous contributions to the development of education in Ghana. He was instrumental in securing funds for building educational infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
Osagyefo wanted to bridge the educational gap between Southern and Northern Ghana, so in 1967, he initiated an Act of Parliament that brought about Free and Compulsory Basic Education. His aim was to achieve Free Universal Primary Education for all. Being an Academic, Dr. Nkrumah set up the Ghana Education Trust, under which a number of Secondary Schools, Teacher Training Colleges and higher educational institutions were established. Some of these secondary schools are Mfantsiman, Ofori Panyin, Techiman, Winneba, Swedru, Apam, Dormaa, Tema, Oda, and the Labone secondary schools. During his tenure, about 16Teacher Training Colleges were built. These included the Atebubu, Berekum, Fosu, and Enchi Training College, and these were complemented by the Teacher Training Colleges built by religious bodies. He set up the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 1952 and the Kwadaso College of Education to produce middle level manpower for the agriculture sector, and the School of Languages, at Ajumako, among others. His legacy in the area of education is unmatched, as the educational institutions he set up in the country have become the building blocks of Ghana’s foundation. It was not until sometime in 2008 that the Education Act of 1961 (Act 87), under the tenure of Dr. Nkrumah, was reviewed and replaced with the current education act. We find out from an Educationist, Aheto Tsegah Nkrumah’s legacy on education.
“Kwame Nkrumah’s policies built on the foundations of education as was delivered during the Colonial times, but allowed the education system to now begin to focus on Ghana and look at how we can channel our content to ensure that beneficial of our educational system would contribute to the development of Ghana,” Mr. Tsegah stated.
Dr. Nkrumah was intentional with his policy on education, as he attached great importance to the delivery and access to education in the country. But how has the country fared since the overthrow of Nkrumah on the educational front. Mr. Tsegah said Ghana has still a long way to go in bridging the yawning gap in education. He said policies on education must be tailor-made to address the challenges in society.
The General Secretary of the NPP, Nana Yaa Jantuah called for a review of the country’s educational policy
“Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah believed in Education, what we are not doing right today is that the policy of the Free SHS is a good one started by Dr. Nkrumah and but we need to take our time to look at it carefully, we need to also look at the grading system”, Madam Jantuah said.
Nana Yaa Jantuah described Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as a visionary and bemoaned the bad state of infrastructure, especially factories built by him.
“Kwame Nkrumah was a visionary, a forward looking person who love Ghana, did a lot of developmental projects, industrialized Ghana, did a lot of infrastructure, the sad thing is that most of the factories have been sold, the tomatoes factory, shoe factory, and today we are where we are”, she noted.
“Nkrumah never dies” goes the saying. I asked some Ghanaians what they know about Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s legacy.
“He has left many legacies behind, even though he had his own lapses as a human being, but I think so far one of our great leaders”, according to one Ghanaian.
“I have read so many things about him, but one of things that caught my attention was his desire to develop the infrastructure base of the country’’, in one person’s view.
“I know he helped us attain independence’’, one person said.
Indeed, Kwame Nkrumah, a man of many parts, contributed greatly to the development of education in the country. Right from the Secondary Schools to the Universities, it was evident Dr. Nkrumah had a great vision for the country. His vision on education was to provide a platform, through the establishment of educational institutions, to produce the manpower, or the human resource base needed for the development of the country. As we observe Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, stakeholders in education are being urged to be dedicated to the course of education in the country, so that policies implemented in the sector would help address the myriad of challenges confronting Education while helping to develop the country.