A curious, colourful tale is spun about 1960s-Ghana. The facts are diverse and sometimes do not agree. Nobody has proved that it happened, but nobody has denied it too. I am going to tell you why I am about to tell you the story. Then, I will tell you the story itself.
You already know that my pet topic is educating our young people – the practical, usable, developmental type that they are not getting. Well, the story is an analogy for our kayoed school syllabi not just in Ghana but many other African countries.
In the 1960s, the government was very committed to farming. Vast swathes of lush land were set aside for State farms all over the country. The government did not want to dump labourers on the land to till away like serfs. The country was still fresh from independence from British rule, and the government wanted to treat its people nice.
The government flew local experts to (I think it was) Czechoslovakia (remember that country?) to study from their own collectivised farms. Our experts were impressed with everything they saw. The preparation of the land, the sowing in neat, geometric rows, the tractors, detachable trailers, combine-harvesters; everything was agricultural heaven.
Our experts thanked their gracious hosts and resolved to come back and practise what they had learned in Ghana. Before they came, they ordered some of the wonderful equipment they had seen on the Czech farms.
A few months later, back in Ghana, the machinery arrived. Oh joy! They were trucked to the State farms all over the country and quickly put to work. BUT THE TRACTORS WOULD NOT WORK! It baffled the local experts because they had seen this same equipment on Eastern European farms.
The story does not end well. They did not live happily ever after. What our ‘experts’ had seen were not tractors. No! They were huge SNOW PLOUGHS! Our people had seen snow ploughs in temperate Czechoslovakia and imported them to equatorial Ghana.
Think back to my analogy about our school syllabi. Do you not see glaringly sad similarities?
(Picture credit - escocorp.com)