Brain Drain Pains 


I saw this picture on my Instagram feed and had to share it. Aside from it bringing fond memories of my Uncle Idun who would have us doing quantum physics in the 1st grade just to ‘prepare us for college’— a whole 15 years later but whatever— it reminded me of how strong an educational legacy we had as Ghanaians. 

My uncle here in Ghana, is always reminiscing about the day Nkrumah ordered every male child who could put his arm over his head and touch his ear, to attend school. He says this was literally a generational transformation for him, a man who was the first, if not only, from his family to enter industry, travel abroad and ‘make something of himself’ as an engineer. 

It is astonishing and infuriating to see what happens when that legacy is trodden and thrown aside due to a number of things— namely structural adjustment and visionless dictatorship. Working in education now, we have seen the complete de-professionalization of education, to the extent that people without BECE certificates are teaching in our KG classrooms. 

We used to teach across Africa. We were among the brightest people in the world. We had formed meaningful relationships with world powers that could have helped sustain our educational progress. 

All that is left now is the ghost. 

The ghost that haunts us… Reminds us of a future we almost had. The Ghost of Glory Past. 

But all is not lost… There are a multiplicity of ways in which Ghanaians have been resilient in pushing boundaries across the world. Just ask this young boy who got into all of the Ivies or this man who confounded, arguably, the foremost leadership academy or these women breaking the boundaries in technology. 

Some will argue that today, only privileged Ghanaians can afford the quality of education our fathers recieved in days of yore. And… Maybe that’s true. But all it takes is a mindset shift. A decision of a potent minority, to demand change. 

Most people say that we remember our history so we don’t repeat the mistakes of our past. 

I think we ought to remember our history so we never forget the potential of our future. 

How do you think we can raise the quality of our schools? Are there ways this can happen without the government? What is our individual responsibility to see this change come to fruition?