toffick obeng

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What is the purpose of going to school?

Is it to expose us and give us in-depth understanding of the things around us in order to make good use of them for the sake of the land in which live? OR
Is it, to see that knowledge and expose gain from education as a weapon against the land that thought it wise to set and finance such academic institution for the benefits of its citizenry ? OR
To come out and take advantage on our innocent brothers and sisters whom through no fault of their has paid taxes and continue do same for the sustenance of our academic institutions ? OR
To be among the elite group, and join the few foreigners to lute our our resource?

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    Oct 19 2013: Toffick, I just read through the replies and your responses ... I may be wrong but no one has hit the nail on the head for your question yet.

    You state that the educational system only teaches us to be slaves ... You are upset about something and are seeking a specific answer to a general question. Please tell us what you are mad about so that we may respond to that issue more directly.

    I am in the USA and am not knowledgeable of Ghana but will work to find a answer for you.

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      Oct 19 2013: thanx Bob, here in Ghana and most developing countries. our EDUCATION SYSTEM focus on only academic knowledge and not ones interest. again. most of what we learn here in Ghana are theories or books written by developed world which does not fit in our system. therefore most of those who come out from such system can practically do nothing on their own. they can gve you good analysis but in reality those analysis cant work in our environment. the only choice such people have is to work for Employers na din most case travel to work outside Ghana.
      with such system. what is the fate of ghana. and what is our educational system adressing. most government officials and to some extent some president dont even school here. do they really understand our system. high rate of illiteracy is among our problem here and the so called elites even makes it worse.
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        Oct 19 2013: The "Land of the Warrior King" is experiencing growing pains but is doing well economically as the GDP is one of the fastest growing in the world. Having declared Independence only 50 some years ago your country has come a long way and seems to be on a good path for success.

        To address education. Corporations who arrive to mine or farm your resources always bring their own management and technical personnel and much of the labor force. The headquarters will always be in the political centers to court the powers that be. They will invite few "locals" into that circle. Most locals will be in middle or lower management and the majority in the manual labor force.

        The literacy rate would be in the developed areas ... cities and shipping centers. The rest of the country is rural and will be illiterate.

        Historically schools are based on the assumption that the student will be going to college and is designed to prepare him for higher education. In developing countries the solution ... in my opinion would be to have dual purpose .... college prep academies and manual trades centers. Trade schools would open the opportunity to have a solid education and a career enhancing education that would lead to ownership of a business.

        I must also advise that the trades people should never stop learning ... use this as a stepping stone to greater heights. College is now considered a opportunity for the elite ... by working your way up through the trades route you have joined and even surpassed some as a business owner and entrepreneur.

        Your country is going through great changes. Harness your anger and work through the system to achieve your goals and then work to make a difference for others.

        I wish you well. Bob.
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    Oct 19 2013: History tells us that mass education is a relatively new concept and was initiated by the Industrial Revolution, a time when there was a sudden huge need for people that could read, write and do simple math in order to build the factories, run the machines and, especially, maintain the records of commerce. But the only ones that had access to those skills at the time were the aristocracy and the priesthood and they were not inclined to toil at such mundane tasks.

    Consequently mass education was created with the mantra of the three R's, reading, w'riting and a'rithmatic as the principle focus of that education. Now here we are, some 300 or so years later and that 3R's mantra still drives the world's educational institutions and is all about making people employable - namely exploitable by employers - and little else.

    That is to say, mas education today offers very little in the way of understanding the political, economic and social systems that will dominate the students life. But imagine a generation or two whose core educational curriculum involved effective communication skills, the knowledge of the different forms that governance and economics can take along with the pros and cons of each and the hands on opportunity to practice them throughout their education? Of course, such a curriculum would be extremely empowering of the students and might very well be too challenging to those who seek to rule rather than to lead.
    • W T

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      Oct 19 2013: Why wasn't I told any of this while I was studying to be a teacher?
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        Oct 19 2013: Perhaps because teachers are encouraged to focus on critical thinking and reasoning, fostering skills for lifelong learning, building students communication skills orally and in writing, and cultivating the habit of considering questions and problems from different perspectives? Does that sound more like the program through which you got your training and certification?
        • W T

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          Oct 20 2013: Do you agree with what William says?
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        Oct 19 2013: what is it everyone expects a student to do after graduation? Get a job or perhaps a career. This is the principle goal of education everywhere. All the other "stuff" schools provide runs a distant second to "getting a job".

        Granted, many parents and teachers alike seek to bring more personal and empowering learning into our schools. And many work hard at promoting those goals. But at the end of the day - or the schooling - "the job" is what is deemed most important. What do all politicians use to rally the troops? the "jobs" mantra and then they truck out the "skills and trades training" carrot and stick routine.

        You will never see a politician or the core curriculum of a publicly funded school insisting upon developing a better informed, or politically empowered student. Nor a proficient user oft effective communication skills, or problem solving skills, or critical thinking processes. .
        • W T

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          Oct 20 2013: But even politicians study......they just do not one day say "I'm going to be a politician".
          They study political science or major in law and so forth.

          William, what do you suppose the world would look like without schools?
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          Oct 20 2013: I meant critical thinking as a focus in mass schooling.

          It is interesting how different schools are and people's experiences with, or recollections of them.

          One of the things I love about the Fall is seeing the school groups in the park from a variety of local schools having these kinds of experiences and the obvious energy and enthusiasm overall at my son's school. These are mostly secondary schools, but also some younger groups.

          I learned a great deal about different ways of thinking throughout my schooling and, as you did, thereafter in professional life and volunteering as well as in self study. It is, and should be, a life-long enterprise.
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        Oct 20 2013: I don't know enough about schools in other countries to make a sweeping statement. You have written elsewhere that literacy is a great priority. This is true not just for employment but for daily life and civic participation.

        I would need to verify this, but I believe there has been free public education in this country for both boys and girls since the 19th century, even during times when girls were typically expected to be working inside the home rather than as employees heading out to a job. So it cannot have been only about employment-readiness.

        The focus on developing critical thinking is more recent than that, but the requirement of education in civics and government is not recent. There has been concern in recent years of a shift away from the real emphasis until very recently on social studies, particularly in the lower grades. This recent shift concerns many people.

        Here is a relevant article on the need to swing education back more toward social studies:
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          Oct 20 2013: I would suggest that 'teaching' critical thinking was central to the teachings of Aristotle and Plato eons ago and probably is even older than that because it would have also been central to learning how to be effective hunters and gatherers for our early hominids.

          While the Industrial Revolution helped formalize the institution of the "school" as a building where information and knowledge may - or may not - be disseminated, as a student myself I found it a poor vehicle for my own learning processes.

          Some years ago I was amazed to run into 3 mothers and sundry children exploring a Pacific shoreline one day near where I lived. They informed me that they where home schooling their kids and this experience was part of today's lesson plan. For me, the joy and enthusiasm being expressed by the children during this learning process offered a stark contrast to the uniform and constrained environment we find in the 'school' building.

          While I have had the opportunity to obtain university degrees in my life the 'learning' that truly enriched my life was found in the decade or so of volunteerism that I shared with a variety of local agencies where I was able to employ much of the 'ologies' (sociology, psychology, criminology) knowledge I gleaned at the university.

          In other words, students such as myself need individualized hands on experience and practice for the "learning" experience to be meaningful and relevant in our lives. Something those who design our learning institutions are unable or unwilling to provide. Instead we are stuck with the assembly line method - grade 1 a happens, grade 2 b happens, and so on - that works well in the factories 'making things' but is far from adequate for the vast variety of interests and needs of individual human beings.
  • W T

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    Oct 18 2013: It depends from whose point of view you are looking at school/education.

    The "system" might have a purpose.

    The "teacher" might have a second purpose.

    The "student" might have a third purpose.

    The "parents" might have a fourth purpose.

    Whose point of view do you think will prevail in the end Toffick?

    The answer is entirely up to the individual learner.
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      Oct 18 2013: can you help me with the view point of the student and that of the system?
      • W T

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        Oct 18 2013: Most education systems are put in place to remove illiteracy.
        Advance education exists to train individuals in different fields. Once a student graduates, they may then turn around and help their community.
        This is just generally speaking of course.
        I would imagine that regardless of where in the world you live, these two main reasons for education exists.

        As for the view point of the student, I couldn't begin to give a reason.
        It is personal......each student pursues a career for different reasons.

        Is it higher education you are speaking about? College and University?
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          Oct 19 2013: well, will like to go with college. reason being that, as an accounting student in college. i was forced and its compulsory to learn integrated science. if you fail in int. science. you wont graduate. whats the need of specialisation then?
      • W T

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        Oct 20 2013: Sometimes all it takes is ONE voice to change the way things are done.
        You know, your comment reminds me of a TEDmed talk I heard a while back from the US Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin.
        She begins her talk with words that may help you..

        Tell me what you think of it:
  • Oct 18 2013: Hello, Mr Obeng.

    I think in the near future nobody will get resources from your country.
    Because cars will run only water or sunlight. (like this)

    I think the future could be better, so you should not be so disappointed.
    Many people are doing efforts to help Africa, it is true.
    (I will be a little helpful for your country, I promise.)
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      Oct 18 2013: well, but what are africans themselves doing to help their brothers and they themselve.
      • Oct 19 2013: Sorry, I totally misunderstood..
        I hardly know about education in your country.
        But, I think Education needs to help children to indipendent economically and thinking logically by themselves. Then, make young people to think like discutton or write essayies, not pushing teacher's idea too much.
        The porpose might be teaching how learning is important and interesting.
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    Oct 15 2013: What do you hope to gain from your education?
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      Oct 18 2013: thats exactly the issue, the education system does not adress what one wants to gain or societal problem but rather teaches us to be slaves thus employees. kindly ellaborate more on this
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        Oct 18 2013: I do not know anything about the educational system in Ghana. Are you saying the leaders in your country, the employers and the innovators in your country do not go to school or go to school in a different country? If your leaders and innovators did go to school, as I am guessing they did, how do you reconcile this with your position that school teaches students "only to be slaves and employees?"
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          Oct 19 2013: from all indications, Ghana as a country is failure. a country rich in oil, gold, cocoa, timber, bauxite etc. and can do nothing. who do you blame here. the leaders. they are failures.
          and yes most of the leaders schools outside Ghana. corruption is the number one key. so what is our educational system in place for?
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        Oct 19 2013: Now that you write this, I remember reading about a long history of corruption in your country by those who assume positions of leadership. There is another thread about what to do about corruption in the developing world, and there are talks on this, but I don't know that values and codes in this area can be traced to schools.

        If your education has been in Ghana, you are the one who knows what the focus and climate is in the schools you attended. I will look into it as well..
  • Nov 11 2013: The Purpose of education should be to provide you with knowledge that is relevant to achieve success. there are allot of assumptions here: what is relevant. what is success. when have you achieved it. knowing facts will not help you much. I dont know what you learn in school there but i dont think learning africas history will help. i dont think learning americas history will help. I dont think learning about capitalism will help. I think that developing your character is what matters most right now, because you're in a nation that's plagued by despair. Being a leader goes a long way. Providing relevant information goes a long way. Your education should entail being very creative and finding the best ways to add value to your local area. it might not be capital, it might not be motivation. But noone has the answers for Africa. You're culture holds the answer.
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    Oct 20 2013: Here is a quote from a Chilean writer, Paulo Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed::

    “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”