I am impressed by sentiments and discussions that the Citi TV video of me speaking at a forum at the University of Ghana has stimulated.
For many years the University’s alumni has been almost next to non-existent. Many of them have shown greater attachment to their secondary schools than to the University. I am no exception.
These discussions generated by the video appear to have compelled many of our alumni to raise their hands and be counted. I have been reached by many who appreciate my candor and honesty in that video, expressing a hope that it might help change the University for the better. I have also been contacted by some who agree with my sentiments in that video but wish the style had been different. And surely there have been others who have lost the message, angered by the messenger.
Many perspectives have been shared with some clearly misinformed. I will in due course share my position and hopefully clarify a few issues.
The energy generated among the alumni and Ghanaians, in general, is constructive, and I hope the University will commission the Business School (UGBS) to develop and implement a strategy to connect and re-energise the alumni for the development of the school. It is key that as a school, we optimize every opportunity to translate theory to practice on campus.
But before then, I wish to remind all that, there once was a prestigious school called Kinbu. It schooled children of the elite in society like President Nana Addo. I doubt if many today will seek to educate their kids with Kinbu as a first choice. The fact that Kinbu provided Ghana a president and lawyer many years ago does not make it a fine school today. With all due respect to its alumni and students, Kinbu is a low-tier school today. My secondary school, Temasco was not a top-tier school when I was there and it cannot be regarded as a top tier school today. Simply put, the fact that you may have produced great persons in times past, does not imply that you continue to do so in the majority or are positioned to do so going forward.
Tagging the University of Ghana as the nation’s premier university will mean nothing if its products continue to be less attractive on the job market. As I see it, the University of Ghana risks becoming irrelevant to the industry. The researches (mostly less visible to the general Ghanaian public) which confirm the University’s eminence in Ghana, means nothing if such eminence is not translated into the general quality of the graduates the University produces and the connection with society or industry. Please let’s not take the few excellent students in or from the University as representative of the norm. Be reminded that the presence of tiny bright spots in a dark room does not necessarily light up the room. As an HR Director of one of the biggest institutions told me this morning, the University can take pride in its output only when the majority of its students excel. The pointing to few bright spots is mediocre.
There is a reason why the Ghanaian elite today (politicians, clergy, senior public and corporate officials) and the middle class (including some staff of the University) prefer to send their kids and relatives to Ashesi or to universities abroad. They bend their backs to save for an Ashesi education for their kids.
I believe it behooves on all bearers of the UG certificate to be brutally truthful and advocate for all the reforms required to ensure that sustained impact is made in the lives of our young Ghanaians and that the value of our certificates does not depreciate.
To the younger generations, the future is yours but your ability to find it fruitful is significantly dependent on the decisions many of us (public and private leaders) take about your education and strategic positioning. You have a role to play as individuals but do well to relentlessly and fearlessly demand that we play our role well enough not to fail and disappoint you.