Dr Frederick Amonoo – Ghana Country Focal Point

Please introduce yourself?

I am Dr. Frederick Amonoo, NAYD’s Ghana CFP. I will be talking to you on the ‘Challenges of Education and Health Delivery in Ghana’

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing education in Ghana?

The biggest problem is the nature of the curriculum followed by poor implementation of policies in education.

What is wrong with the curriculum? How can it be improved?

The curriculum makes students learn by rote and as such complete school without being creative. Restructuring Ghana’s education in terms of cancelling certain subjects and training students to be creative instead of just going after so called white-collar jobs. More technical schools need to be built because we lack skills needed in producing basic things.

Why do you think you succeeded despite the issues with the curriculum?

I succeeded because I went the extra mile to do certain things the average Ghanaian won’t do to shape my life. I applied myself to training and apprenticeship before I even gained admission to Medical School. I trained myself for the job market and took up positions which helped me gain a lot of experience as well.

What’s being done by organized Ghanaian youths to influence the restructuring of Ghana’s education system and how can we (NAYD) members be of help? How about a petition?

National Union of Ghanaian Students (NUGS) has had talks with stakeholders but nothing has been done yet. NAYD members can be of help by notifying the Education Minister of Ghana and possibly the President. We may have very influential Ghanaians on this platform. Petition has been tried before but it did not result in any change. Our older generation has failed us but kicking them with force will bring untold consequences. The younger ones are seen to be less knowledgeable and not involved in decision making. In Ghana there are no Youth MPs so it will extremely be difficult to change that.

Education is SDG4. Health is SDG3. How would you rate Ghana for each of these two on a scale of 1 to 10?

Education, I will give 6 out of 10 and Health 4 out of 10

4  is low.  How much collaboration is there between local/national government and civil society in implementing these SDSGs? What does the collaboration look like? How could it be improved?

Yes, 4 is low. There has not been enough collaboration between Government and civil societies. I think the main problem is funds to put up more hospitals and employ more healthcare workers. Change of power every 4 years too has been a major issue.

4-5 years is normal democratic period. Are you saying the government is focusing too much on the short term?

A lot of projects are abandoned when Ghana has a power change. A road construction which was abandoned has been the cause of the death of a young and upcoming talented musician called Ebony Reigns just last week. There are many other examples I can give. Another is that a lot of classroom blocks, CHBPS compounds and other health facilities under construction have been abandoned by the current Government.

Should the AU have greater influence over a country’s development?

If AU Executives were honest, fair and ready to help each of its member countries in the right direction, why not?

How successful are youths at advocacy in Ghana at a national level?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I will give 3. The NUGS President is my friend and I know the challenges he has been facing. If we look at youth advocacy in Africa as a whole, we are doing badly. The regimes are having sleepless nights planning to disorganise youths.

What do you hope to achieve as NAYD CFP for Ghana in 2018?

I wish each of us, the CFPs would be given a Project to undertake in the areas of health and/or education so people can see and feel the impacts of NAYD. Mere deliberations won’t amount to anything. That’s why I would be glad if I could get funding to do something under health or education in a rural area in Ghana and name it after NAYD. There is a lot on my mind at the moment because Ghana needs a lot too. I believe NAYD must be an action-oriented platform and not a mere talking one.

How important is it to have a strong network to achieve your aims?

A strong network ensures a collaborative and an all-inclusive action. It makes work easy. Greater heights are easily attained as well.  Attitude matters too but once pro-activity is shown you will get a lot of youths throwing their weight behind you. In as much as long term focus matters, the short term one must not be ignored too. The youths have a lot of educational and health needs and if help is given, you will get them supporting you. Social media platforms help in advertising events and activities which can easily draw the attention of the youths to very essential stuff. For instance, I got to know about NAYD through social media specifically Facebook.

The above conversation took place in the NAYD Country Focal Points facebook chat 18 Feb 2019