The Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George K. T. Oduro, has noted that Universities will fail as hubs of knowledge generation and application, if they fail to place national character development at the core of the training of students.
Universities must use the lecture theatres to help students develop mindsets that will place Ghana first and make them appreciate that our tribal, religious and political orientations should not divide us as citizens,” he indicated.
Prof. Oduro made these statements when he delivered his inaugural lecture at the School of Medical Sciences Auditorium on the topic “Repositioning Universities for National Character Development: Does Leadership and Mindset Education Matter”?
Universities Role in Curbing Political Polarisation
The Professor of Educational Leadership said, universities should be concerned about the political polarisation that was fast destroying the “Ghanaianness” in Ghanaians. People’s orientation and commitment towards partisan issues are fast sinking our National Character,” he observed.
Prof. Oduro pointed out that, “If the university sows divisive mindsets, it will produce leaders with divisive tendencies”. He noted that through research, teaching and extension services performed by universities, challenges facing national character development in Ghana could be mitigated. For universities to reposition themselves for national character development.
Allow Structures in Universities to Work
Prof. Oduro cautioned politicians to allow university decision making structures and procedures to operate. He said people with extreme partisan and divisive orientation should not be appointed chairmen of Governing Councils or Vice-Chancellors of universities. According to him, faculty should avoid using the lecture theatres to promote partisan ideologies. He therefore, recommended that, “Leadership for National Character” should be introduced as a liberal course in universities.
Prof. Oduro said, political polarisation was permeating every sector of the economy and gradually subduing national character. He was worried that the phenomenon had widely spread to the extent that universities were being affected. He cited several instances where Government functionaries and political fanatics had remotely controlled some public institutions in Ghana, especially in determining who should lead such institutions.
“Institutional leaders appointed on political lines tend to work in the interest of their political parties rather than the institution or the nation. To secure leadership positions, politically influenced appointees tell Government only things they know Government wants to hear regarding policy initiatives, he noted.
Victimisation of Citizens for Criticising Government Policies
On the other hand, Prof. Oduro said “those who subject policies to critical analysis, provide constructive criticism and draw attention of Government to possible implementation gaps in policy initiatives are labeled”. He indicated that citizens with critical minds and innovative ideas on national policies were gradually retreating for fear of being lampooned and lambasted. He made reference to instances where some appointees and party loyalists of both the current and previous governments had verbally attacked him for commenting on government policies,
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor urged Ghanaians to remember that “We are one people as Ghanaians and party politics should not divide us. Politicians will come and go but our country, Ghana will continue to exist. He further called on Ghanaians to uphold the national unity values in the national anthem and patriotic songs that defined our national character.