An Education Observation

(Mohammed Joseph discusses education issues of Gamao with the dean)

The common justification for low academic achievement levels in the United States is a lack of resources. I never agreed with this notion. That is not to say that the lack of resources is not an issue, because it is, but the major problem I see is the lack of educational value. In Ghana, it is completely the opposite.

 (The only computer in all of Gamao, a community of over 2,000 people)

During my trip to the motherland I had the opportunity to visit several schools throughout Ghana. The school that stood out to me the most was the one I visited in the Gomao Village. Children were packed into small classrooms, 60-70 at a time, with no electricity or running water.

Any light the students received came from the sun. Three to five textbooks shared amongst an entire class of over 30 students. The school’s recreational facilities were usually trivial or nonexistent. There were no bathroom facilities in the entire village, let alone the schools.

(Outdated textbooks for about 70 students in a Gamao classroom)

Most parents lack the finances to send their children to better, private institutions. They must make do with the limited resources in their community.

What is even more shocking than the actual institutions, were the opportunities that existed after graduation. After speaking with the Queenmother, who leads the community alongside the chief, she explained that the Gomao community had an unemployment rate of 100%. Not one individual in the entire village had any form of employment. Any type of agricultural surplus is used to trade for other agricultural products. The lack of resources and opportunities is truly apparent in Ghanaian society.

(MPAGErs address a group of students at Cape Coast International School)

On day 25 , August 5, 2012, we visited Cape Coast International. The visit was extremely eye-opening. We discussed Black American stereotypes of Africans and vice-versa. One student raised her hand and very warily asked, “Is it true all the blacks shoot and love drugs?”

(Cape Coast International student takes notes on MPAGE’s discussion)

The same issues existed at the Cape Coast International School as the Gamao schools. I was extremely humbled and amazed at some of my observations and conversations that I experienced while in Ghana. There is plenty of work to do and I’m elated that MPAGE and her alums remain active in the struggle against poverty and its effects on the human race.

Written by Mohammed Joseph

Atlanta Georgia, August 9, 2012

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2 thoughts on “An Education Observation

  1. “Is it true all the blacks shoot and love drugs?” — That is the single most frequently asked question from Ghanaians that I get when in Ghana. Unless I am wearing religio-cultural attire that only Muslims wear (which causes people to classify me as a “White” by which they mean an Arab),

    While Europeans first created the “Blacks are violent” stereotype (and ironically based it on Africans, not just Africans in American), Blackamericans are now the flagbearers of this image. That segment of the hip-hop community which has fully embraced thug-life (following the lead of certain Black Power figures, and the Detroit Reds from generations before) promotes it uncritically in music videos and films. The White-run mass media still does its part (especially news outlets), but with the degrees of autonomy we have, one is saddened at the choices so many of our people make.

    Those of us who recognize the problems with our current situation have yet to devise a successful strategy for countering this. Many of us know the catch-22 of promoting another one-dimensional image of Black folks as “good negroes.” So, we are sometimes frozen with paralysis. More important, we lack either the time, knowledge, or resources to successfully mount a counter-image campaign in films and TV that will be watched by other populations and our own children.

    Ideas and workers are welcome.

  2. I love it brother. I totally agree with you aout education, we have to take interest in it and take it into our own hands for us to progress.

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