During the Republic Day commemoration, GTV aired a recording that dated to the very day the country was declared a republic. We watched as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah read his victory speech. After listening to the commentaries, I made a personal note. Indeed, I loved the way and manner in which English was spoken there and then! That was the original language. As I listened to the founder of the nation as he read his speech, I also realized how passionate he sounded. Indeed, the struggle for independence was no joke to this great man! After watching all those gathered at the then State House, now the Parliament House, I also noted how great they must also have felt at that moment. On the streets, the excitement of the happy crowd was unmistakable! As I sat in my living room watching this video, I felt those same emotions stirring up in me. That was the real Ghana! The Ghana with good roads, schools, hospitals, jobs, and most importantly, a national agenda of harmony and development! The Ghana with the passion to make a difference! The Ghana all were proud of! The Ghana that rose up to fight for what she believed in! The Ghana that rose up to fight for the freedom of her people! The Ghana that represented the star of the continent! Sadly however, several scores down the lane, everything has changed! The visionary’s dream is almost lost! Where lays our national pride? If we are to train our youth to be disciplined and responsible, then more needs to be done!

These days in our homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals, churches or mosques, among others, what we witness leaves more to be desired. The level of discipline in our schools, homes and all spheres of endeavours keep decreasing with each passing day. The national spirit is fast dying. Gone are the days when the country had a national agenda which ensured that the interest of the nation was always number one. These days, all people care about is themselves! Selflessness has been replaced with selfishness! Our country has undergone complete transformations. Can the youth therefore be blamed? We are not to blame!

The former system of education, which was first class, and the pride of Ghana have now been replaced with confusion! Formally, our school institutions were more organized and more resourced. Highly trained and qualified teachers were readily available in more structured schools with a skills-oriented syllabus that ensured that knowledge was indeed imparted to students. It is therefore not surprising the caliber of leaders who emerged. Can the same thing be said today? The very structures serving as classrooms are counter-productive! The quality of teachers emerging from our training colleges and who find themselves in the classrooms leaves a big question mark! Our educational syllabus is continuously become less and less skill-oriented! Learning materials, if available are not in useful conditions. Education was then more practical and involving and jobs were equally readily available afterwards. Our educational syllabus back then placed emphasis on patriotism and national spirit but rather sadly, that cannot be seen today. More emphasis is now placed on passing examinations. The quality of students being produced today, are huge disappointments. In the past, people were virtually lured into the classrooms and yet these days, people have to virtually beg to be allowed in. Are our children therefore to blame if they fail to pass their examinations? Can our children be blamed if they fail to make it higher? Can our children be blamed if they cannot speak good English or perhaps master their own native languages? For most school leavers, the major disappointment seeking employment! If jobs are not readily available, what then becomes the essence of education? Compare the structures then, and now? What have you got to say? Your guess is as good as mine!

What about our health institutions? We had a few great hospitals back then. Yes, these medical facilities were few, and yet, functional! Over the years, we are increasingly encountering disappointments in our health institutions! These are stories of hospitals without enough medical personnel. The few present, are however not competent or careless! When it comes to the matter of equipment and resources, it is a nightmare! The quality of health personnel and their level of professionalism is being question with each passing day. Back then, fewer medical personnel existed but their professionalism was unquestionable despite the limited resources. What we have grown up to meet as youth of this powerful nation has become our heritage. The youth of today are a reflection of the ills of mother Ghana. Are they to blame?

On the issue of transportation, Ghana then, was a transportation gateway. There was the overly flourishing harbours in Tema and Takoradi, the famous railways, our few and yet topnotch road networks! Considering the state of our transportation systems today, can the same be said about today?

Compare our leaders in the past to the leaders we have today. Of course, most of our leaders back then, were no saints themselves but at least, they made remarkable efforts with the limited resources. Yes, our resources keep adding up each day, be it human or natural resources. Our population has grown tremendously over the past decades and hence, our labour base has increased. Our mineral wealth has accordingly seen enough growth as a result of exploration. If our leaders back then could do that much for our nation, what have our current leaders then done? Are youth therefore to blame? Your guess is as good as mine!

All over, we keep labeling the youth as irresponsible and lacking discipline when in truth, they are not really to blame! Children grow up into what they learn. What children learn from their homes, schools, streets, etc, forms a greater part of their future! In the past, we had indeed worthy role models in the likes of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Big Six, in our spiritual leaders, in our schools, in our chiefs and other brave men and women. If our youth are not making it in our schools, involved in all sorts of social vices and crimes, then we need to start asking the right questions! In the past, it was all about building Ghana. These days, what is being done seems to be breaking up the foundations of this great nation! We indeed, had a great foundation in the past! Our predecessors in recent past have failed to leave a legacy worth emulating. Considering the examples being set by parents, leaders be it spiritual or social, are the youth to blame? Absolutely not!

For the youth out there, this is a passionate appeal to us all. With or without good examples, the future still rests on us. Let us not make the same mistakes our parents have made. Let us all strive to make the most out of the little we have. True greatness is celebrated when people make the most out of their limitations! That is the stuff great people are made up of!

Source: Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi.

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