A lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra has lashed out at Ghanaian students, blaming them for the rot in the system.
Fred Awaah said students who tend to be critical of politicians for corruption and mismanagement are “as guilty as or worse” than the people they blame.
“In this same University of Ghana in the year 2011, it was reported that the university authority together with the Bureau of National Investigations arrested 20 students for allegedly hacking into the university’s IT system to change examination grades,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the Accra International Book Festival 2019 last Saturday, the former Secretary-General of the All-African Students Union (AASU) said the development of Ghana cannot be delivered without the collaboration of students.
“Blames of lowering standards of education can’t be dumped at the door steps of the politician – all, and in this instance, students as good Ghanaian, will help avert the menace,” he added.
Read the full speech below:
FRED AWAAH AT THE LAUNCH OF THE
ACCRA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL
SRC CONFERENCE HALLL – UNIVERSITY OF GHANA
10TH AUGUST 2019
Building the Ghanaian Brand; the Role of all Ghanaians
Oman beye yie efiri yenara
Yenboyebira yie, se ebe ye yie efiri yenara
The lyrics of this patriotic Ghanaian song is reflective of the collective efforts every single one of us would have to make to make our country great and strong. The words are apt and pointers to the reasoning that, we have only one Ghana and have no other place apart from this country, thus for Ghana to prosper, it largely depends on us.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I came not to talk about the politician. In a number of instances, developmental efforts are usually attributed to politicians either in failure or success. This is more so in failure when politicians are credited with all of the negatives that are associated with such failures. My responsibility today is to help us make a departure from this. I do believe, you and I also have responsibilities towards making Ghana strong in many instance and our actions also need questioning to make the Ghanaian brand strong.
Ladies and gentlemen, since this event is being held in a university and over 50% of the persons seated here are students, I would want to ask if building a solid Ghanaian brand would be devoid of students? The answer is an obvious no. Students have pivotal roles in making Ghana the paradise we wish it to be. Yet, in recent times, while students are critical about politicians, they are as guilty as or worse than the politicians. In this same University of Ghana in the year 2011, it was reported that the university authority together with the Bureau of National Investigations arrested 20 students for allegedly hacking into the university’s IT system to change examination grades. Of course, we do know that this is detrimental to the development of our higher education system and would end up affecting every fiber of the Ghanaian society if this is left uncurbed. Remember, these were students and not politicians – our development of the Ghanaian brand is a collective responsibility and the students is key in this branding journey. Blames of lowering standards of education can’t be dumped at the door steps of the politician – all, and in this instance, students as good Ghanaian, will help avert the menace.
Ladies and gentlemen, as a lecturer, the discourse will not be complete without touching on the departure from the usual good brand that Ghanaianlecturers were noted for in the past. In branding Ghana and being inclusive in such drive, there is need to question the lecturer fraternity in its roles in recent times. It is not out of place to read or hear in the news, the issues of quid pro quo involving lecturers exchanging marks for sexual favors from female students. This is obviously not the doing of any politician – it’s the lectures own doing which has tendencies of undermining the quality of education in the country. We are as guilty as the politicians and our critique of the politician can only be meaningful, if in conscience, we can say we are doing right, that which is expected of us.
At the initial times of the reign of the current President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Danqauh Akufo-Addo, he pronounced that, he would make Ghana one of the cleanest cities in Africa. This pronouncement has witnessed subsequent budgetary allocations to see this in fruition with the budgetary figure approved for 2019 standing at GHC 246,966,071.00. This, just like other funding sources previously will not make impact of improving our sanitation without the conscious efforts of each of us seated here. To the drain will all of these funds go, when we still throw dirt on the streets, do not clean our surroundings, throw solid waste in gutters, build on water ways etc. These are basic issues you and I are engaged in which are devoid of politics,yet we are quick to critique the politician for not ensuring the city is clean. The Ghanaian brand begins with you.
Ladies and gentlemen, annually, we are told Ghana loses GH¢40 billion to revenue fraud. I have personally have heard on TV and radio, people calling on the President to account for such moneys. Well accountability is fine but that GHC 40 Billon per annum lost to tax fraud may be traced to some of you seated here. A number of Ghanaians would pay GH¢50 to a government outfit without taking a receipt for a GHC 100 fees he is expected to pay for a receipt. This is how this tax frauds starts and cumulates to the large figure reported by the Ghana Revenue Authority. Politicians do not encourage you to evade the toll booth tax by using the same receipt for multiple travels through the toll bridge – it’s you who gets that done and it accumulates to what you call on politicians to resolve. The Ghana brand starts with you and end with you.
Let me conclude that, the general Ghanaian population is larger than the politicalclass. In this regard, if we all decide to be diligent with our work, obey laws, and be patriotic, politicians will have no options but to conform to the real Ghanaian identity that the likes of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah left us with.
(Lecturer, University of Professional Studies, Accra)