After what looked like a lull which signals the fizzling of a sensation, typically Ghanaian, on the lurid conduct of students and teachers, the wearisome matter has resurged going loonier than previously but emphasises concerns about why the scam at all and how to correct it into halt. I am afraid the nation should admit full responsibility for this “cash and carry” phenomenon. I date its beginnings to the years of the “rest houses” through “kalabule” epoch, mothers beating up teachers to the beggar-my-neighbour into money is everything gospel today. We are all involved—salute to Ishmael Adams, the composer [GBC and Damas’Choir fame]. Received wisdom instructs finding the cause(s) before thinking through the problems to hatch solution(s) and deterrent(s).
We hardly do this in this country. Issues are rather hurriedly hushed and banished. The chief reason is our habit of slotting the stark revelation into instant political “them” and “us”. Its sub is the approximate total resistance to or abhorrence for research, locating precedent(s) to guide handling the fresh disruption. I assert this again from the same mores which say there is nothing that hasn’t happened before—“noni bako dale, ye nsho se” the Gas express it that vividly.
When the “rest houses” appeared, the then Head of State Lt-Gen Joseph Ankrah raised cajoling protest and said the government [NLC] had no room for that brothels’ tendencies. No other action was taken beyond that nation-wide television outspokenness over domestic morals and relative international relations such as horrified by the press giving front page to Biafra and Arab-Israeli conflicts, instead of the NLC. The media was cowed and this should explain partly the near-permanent state of keeping foreign news buried inside newspapers, even where it affects this country directly and or distantly, this Country not being an Island like the British Isles.
Beyond that remark we should judge that period of the NLC—first military junta, by their deeds and not words. The nation was splitting when they left. By coincidence, elections were imminent just as now and beset with accumulation of trending down-surge of moral turpitude, whose sprawling tentacles claw in students, lecturers, high public office holders, husbands, wives, kids[literate and illiterate] lay about youth and clerics. Relieving poverty and achieving by stealth cheap high societal status as well as educational qualifications, are prominent among the offerings to explain away justifying the so-called haplessness which command the falls which have become stigma and national albatross.
That it exists everywhere is lame. That has its history. It is that for some long periods, women complained about stalking male importuning at jobs relative to appointments and promotions. Over time, male-dominated society has grown it into dismissive as normal female excuse, blaming the women as liars. It is a laughed-off story which has spread into other facets down to the level of employment of female janitors from years back to the woman/girl operating a table-top food selling on the aprons of work-place, corner-space or a strip and edges of drainages beyond the walls or adjacent to front doors. Implicitly, some of the women acquiesce for once, kind of ‘it is nothing’; and “don’t tell” is the unspoken mutual code.
But the next, second,is classified as inevitable and then it self-promotes from desperation-reasoning to routine. That is the first type in the sex for whatever-scam-circus. The next are the youngees who would persistently entice the commitment or succumb readily because it is opportune step to success without hard work. That roughly represents rampant reportedly today at high schools. The third strand would consist of the peer pressure lot and the perhaps, usually moved into it for either not being left behind or cheated by ‘dunce’ mates, much as the boys pay, they tell you in confidence. But it is not a one-way traffic.
Presently, it is rumoured that female lecturers have jumped into the fray perhaps in competition with the men, especially at the project / thesis writing and supervision, also make demands cross-gender. That would seem to aggravate the supply and demand syndrome into hugely stupendous “daayenomSofogyew’ahom”—banal, in other words. We have, as a nation, treated this skandewith smugness, embarrassed to investigate, not our culture andas if only one side it the roving Temptor and another side is the constant Prey-Victim.
Then as push comes to shove the law professionals are pointed accusedly for entering bluff and cajole for proof. The grotesque flaw in it is that we don’t really care. That I suggest partly emanates from other cultural value which puts down the female. One sect segregates them at prayer, another bars them from certain performances in liturgy. I have avoided the same in education because it was and is never as true in our country. Let me go on with tracing history of the crisis we have. The prevalence of Kalabule, raw cheating, created a new class of rich persons—how and extent of education was virtually irrelevant here of all places before that.
By the way and incidentally, there were claims of sexual harassment throughout the period. They were dismissed as spurious and among the strengthening noveau rich, you heard dismissive like “it is all envy”. Husbands had become rugs in the progress of the Golf cars dispensations. That wealth made some women powerful and gave them carte blanche to walk to the school of their children to rough up Teachers and Heads. Whoever were the overseers had no disciplinary powers to react. It was common knowledge that exams were bought for daft children to get through. It climbed the ladder naturally into an unquestioned fixture and though not necessarily physically passed on, it became a doable heritage, extant.
There was a strong belief that church-owned education would provide the resistance. But the institutions from cradle through adulthood to work had been taken over long back previously with the promised restoration either a hoax or padlocked in limbo currently. We had banked on the moral education in there. In progression and expansion of churches, one in street corner with schools attached like catching up competition, you would have felt some hope of moral renaissance. Forget because the clerics have carved a bad niche and no one corrects another. The laissez-faire is unspeakable.
Finally, the society: I shall deal with only the legacies of the eras we have had—independence through the military-civilian regimes’ interchanges. Each left a “Class”—none any poorer in its elements between the immediately prior money magnates and the just-arrived in-group.That extended the poverty and squalor gap, societally and infected a “meetooism” throughout from post-CPP into the first Republic. Then, according to Victor Owusu [Attorney General and later Foreign Minister—NLC] that government bequeathed a unified country which was splitting badly as the succeeding NLC was about to be parking to march back to barracks.
Let us be careful here: “united” did not mean everyone was a SAINT. I guess the Old Man would not have had to challenge was it Moses or Father Abraham? In any case it was clear the meaning of the “things falling apart” in the country then, tacitly conveyed a breaking down of the society which surely included sickening moral nose dive and looting of state coffers. Head of State [Second Military junta] Col I.K. Acheampong set about retrievals but ensnared himself and regime into corruption and started a spate of “Palace Coups”—NRC-SMC I-SMC II Sept.1976 to June 1979.
Each new King fostered aggravations into compelling the Broomsticks revolution, AFRC which lasted three months, having installed some decorum in conduct—public office and private. However, the obeisance would or might continue to be argued as a ‘discretion is the better part of valour’—a devised protection against fear of being bullied, it was said. Apart from making the job of the Young Turks hollow and good riddance ogre generally, there was clear the surge of a couple of disruptive institutions for squealers and ogle-intimidators.
Statistically, we don’t have to forget or we would be reminded of the rise of single mothers. I shall not labour the causes in depth except that of a get rich mentality fastest [outside of the group of poor girls who were or are genuinely out of natural cause(s) such as sudden deathand belief in being secured, proved sham ultimately. But such is the burden of a society which has no welfare—pride of culture again being the impediment.
Thus the Bus-Stop vagrant women, street children, vagabond and or army of jobless youth today; and for most of whom “Okada” seems best exit away from either involuntarily or tricked to join the criminal fraternity from where there is no escape even after prison release but harden;–a fine soul lost by society’s complacency called “obeyeyie”—‘ it will be well’.In the final analysis truncating my discourse for space and believing the few highlighted are sufficiently advisory, the bottom line takes us back to school.
The Kids are not learning—not prepared to read and research. From start the exam pass at the public and school had been bought. Some arrests had been made by the WAEC. Nothing was done supposedly and nothing was heard either. That bred the distrust of both police and justice delivery here. Albeit the Kids grow with it. And once money isn’t all or everything, there is an alternative. Woaraehwe a!.Oye ye yaw ae…Not overstretching it though, the hunch is to examine the “dziwo fie asem” too—mind your own business.
It was not so strictly in our days, you could be censured by any older person any time anywhere and be reported at home and school for reprimand. It deterred the indiscipline. That excuse “in today’s world or development”, is a useless oft-recitation just as bred all kinds of pastors, is a grandiose cover-up for dodging responsibility to care, correct and Please let us wake up to think about these rather.I beg.
© Prof. nana essilfie-conduah.