Following Ghana government’s policy to assess how the country can still pursue the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, a Prelate in the West African country says the renewal and transformation of the minds of Ghanaians will be essential to achieve this vision.
“Emancipation from mental slavery at all times must go hand-in-hand with the renewal of minds in order to get Ghana off over-dependence on foreign aid,” Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Ghana’s Cape Coast Archdiocese said at a virtual forum Thursday, June 11.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle encouraged Ghanaians to love their country in order to make the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda achievable and added, “Let us put the Ghanaian right and Ghana will be right. We need a paradigm shift from our present mindset, our attitudes, and our behaviors. The human factor is indispensable in the quest for Ghana Beyond Aid.”
He further noted that Ghanaians seem to lack appreciation for their country and that it is pathetic to hear some people say Ghana is not worth dying for.
Presenters during the televised forum sought to deliberate on how the West African country can brace the coronavirus pandemic to achieve President Nana Akufo-Addo’s vision of saving the country from dependence on foreign aid.
The forum was held under the theme, “COVID-19 and Our March Towards Ghana Beyond Aid: Turning Adversity into Opportunity.”
The Ghana Beyond Aid is a government initiative that seeks to harness the country’s resources and deploy in a creative and effective manner for rapid economic and social transformation.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Renewing Our Mindset and Changing Attitude for Our Collective Development,’ Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said that in addition to the government’s emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as part of the vision for schools, there should be more emphasis on values and morals.
“When we look at the education curriculum, there’s an appreciable emphasis on Science, on Technology, on Engineering, and on Mathematics. Unfortunately, there is not a concomitant or adequate emphasis on values and value formation. I think it is because we take it for granted,” he said and added, “As we seek to strengthen STEM courses, so should we emphasize humanities.”
He recommended that courses that will improve the mindset, attitude and value of citizens in the country be entrenched in the country’s educational curricula, calling upon civil society organizations in the country to be part of the creation of the curriculum to inculcate values into Ghanaians.
“I would like us to involve the universities, the secondary schools in what I call Religious and Moral formation,” he said.
He highlighted patriotism, honesty, respect, discipline, hard work, volunteerism, self-reliance, safeguarding the public purse and transparency and accountability as some of the values required in the curriculum.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, who is the Vice President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) called for a paradigm shift from the current mindset and attitudes of his compatriots.
In his view, threats of social disvalues like cynicism, mistrust and the deliberate attempts to cause people’s failure had become further serious to Ghana’s development more than the threat posed by corruption in the West African nation.
“There is a canker that I think we need to combat. It is a disvalue which is more insidious than corruption and that evil is called cynicism, mistrust and the notorious Ghanaian PHD syndrome (pull him/her down). It has become deep-rooted in the present-day culture and especially in the political arena,” he said.
Against that backdrop, the Archbishop of Cape Coast called on Ghanaians “to tackle the rise in disvalues through specifically focusing on education on values and virtues as well as presenting role models who are icons of civility and nobility.”
He proposed that Ghana Education Service (GES), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Faith-Based and civil society organizations be tasked to work out very pertinent syllabus and curricula on those fundamental values outlined and how they can be inculcated into every Ghanaian “from cradle to the grave.”
Admitting that the legend who sang ‘Redemption Song’ was his prototype, the Archbishop who will be 70 years on June 15 said, “Charles Palmer-Buckle has a patron called Bob Marley and I believe we don’t need just to renew our mindset but we need an emancipation from our mental form of slavery at all times.”
He added that Chapter 2 of the document guiding Ghana Beyond Aid, which lists some values for each and every Ghanaian, should be amplified and reproduced for reading for every citizen of the West African nation.