The Ghana I dreamt of

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Ghana turned 56 on 6th March this year, I reflected on my life a citizen of the nation and asked myself whether there had been improvements in my life as a citizen or not.

A part of the nation was in cerebration mood, frankly, I wasn’t in that section. I didn’t think there was much to celebrate.If you are expecting me to throw in only the positives and hide the negatives, then the period after this sentence should be your last.

You can get more glorifying posts elsewhere, definitely not in this one. Almost a decade ago I was in Senior High School, in our books the school I attended was supposed to be one of the best academically not only in the country, but also in the West African Sub-region.

Despite the many laurels Presec had raked in in Sports and Academics, the school had only one computer lab furnished with not more than 45 computers to be shared by a student population of more than 1,500. Even with this, I was made to understand we were amongst the few privileged schools.

Some didn’t even have a monitor or a mouse to use for their Computer classes. Yes, we were required to write the same Examinations and expected to get the same grades to qualify for the tertiary level. Then I thought Ghana would improve its educational structures and delivery with time. I thought in 10 years time, High Schools would no longer share Science Resource Centers and Senior High School students will have access to laptops to help with the adoption of ICT in the country. My dream is yet to materialize.

There still are some Junior High Schools which study under trees, and the year my calendar reads 2013!

A nation which expects its citizens to be as competitive as those in any other developed nations needs to put Education at the top of its list of priorities. We haven’t given Education as much attention as it deserves, although it is the sector reported as the one which absorbs the biggest chunk of the national budget. A decade ago, I did not think the Blood Bank at Korle-Bu would run out of blood, neither did I think there would be any administrative challenges in Ghana’s biggest Hospital.

I saw a hospital which was coming up with innovative ways of solving it own problems. Today I am told the Hospitals’s board is faced with several challenges. I was excited years ago, when I heard of the National Health Insurance Scheme, my teenage mind projected a nation which would have more than 60% of its citizenry covered under this helpful scheme.

Unfortunately, 10 years down the line, as a nation we have failed to spread the Health Net to cover our mothers, sisters, children, brothers and fathers. More than 6 out of 10 Ghanaians are not covered under the scheme, and if the reports I hear are true, the scheme needs some magic to survive the next decade.

In 1995, the nation was hit by what may turn out to be Ghana’s biggest Electricity challenge. At that point, load-shedding was introduced as a short term measure to contain the situation until we found a long-lasting solution to our power problems. Load shedding is a scheme which ensures some parts of a Community enjoys light/power whiles another part is in total darkness.

Depending on which part of the country you were in, the trend in reversed after some days to ensure the part which enjoyed power earlier, goes into darkness whiles the previous unfortunate group qualify for light. At that point, I trusted my leaders to come up with a long lasting solution to the power crisis. I was dead wrong, in 2013, Ghana still goes through load-shedding!

A seemingly long-lasting solution has been proposed, so I guess, it’s fair for me to think we won’t be experiencing load-shedding in 10 years….something tells me I might regret this wish in 10 years! Ghana has been blessed with Peace, democracy and Independence. We still make a big deal out of this. Some years ago, I thought as a nation we would build on these gifts and develop our economy. Peace and democracy in my eyes are useless unless the nation can use this environment to push its agenda.

The question is how do we stop trumpeting Hospitable, Peaceful, Democratic and start branding ourselves as Entrepreneurial, Hard-Working and Problem-solvers? These are the nouns that will see us move from the lower-income status we gladly boast of to a proper Middle Income status.

My post could go on and on about the Ghana I hoped for, and the Ghana I live in now. I must frankly admit, I was very hopeful as a young lad, and thought Ghana would have solved many of its problems by now. Unfortunately I was wrong. I pray I will not be writing a similar post in the next decade. We need to change and move steps ahead.

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