Education and the role of policy-makers

Education expert Rebecca Holmes once noted that many times, education fails to live to the true belief of policy makers. However, not because they are not working, but because they are not fully conformed tothe manner in which the curriculum is constructed and implemented – just like Kwame Nkrumah’s philosophy – ‘an ideal Africa with the sound base of economic development and a well-informed society will be made by not a strong military state, rather, a strong education system guided by anarticulate and elaborate curriculum’.
 
America is regarded the forerunner in most, if not all, aspects of life. They built an education system used as a road map for their country’s development. Asians, especially Chinese, are at the moment doing the same and they are apparently the ‘flagpole of development’. We are aware of how they attained such a desirable rank beginning from China’s education reforms and teacher empowerment, to bettering the future of the Chinese child.
 
The results from these reforms are colossal as every year, close to seven million Chinese students graduate from universities across the country. It is interesting that a big percentage is able to create jobs, not because they have a lot of capital, but because they have accumulated diversity of information.
 
China is not that far from Nkrumah’s philosophy. 
 
Development economists, political scientists, policy analysts, and historians and many other distinguished academicians have all come up to digest that it took the four Asian Tigers (the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) a generation to achieve what it took the West close to 300 years to accomplish.
 
This is also clear in Nkrumah’s autobiography which reveals his objectives to transform Ghana and Africa in just a single generation. All this, according to Nkrumah, is possible if we build strong education institutions, have a clear curriculum with content that directly answers the problems that society faces or is more likely to face, build strong research institutions to facilitate the development of more knowledge  and steer our countries to economic triumph. 
 
It is seen that the response to our development dilemma is science and technology, investment in research, technological change and innovation, strong education institutions, a radical educational system.
 
Those in the field of education must therefore provide distinct views on education as a whole; understand education from the grassroots, get a strong curriculum and the appropriate academic content, as it means we will be able to fully understand our society and the global education philosophy, and provide the fitting education requirements. 
 
It is necessary for those employed in the field of education to defy uncertainty. Construction of the curriculum, teaching practices, research guidelines, and policy directives in our schools must be in line with global standards if we are to make meaning of our education. 
 
In a time when we wonder what represents credible knowledge and quality education, there is need for new story lines to explain the truths of education.  
 
Quality education is a result of uncompromised commitment, whether by parents, teachers, or the community struggling to keep education significant to the receiver and the country.
 
The writer is a PhD student of Comparative Education and leadership at Beijing Normal University 
 
 

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