‘You can’t memorise your way out of poverty’ – The UN speech that got Education Minister trending
The concept that mere theory does not do enough in education appears to have been agreed on by experts worldwide.
But the implementation in many classrooms in Africa is yet to see a conscious evolution to practicalise lessons for children of school-going age.
This was the angle Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum was coming from when he addressed delegates at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, September 21.
He questioned the rationale behind regurgitating numbers and letters just for the purpose of reproducing same in the examination hall without any idea of its impact on the real world.
Justifying his frustration, the Education Minister recounted multiple occasions where he engaged Ghanaian pupils and did not get a single question or reaction when he asked.
This, he says, is a result of the institutionalised manner of teachers where the child is prevented from demanding clarity on issues regarding their studies.
“I speak with the students and when I finish I ask them ‘do you have any questions for me?’, no hand goes up…We have tamed the children. We just want them to write down what we tell them and on the day of exams, they should put down what we have told them [then] we say you’re the best student the country has ever known.
He insists this trend is disturbing and retrogressive, particularly in an era of fast-evolving technologies and STEM education.
Mr Adutwum recommended the Assertive Curriculum approach to training pupils in African schools.
“That kind of education system will not transform Ghana. That kind of education system is not going to give us critical thinking individually, especially since we are in the 21st century and education 4.0 and the industrial revolution.
He urged African trainers and tutors to imbibe assertiveness in pupils to help push boundaries of innovation and alleviate poverty on the continent.
“You can’t memorise your way out of poverty but you can critically think and innovate out of poverty,” Dr Yaw Adutwum told the world leaders.
This has got social media talking. Many users found his statement wholesome while questioning his commitment to driving that agenda in Ghana.