Former director of the institute of environment and sanitation studies, Professor Chris Gordon, delivers a message not for the faint of heart at the 2020 edition of the Professor Alexander Adum Kwapong Lecture Series. The audience, comprising of government officials, the diplomatic core, members of academia and the media, listened to Professor Gordon’s thoughts on the current state of tertiary education in Africa during a lecture on “Innovation, Transition and Disruption in Natural Resource Management: The Role of the African University,”
Before the lecture began the Nami bian High Commissioner and the Chairperson for the event, His Excellency Charles B. Josob, remarked the power that education has in decision making. He explained that “Education is the greatest equalizer, but is also the greatest tool in development”. The Namibian High Commissioner also made mention of the fact that “those in power don’t have ideas, and those who have ideas, don’t have power.”
Professor Chris Gordon began his lecture examining perceptions of Ghana’s development. Noting that although people assume Ghana has come a long way with completing a new terminal for Kotoka International Airport, we still have a long way to go in terms building an image that deters tourists from writing dissertations and taking pictures of open defecation. He also discussed the lack of prominence of wisdom from African Scientists, stating that “we are not at the table, and sometimes when we are, we are mere observers”. For this, he laid blame on a culture that fosters “The 5 IMs” – impunity, immaturity, immorality, impunity and immunity. Professor Chris Gordon also took note of a culture that is reluctant to change, lamenting the tragedy of this, saying “I’ve seen brilliant young minds stopped in their tracks because their parents want them to become a lawyer”.
In terms of solutions, Professor Chris Gordon noted that the African university had to gear its curricula towards preparing its pupils for industry and arming the pupils with the skills they want in a way that suits them best. He also advised that African tertiary education should “create a succession path so students will not be threatened by raising their own viewpoints and ideas”.
Towards the end of the program, Senyo Hosi of Bulk Oil enterprises gave the students in the audience a piece of advice: don’t wait to fail, “we need to unleash you, but if education can’t unleash you, unleash yourself,” he added. Senyo Hosi also echoed the sentiments of Professor Chris Gordon, stating that “We need to invest in the future of the youth viable”.
Reported by Aseye Banini