All That Glitters Is Not Gold


Life can work its charm on you. When that happens, you feel so good with yourself. Your day is just a breeze and you do not have a care in the world. Even in such a situation, you are prepared for what is thrown at you, because you do not expect the “totally unexpected”. However I must admit, other people have confessed that there comes a moment when you get a nasty slap on the face. A slap which, no matter how hard you attempt to deflect it or take the hit, knocks you right off your feet.

Saying this brings me on to the next bit. This is out of a simple question. How prepared should one be from the moment they awake up from bed till when they lay down to sleep. You think or to say, imagine, that you have seen it all. However there is just that occasion, totally unexpected, that slaps you in the face and completely slams you the  ground. Your reaction? Total disbelief. Your comeback? Several hours after. Your after thought[s]? That is for you to decide. This occurrence would not be from a stranger, but from someone whom you thought you knew. Someone whom you thought you got on well with, not exactly a friend or family member. If that were the case, then I should think you could handle it much better. It has been said that people are funny, meaning – as I would decipher it as — you cannot successfully analysis a person or even think that you know someone that well. Somewhere along the paths that you both travel and happen to link, you will find out about the bad side of this person. Actually bad side is too strong a definition, I would say “the unexpected or the unimaginable”.

Their have been times when I have read about people blatantly being accused of something they haven’t done, and you can see on the other side of the picture the accused strongly denying any knowledge of the charges being shoved his/her way. Of course these are like day to day issues that you have probably come across in real life or from watching a TV show. You do not take much notice of it because, hey its just one of those things and also it has never happened to you, so you say to yourself “who gives a rat arse”.

Things I Would Like To Do When I Move Back To Ghana


Bull Tech

……….Coming Soon

The Bugatti experience – Three Days At The Langham and Beyond


I was fortunate to stay at The Langham Hotel, in London for two nights. Just before stepping out to dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby, myself and a friend had a few few drinks in the hotel bar before finally heading off to the restaurant. Just as we emerged from the hotel, we were confronted with a Bugatti Veyron. For me it was an experience as the only times I have seen one was in magazines or on the TV. Anyway we quickly whipped out our mobile phones and started taking pictures of the car. Obviously we were not the only ones doing this, however, the doorman did not interrupt us as we were staying at the Hotel and he knew us. Other people were shooed off as I assume the doorman was only protecting the possibility of him getting a tip when the owner returned.

So below I have pictures I took with my Blackberry 9800 smartphone.

….and a few more details related to this awesome car:

Manufacturer Bugatti Automobiles and Volkswagen Group (parent company)
Production 2005–present (Last Bugatti Veyron 16.4 sold)
Assembly Molsheim, Alsace, France
Predecessor Bugatti EB110
Class Sports car
Body style Standard: 2-door coupé
Variant: targa top
Layout Longitudinal mid-engine,
permanent all-wheel drive
Engine Standard:
8.0 L (488 cu in) W16 quad-turbocharged 1,001 PS (736 kW; 987 bhp)[1]
Super Sport:
1,200 metric horsepower (883 kW; 1,184 bhp)[1][2]
Transmission 7-speed DSG sequential
Wheelbase 2,710 mm (106.7 in)
Length 4,462 mm (175.7 in)
Width 1,998 mm (78.7 in)
Height 1,159 mm (45.6 in)
Kerb weight 1,888 kg (4,162 lb)
Designer Jozef Kaban[3]

Dana-Thomas House – Illinois, USA.


I have not come across a building like this before. I am not an architect, but one thing I can say for certain is that this building is amazing. The pictures below are of what I took after the tour. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the interior (which is a shame), because they way and manner the inside of the building has been designed is amazing.

For an in-depth information on this tourist attraction, check out Dana-Thonmas on Wikipedia. Anyway, take a look at the pictures and tell me what you think. Enjoy!

Dana-Thomas House

 

Dana-Thomas House

 

Dana-Thomas House

 

Dana-Thomas House

 

Dana-Thomas House

 

Dana-Thomas House

 

Dana-Thomas House

 

 

The Ghanaian Education Dilemma


Whiles digitally cruising this morning, I came across the below which was originally posted on Ghanaweb.com. Have a read.

THE GHANAIAN EDUCATIONAL DILEMMA:
What is wrong with our educational system?

It appears very common to hear everyone, at least concerned stakeholders of Ghana’s education, expressing a total dissatisfaction about the system of education in Ghana. Perhaps the cry is to express concern about the decline in the quality of our education. Of course, the Ghanaian educational system has gone through several and sometimes radical changes or reforms, all with the aim of improving upon its quality. However, can we say with some amount of certainty that the reforms have been successful over the last twenty to fifty years?

I think that the Ghanaian education has neither declined significantly nor improved significantly. It has rather been static, not fluid, and its content cannot be distinguished from classical education during the missionary era between the 18th and 19th centuries. The only difference is that we keep on decorating the same old tomb by spending a lot of resources on modern paints and flowers just to make it look reformed or improved in appearance but not reformed in character, direction and purpose.

Let us reflect on the most critical question that everyone should be asking: What is wrong with the Ghanaian educational system? Being confronted with this question, I will start by discussing what it means to describe an education as a SYSTEM. A system by definition is a combination of related parts into a whole. There is no doubt that the Gestalts will not disagree with such a definition since to them the whole is always greater than the sum of individual parts. Therefore, the emphasis of the Ghanaian education should never be on building individual components or structures but building a comprehensive system.

What are the parts that make up the educational system? There are two major components, of course, with sub components, which make up the educational system. They are: the educational philosophy, and the educational structure.

THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

The main difference between the American educational system, which many people hail so much, and the Ghanaian educational system, which many are discontented with, dwells on the issue of which educational philosophy should be adopted for the training of students to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

There are several educational philosophies which different educational planners adopt for diverse reasons in relation to addressing specific needs of a specific group of people within a specific context. Critically speaking, the Ghanaian educational philosophy can be considered as Essentialism. This philosophy was useful some time ago, but cannot match the challenges of the 21st century.

Essentialism is based on the assumption that students do not know anything so teaching and learning should start from the scratch. And because the minds of learners are inadequate and incapable to analyze complex tasks, they are exposed to basic tasks and gradually progress into complex tasks, an approach called bottom up. Since learners from the scratch are judged to be incapable of independent mindedness, they are mandated to compulsorily obey and accept instructions from the teacher. The teacher, the sage on the stage, appears to know everything and he is never challenged by a student, an act which could even lead to severe consequences. In other words, it is possible to say with authority that as far as essentialist philosophy of education is concerned, learning is just by mere obedience and conformity.

It is however important to acknowledge that our educational philosophy, essentialism, was significant at the time the European missionaries began formal education in the castles of the then Gold Coast. During that time, people did not know “anything”, the concept of reading and writing was completely alien, and the learners at the time could not perform any constructive analysis of the materials that they were taught. This does not mean that the learning materials were beyond their cognitive abilities, nevertheless, the mode of education was new and alien, hence the use of essentialism made sense.

Such an educational philosophy today cannot stand the effervescence of more competitive ones like constructivism and progressivism. In essence, we can no longer assume that children do not know anything; therefore, the use of bottom up approach today is just a mere mockery of our intelligence. In my own opinion, it is our failure to recognize this blunder which has consequently led to crippling of the creativity and critical mindedness of the Ghanaian student. Therefore, if the Ghanaian student lacks critical mindedness, then it is because of the orientation of education they receive.

THE EDUCATIONAL STRUCTURE

The identity of an educational system is defined by two things:
i. The curriculum, and
ii. The duration for completion of the curriculum.

Curriculum refers to subjects or aspects of subjects that are taught in an educational institution. More importantly, the construction of Curricula is never done arbitrarily; to do so is to cast an irredeemable spell on those who ought to benefit from it. Basically, to design educational curricular, one must at least be able to answer the following questions:

Can the needs of the society be addressed by the curricular?
Does the curricular match the cognitive development of those who are going to use it?
Are there available resources (instructors, teaching and learning materials and facilities, motivation, etc.) to run the curricular?

The second component of an educational structure is the duration for completing a curricular. It is worth noting that there is a consistent relationship between time and load of a curricular. This implies that how long we must spend in school depends on the load and demands of the curricular or program to be studied. On this note, the argument of spending three years or four years in Senior High School should neither be based on political reasons nor resource constraint, but the amount of time adequate to systematically educate students (not just school them) to the best of their abilities and cognitive function.

One aggrieved SHS teacher’s contribution to the 3 or 4 year debate was that “teachers can even use one year to finish the entire syllabus, and the extension to four years is a waste of time and will pose financial headache to parents”.
On the contrary, is it the case that the SHS syllabi can be completed within a year or two, and that the extension to four years is irrelevant? Humans are not robots, and we learn systematically, not spontaneously; we learn with time. The current curricular is compressed and packed and we want students to learn almost everything within the shortest possible time?-this is outrageous! What then is the aim of our education? To rush students through compressed syllabi within a short period is to defy the principle of allowing learners to progress at their own pace.

As indicated, there is a positive correlation between the load of curricular and the duration for its completion. By implication, if for any reason we will not buy the idea of extension, then we should consider reduction of the quantum of the curricular. For what profit will it bring if students spend less time in school and learn very little? This is consistent with the words of Alexander Pope, “a little learning is a dangerous thing, drink deep or taste not the Pierian Spring”!

From the illustrations, we can have at least a rough idea about the state of the Ghanaian education- the struggles, the reforms, and what the future holds for Ghanaian students. There are a lot of issues I have not discussed, but just like the Apostle John in the Bible, if all that Christ said and did were to be written down one by one, I guess even the whole world could not contain it. But I am very optimistic that with such a brief illustration, we can at least perform an objective discourse about what is actually wrong with the Ghanaian education and how to plan an intervention.

I do not want to use this platform to skim milk from the cow. However, a change of the Ghanaian education is necessary and possible if the right research is conducted, and the right intellectual mind is employed.

Gyasi Bawuah
Department of Psychology.
University of Ghana, Legon
kgbawuah@yahoo.com

The Ghanaian Education System – How I Saw It Then.


The year was 1970, and I was 10 years old. My mother , one morning told me that we were going back to Ghana for good. Her reason was that she had accomplished her reason for being in the UK, her scholarship to study in the UK was up and she now had to return to Ghana to serve her country. I couldn’t hold back my excitement. The next day, I told all my friends of my pending trip. Almost all of them offered to to give my a toy to take along with my, thinking that I would not have friends to play with or not have any toys at all. I was to excited to accept any gifts. I immediately declined them with a fat smile on my face. I really don’t think all the excitement in me was due to the fact that I was to another country, or for that matter going back to the Country of my ancestors. I think it was more to do with the fact that I was leaving the neighbourhood I did not like; the neighbourhood in which I had experienced so much racist comments from kids my own age or older.  From a kids perspective, i was “sod it”  I am out of here.

So the next month found us in Accra, Ghana, to be precise…Nyaniba Estates. The first thing that “hit me” were the mosquitos. They seemed to be everywhere. No matter what I did, I just could not get rid of the buggers. Then there were the lizards. They just amazed me. They too seemed to be everywhere. I just could not get my head round it. It was absolutely fascinating.  Surprisingly, I didn’t breakdown crying, asking to be sent back to the UK. I wanted more of what I had just discovered…Ghana.

I was enrolled at Saint Michaels International School, located at Osu Ako-Adjei park. The school was absolutely great. I did not stay there for long because my Mother got her first posting to Dormaa Secondary School, in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Dormaa Ahenkro, Brong Ahafo, Ghana - Google Maps

 

At the age of ten an a half years, I was in Secondary school form one. The average age for everyone else in form one was 17years. I was the new “Dada Ba” in the block. To be honest, I was totally lost. One thing for sure was that  I was not “Homo’d”.The was because my Mother wanted me to spend the first year with her in her bungalow; a very good decision that was too. I spent four splendid years at Dormaas and enjoyed every bit of it. If I had seriously had that opportunity to Time Travel back in time, I would opt for that time frame I arrived at Dormaas and when I finally left there.

I believe that I entered the Ghanaian Education system at the time when it was at its best. Admittedly, I struggled in the my first year there, always coming at the bottom of the class. This was not unexpected as I had moved from one education system to another which were totally unrelated. However after the first year, I soon learnt the ropes and was clocking positions between second and fifth on the league table. Now I come to the most interesting part of education in Ghana at that time, and why I feel if your were in a good secondary school at tthat time, you were actually learning something.

Let me start off with the bursary scheme that was in place a that time. The bursary scheme, as I remember it was set in place to assist t the children of Cocoa Farmers who needed help in paying their school fees over a period of time. Since Cocoa farming was a major farming activity in Ghana, especially in that part of the region, it was a brilliant idea. Then there were the subjects that formed the teaching curriculum. In forms One, Two and Three, I learnt Latin. In form Four (possibly starting in Form Three) we were taught Typing. Now check this out. We have a huge building next to the main class rooms and it was packed with typewriters. Did I mention the Logarithm books and Slide rules we user in Maths and Additional Maths classes?

 

The various building that made up most of the secondary schools in those days were virtually the same. I am assuming that the Ghana Education Service at that time had a serious “game plan”. The Administration Block, Classrooms, Dinning Halls and Dormitories followed a consistent pattern. They were well looked after too.

Dormaa Secondary School Appian Way

The Famous Appian Way – Dormaa Secondary School

 

On a quite reflection, I ask myself, did we know at that time how fortunate we were in have all these means of educating ourselves available to us? Very slowly, what had been firmly put in place those days have been removed and have been replaced with a system only God knows where it was sourced from. Typing and Latin are no longer taught in the Junior Secondary School (JSS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS) education system that has suddenly become part of the education system in Ghana. I suppose  it is fair to say that typewriters are a tool of the past, but then, with the introduction of the personal computer, how many of the JSS and SSS schools have a computer classroom kitted with a PC on each desk. And then there is the sudden influx of Universities springing up everywhere.  Do not get me wrong. Of course Universities are a good thing, but the question begs to be asked….who is monitoring these Universities; and this includes a whole range things.

I have not as yet had the privilege of speaking to anyone who has successfully gone through the JSS/SSS education system. I have noted that since the inception of the JSS and SSS program as many of the secondary schools in the country have been converted to SSS I am sure that one way or the other, the system works, but does the system work better than what was originally set in place? Perhaps you are one of those people who had the privilege to be educated in the JSS/SSS school system, then please share your experience here.

 

Ghana Music Awards 2011


It is certainly obvious that Ghanaians love to have a good time when the moment presents itself, and this years Ghana Music Awards is evident of how Ghanaians enjoy themselves.

Below, I have yanked some pictures off another site and posted them here for your viewing. From the snippets of videos posted on youtube and other video hosting sites, it appears that there were more laydez in attendance than men. I may be wrong.

Also the laydez were dressed to kill. The outfits were absolutely beautiful. I am sure they spent a lot of money and time in preparation for this event.

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wow!!!!

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