Saturday, October 23, 2010

If I were the National Service Director...

Yea! you saw right; 'If I were the National Service Scheme Director..'. I have not had any formal education in economics or governance or politics, but when you live in a third world country like mine, when you have very little or nothing to make do with (or is it without?), you learn economics on the job of life (living).

The National Service Scheme (NSS) in Ghana is a one year mandatory post-tertiary service to the government. You do not get paid, there's only an allowance (less than $150 a month) to keep you going. Why? The government (actually, our taxes) subsidizes the cost of tertiary education; we only pay academic facility user fees.

In my opinion, the NSS could be a goldmine for the country; an opportunity to get quality work done, by degree holders, for almost no pay. Now, if I were the NSS Director:
  • I would ask applicants to attach their resum├ęs to their NSS application: So I can better assess their strengths and weaknesses and place them at strategic postings to our (applicant and government) mutual benefit.
  • I would categorize applicants into:
  1. Those who held leadership positions whilst in college
  2. Those who took active part in extra-curricular activities and held positions of responsibility
  3. Those who developed skill sets outside their course requirements
  4. The rest; regardless of their GPA
  • I would place those in Category 1, who are usually those with political affiliations (SRC Prez, etc) in the classrooms, so that when (not if) they become politicians, they would value education at all levels
  • I would put together the list of research, 'reports', and those committee-and-review-and-probe stuff our government likes to do, as well as on-going and new projects that need to be supervised or undertaken by professionals. I would place the Category 2 and 3 applicants in these roles. They would head or supervise the less complicated ones, and we'll have them constituting committees headed by consultants for the rest. At least with that we can cut down the huge costs of sitting allowances and 'coffee breaks'. The government would also benefit from the skill sets of our Category 3 applicants; websites, improving infrastructure, etc. ALL FOR LESS THAN $150/MONTH PER PERSON. Isn't that cool!
  • To those in Category 2 and 3, I'll also give the option of starting their  own businesses, with the allowance giving them a steady income for a year. Of course, we'll have some sort of business incubation section of the NSS to give guidance and make sure they do not fail.
Like I mentioned previously, I am not an economist or social scientist or the like. This is MY opinion; that we can get so much more, as a country, from these graduates who enroll each year for the NSS.
You notice I didn't say anything about the Category 4 applicants. I do not know what to do with them. Maybe the big GPAs should go to the classrooms? What do you think? If you were the NSS Director ...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Graduating? What next?

It is that time where tons of college students are graduating and looking for the next step in life. Is it to find work, go back to school, marry?

Unlike many others, I am not pressured into anything like marriage, rather, my folks are encouraging me to go back to school. That's good, right? But I also cannot ignore the beckons of society to 'settle down'. I have a friend (a guy), telling me,"You've had enough education, don't worry yourself anymore, get a man, and he'll take care of you". And what runs through my mind is that, I have not been fighting for good grades through college to be a housewife or thumb dwindler. Don't get me wrong, housewives do a terrific job, but they worked towards it, just as I am working towards something else.

Another thing I am hearing is, "If you don't take care, you'll not get a man to marry oo". I realised, as I was speaking to a friend a couple of weeks ago, men claim they like independent women, but the novelty soon wears off and they realise they want to be 'needed'. So what do they really want? lol.

Very soon, I'll be hearing about the success of the lucky few graduates who have secured jobs. But the majority would be left hanging, roaming the streets. I hope the pre-national service military training doesn't equip them for a 'deadly' way to make ends meet. But hey, there's hope. We would work our way up from the very bottom, if we have to. Hardwork never killed anybody.

Here's to my dear graduands, a toast, to your success and fulfillment!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Social Education I

When I was in Primary School, they used to teach us Religious and Moral Education, popularly called RME. I enjoyed the bible stories because I was good at remembering them, so I'll get really huge marks in my exams. When the parts about how religion started and the dates and names were being taught...(sigh), that's a story for another day.

Here I am, in my hostel on campus, and I am thinking: RME, I was taught. But SOCIAL EDUCATION, I had to learn the hard way! I am sitting behind my pc and looking at how far I have come.
I know, this blog wasn't supposed to get personal, but I can't help it.

I come from a home where everyone speaks their mind; young or old. My parents never spoke 'at' me, it was always with me. Even at 6, when social issues and the like were being discussed by my parents, I was free to join, and I did. When I did anything wrong, it was discussed, like adults, not just scolded. And so, I went to Secondary School thinking the world was like that; say the truth and that's all! How wrong I was! It was a change from an environment where everyone adored me and overlook my shortcomings (of course not my family) to one purely hostile to me. It was the best lesson ever. I can not point out any one true friend from Secondary School. Pathetic? NO. It has made me independent, and ready to face responsibilities and consequences of my actions. It has made me an expert at sugar-coating, and even better at dealing a solid-truth blow (lol). Then came college.

I started out my first year, initially with some fear of the large male-female ratio in my class; approximately 10:1, especially since my previous school had been an all-female one. Then when I realised we were all equals, and maybe some were worse off than me, I started to socialize, but sparingly. I only had selected friends and stayed away from the others. But I was taught another lesson; to see beyond the surface, the readily perceivable, and that is one of the few lessons that would stay with me forever: EVERYONE HAS THEIR WORTH! It is a big mistake to look down on others. I was a regular-everyday-GPA-seeking-student with a love for music and singing.

Until the experience that changed my life forever. 10 weeks on foreign soil, new faces, new cultures and traditions. I came back with a great passion for my country, and an even bigger one for making a difference in people's lives.

More on Social Education coming soon...

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Beginning and the End (Part II)

Today has been a typical example of how the beginning influences the end.

I did not choose my college roomates (in my first and second year) and that has a direct bearing on today's decisions and activities. How? Well in learning how to live with total strangers, I eventually learnt to relate to people I meet. I would never have represented my college at today's basketball-ball competition otherwise (I simply was an introvert).

I learnt something important today; You may have worked with a team before (project work, assignments, event planning, etc) but you never know how efficient REAL teamwork can be unless you play basketball. Another lesson; "Don't let the fear of losing a game (bid, contract, etc) deter you from competing". We lost all our games today, but we were competing against professionals and these people could not enjoy the game as much as we did, because they had a reputation to protect. We had all the fun, and got prizes for it too!!

I am so going to enjoy my final year of college!! And... that's it for "The beginning and the End" (or so I think). Tell me, how has your beginning influenced the end?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Beginning and the End (Part I)

College, like all other things in life , has a beginning and an end. And like all other things in life, as you get closer to the end, you begin to reminisce the beginning, and all the paths you took, and decisions you made, that got you there.
My very first day on campus was a day before the official school re-opening, and yes, that was too early, but it was deliberate. Firstly because, I had not hand-picked my roomies like others had and so being there earlier, sort of gave me an upper hand on stuff. Secondly because......(would say that one later).
That day, the porter refused to give me the room keys because school was not officially open (of course), and they were only making exceptions for those who had to travel from afar, like from the extreme northern territories of the country. And my dad went like "Do you know where we're from? We're coming from Sefwi 'nohwaa' (Meaning we are coming all the way from the Sefwi area). That did the trick! They gave us the keys and we couldn't stop giggling. Sefwi is only about 2 hours away from the school. How ignorant we can be about our own country.

How ignorant are you? How many of regions have you visited (within your country)?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Introductory blog

Hi, I am a 21yr old female Electrical Engineering student in Africa. Today, I decided to start a blog to put down experiences from my final lap of college. I graduate in December 2010.
Why put stuff down? Well I keep a lot of thing inside of me; not for regret or anything of that sort, but I like to turn events and happenings inside out in my head, analyse them, and reason out what could have been done better.
For instance, after posting this, I am probably going to wonder if I did the right thing and if I said the right words, which is probably why I would keep my identity anonymous throughout this blog. I love the web, now let's see if it can be a true friend as I share my 'final lap' with you.