Recently, the CEO of Chamber of Bulk Oil Distribution, Mr. Senyo Hosi, in one of the seminars organized by the University of Ghana to commemorate its 70th anniversary, shared his thoughts on education in Ghana specifically how it’s being delivered in the University of Ghana.
In a video that went viral, he complained about the kind of graduates the university churns out- people with degrees but no education and skills on how to live, people incompetent for the job market which he will not hire. He blamed the lecturers and administrators of the school for the kind of graduates they release into the system and lack of innovative teaching which results in incompetent graduates.
There have been divergent responses to his assertion with many disagreeing to his statements and way of delivery. We can’t control how people think and deliver their thoughts, the honorable CEO had the platform and delivered the way he did, I have the platform now and I want to address and persuade you on the issues he raised but from a different narrative which I believe the CEO missed.
In my early days in the university studying mathematics, I started watching a TV series titled Numbers. It was a story about a mathematics professor who was a consultant for the FBI, he assisted the security service to solve crimes using mathematics. At a crime scene, the professor will apply mathematical theories and calculations to determine the exact location where a gun was fired, the angle at which an incident occurred which will tell the nature of the people involved etc.
Watching the series, I was amazed at what can be done with mathematics. The professor raised my enthusiasm for learning mathematics to solve problems and I was more eager to study mathematics than I first heard it.
Unfortunately, my classroom experience of studying mathematics didn’t meet my expectations, especially on practical teaching and I was quite disappointed. I didn’t see how I could be like the professor from how I was being taught in the classroom and that was how I started losing interest in mathematics, a decision that really cost me.
This is where I will agree with Mr. Senyo Hosi on the role lectures, the educational structure, and its delivery play in shaping students, but to blame lecturers for the incompetent graduates the school churns out, I disagree. I could relate with every theory and formula the professor was using, which meant my lectures were on the right path.
What I didn’t know from the TV series I watched is that the university is not solely responsible for who I become. When I had the vision of being a problem solver using mathematics like the professor, I should have known that the university will be one of the facilitators of that dream, and it will be a shared responsibility between the university and I to achieve this dream.
Classroom education is never enough to mould anyone into who they need to be. Ask successful people and they will tell you that who they are go beyond classroom education. What will we say of the Zuckerbergs who didn’t finish their 4 year classroom university education but still succeeded in achieving their dreams- it goes beyond the classroom.
The university cannot overload its curriculum or syllabus with everything students need to know, hence it’s your personal responsibility to grow beyond the classroom. Read the books, challenge yourself to understand beyond what the lecturer is saying, develop your skills, network, get curious, do the needed internships to unleash your potential and launch you into greatness.
Who I am today has little to do with what I studied in the university. The mathematics syllabus didn’t have Toastmasters, it didn’t have an option for digital marketing, there was no theory in mathematics that required I intentionally read personal growth development books, go for seminars, network, relentlessly develop a skill, unleash my purpose, and actively work on my growth, but it gave me the foundation to be curious. If all you know and have is what your first degree or any level of classroom education taught you, then you are not progressing.
The world has moved on, technology is evolving, knowledge abound, new ways of doing things are discovered daily, amidst all these, if your university chooses to be stagnant, which unfortunately should never be the case, move on- own your future, make no excuses, take responsibility for your growth and learn continuously beyond the classroom. Never blame the school you attended for who you have become today, it is too cheap an excuse for a trained mind.
No matter how appetizing the blame game may look, don’t fall victim to its bait. We are responsible for who we become during and after university, your lecturers are only facilitators and they might not always do right in teaching but it still doesn’t shift responsibility- own your future, go beyond the classroom, think different, think problem solving.
No fresh graduate is a finish product. We all leave school as raw materials for the job market. You will either mould them into what you need or meet them half way in their growth. Never let anyone look down on you because you lack a skill for a job but always be willing and ready to learn and grow.
I might not have the platform the CEO had, but as an alumnus of the university, also celebrating the 70th anniversary, I charge everyone listening to me to add value to yourselves and grow beyond the four year university education. There is work to be done on our educational system but the greater work is on us, and that’s your personal responsibility.
Even if the school teaches you all that you will need, it will still be your responsibility, decision, and choice to use them. Use the knowledge and wisdom from the university no matter how insignificant it seems to become better – it is enough foundation to build on. I hope I have persuaded you enough to learn beyond the classroom. Thank you.