RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES NOW!
Leading the resounding ‘Africa must develop’ imperative is one word: industrialisation. It is by no means a new phenomenon—industrialisation, for Britain, for instance, began to industrialise in the 1700s; America, after the Civil War; by mid-19th century, industrialisation had found its feet rooted throughout Western Europe and North-Eastern America. Africa, by implication Ghana, is undoubtedly late to a movement whose incontrovertible work of securing economic growth and development of nations needs no reiteration.
Ghana must develop; industrialisation is the first and right step towards achieving this. In this Proposal, we are going to desist from echoing the strategic plans as proposed by scholars; we do not intend this a mere exposition, for Ghana does have a wealth of information, suggested policies and procedures at its disposal. What we have little of, is the effecting of these tactics. We offer one key player as a tool to realise this Ghanaian aspiration of an industrialised nation: the youth.
There is nothing ground-breaking about proposing the youth when the question of the road to take in the development process is put. There is nothing trailblazing about finding a correlation between higher learning and industrialisation, for research exists detailing an undisputed success rate whenever a country realises that it can put to direct use, its human resource—products of tertiary institutions to spur an industrialisation movement. Countries like the United States of America, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India, etc having put themselves to the test, and coming out prosperous, serve as examples for us: The Higher Learning and Industrialisation Nexus guarantees success. So how do we achieve such similar feat—and why the imperativeness?
Why the urgency? The need to eliminate the perpetual dependency on the export of raw materials; to promote sustainable industrialisation; to increase the standard of living of citizenry has always been keen. Why even more so keen now? Urbanization. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Economic Report on Africa, 2017 noted: “Africa is the epicentre of global urbanisation.” It observed that Africa was undergoing such swift urbanisation that by the year 2035, the continent’s urban population would have risen to 49 percent of the entire population (from a 31 percent projection as at 1990). In the case of Ghana, such a projection rings true and might even fall short of capturing the full rate of this rise in urbanisation the country is experiencing. The free senior high school education policy is going to be one such vehicle to propel the urbanisation process. And that is a good thing. The Report pointed out that global experience shows that urbanisation and growth are in fact, quite the bedfellow; and that should such an opportunity be fully utilised, productivity and sustained growth, poverty reduction and social development, are likely to be the end product. Hence, the young boy/girl in the small village in Ghana, who has finally been given an opportunity at senior high school, and the many others of his/her kind, who will be moving to the urban areas to receive such education must not end up being a liability to the country. Urbanisation must not hurt a country; rather, it has attached to it, an indispensable rise in consumption, change in pattern of consumption, demand for manufactured and processed goods, all of which has to it a blessing: a huge opportunity for industrialisation, the report suggested.
The Industrialised Age, the Information Age, both of which we have not yet fully realised, have a common founding block: Science and Mathematics. Experience shows us that for a country to develop, it ought to take these two subjects very seriously. For it is these two which in turn birth industrialisation, advancement of technology, and the likes of them. Sadly, the reality of this is lost on many Ghanaians, even student who are pursuing these subjects. Like many countries before us have done, it falls on us to point at these subjects; to harness the deserved attention for them. What better way to do this than to make it a competitive sport?
THE NATIONAL TERTIARY QUIZ (TNTQ): STEM seeks to effectively combine education with fun (a very crucial pair), leading to a science-and-math-dense-culture, which will in the long run—the short run, even, instil a love for these two subjects. There is no nation formed with a natural aptitude for something if not equally instilled therewith. Countries upon countries serve as a case study proving this fact. The narrative ought to change. Africa, Ghana has had enough of the TO-DO list. It is about time we actually DID. The youth has a part to play.