THE YCEO: HOW DEGREE KILLED MY STUDENT! - THE YCEO

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THE YCEO: HOW DEGREE KILLED MY STUDENT!


I am writing this in grief because today is sad day for Ghana and Africa as a whole. It is a day ingenuity has become useless and senseless before the youth. I cry for mother Ghana. I cry for the generations unborn.

Barely two years ago, I re-entered an institution called a University to harness knowledge, develop competence to solve the many problems my country is experiencing. Somewhere along the line, this pursuit of knowledge applied in wisdom to gain insight was reduced to piece of paper called a DEGREE.

Since childhood, I have always been taught to study hard and pass my examinations with good grades and get a “GOOD” job. No one really focused on expanding my intellectual horizons on creating wealth, managing people and building a sustainable business. But then, what does society define as a GOOD job?

I was in my village last week, standing by the roadside in my overall. Approaching me was a red Hyundai Hiace Fish. The car stopped few meters away from where I was standing. It was a typical Accra car which was almost full to capacity. Alighting from the vehicle was one student I taught in JSS after completing high school. He actually asked the driver to stop the car because of me. This is how the conversation went.

Student: Sir, it’s been a long time. What are you doing in this village? I was in that car but then I saw you from far so I asked the driver to stop.

Me: Yeah. It’s been long. You have grown big. Hope you are doing great.

Student: Yes Sir. Where are you coming from like this? (Referring to my overall and boots).

Me: Am just returning from the farm. On my way home.

Student: You now farm? I can see things are really bad for you. I heard you were working with Vodafone and I was soo happy for you. Were you laid off or something?

Me: No. Just trying to make a living here too.

Student: Sir…Hmmm…You helped us so much back then. Am really grateful. It’s rather unfortunate am seeing you in this state. I have a degree in marketing and I now work as a sales agent with a savings and loans company in Accra (Feeling proud of white job). I saw you delivering eggs to a woman in the market last month and I couldn’t believe you were the one doing that.

By this time, I realized he was having conflicting reactions about the kind of work I was doing. Its obvious he belonged to the class of CORRUPTED MINDS 2009.

Student: I can help you get a sales job in Accra rather than staying here in this village.

Me: How much is the pay?

Student: You have a 2nd degree so they can pay you around 1,500 Cedis (It was such a big money to him).

Me: Is that the worth of my skills and abilities or that of my Certificate?

Student: At least it’s better than staying here (He sounded very convinced abt that. So ignorant)

I smiled and said I was doing ok, gave him my contact and said goodbye. Why am I sharing this experience?

The brainwash, deception, fear and respect for white jobs has made us extremely poor people. Who poisoned our minds that, this is the only way of working? It marvels me when I see very educated people folding their arms and sitting idle complaining bitterly about unemployment when the uneducated market woman could take home someone’s monthly salary on a good market day. It is as though, the more education we get in Ghana, the more we lose our ingenuity, creativity and inborn talents.

Then I remembered; He was taught to compete not collaborate; Accept the status quo not challenge it; write what he was taught not express his opinion; punished to work on the school farm and respected for scoring 100% in an exam. What a failed system? My student could not imagine a full-fledged engineer farming neither could he understand why a master’s degree holder was distributing eggs in the market. Does farming take away my professional qualifications or does it make me less of a graduate?

In the western world, most students do part time work to feed, pay their school fees, rent and utilities. By so doing, work becomes a natural part of their lives. You can’t just wake up in the morning and have nothing to do. That is a lazy and poverty stricken mentality. You need to get something going on to support yourself.

Until I started doing business, I never really understood the gravity of this problem. Our graduates only pride themselves in their degrees and the schools they attended not intellectual capacity. Basic arithmetics tells us that, when people produce less value than they earn from a company, collapse is only a matter of time. A major reason why many start-up businesses collapse in Ghana is not necessarily an economic problem, but an attitudinal one. Our graduates hate to work but love money draining their company’s finances by the day while contributing very little.

I tend to support the assertion that, when students grow up with a sense of entitlement and high standard of living, it translates into greed. They see themselves above everyone else and are in the position to undermine and condemn the people who sustain their very existence. We have a generation of graduates whose only image about western culture relates to dressing, accent, love etc but not building transgenerational businesses.

If good leaders are to emerge tomorrow and lead Ghana, we must first change the attitude Ghanaian graduates have towards “Ordinary” jobs. This is a big problem in our society and is the fundamental reason nothing works in this part of our world. We do not understand SERVICE. We only understand MONEY.

Don’t feel too big because of one small degree. Degrees are everywhere these days and very soon people will be using those papers to sell plantain. It is what you carry inside you that will take you places. Defy the odds, unleash the power in you and render service with passion. U will be handsomely rewarded. Ghana will work again if the youth can get busy. #EnoughIdling##Smalldegree#

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