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We need a Teen Brigade now or never-Oboe Baiden

Ghana is at the crossroads, we are at a point in our history where rights are being highly exalted but responsibilities are being shirked. We are at a point where both young and old easily ignore their duties to their nation and think only about themselves and what their country have to offer.
We are almost totally consumed in indiscipline, irresponsibility and immorality. What society frowned on then has suddenly become a lifestyle, we seem not to know where we are heading to nor the path to follow. Character does not matter anymore so far as we make money, look fashionable and have the newest technology we are good to go.
In short, we have been bamboozled into believing that love for one’s family, friend, society and country is a mirage.
Quickly follow me down memory lane and help me answer some few questions. Do you remember when we were growing up, you can be punished by an elder of your community for misbehaving outside your home? And do you remember your parent’s reaction when a report was made to them about the particular behavior? Do you remember the inner joy you exude when you helped an elderly person with a luggage or offer your seat to an elderly person at a gathering and he/she thanks and blesses you? How often do you see that today? Hope you also remember when during weekends the gong will go for communal labour and the entire community actively takes part in developing the community? Do you remember how excited you become to take part in such a program? Don’t you think doing away with such practices have to a large extent led us to where we are today? But do you think as dynamic as society is we can go back and do the same things again?
To help you answer the last question, my answer is a NO! But I believe something can be done about it.
Do you recall that on several occasions former president Rawlings had articulated that “the moral fabric of the nation is deteriorating”? But as a country we have not shown interest in such statements of his though he cannot be exculpated from blame, which for me is very pathetic. Our Governments, Religious Leaders, Media Practitioners, Civil Society Groups have all done very little to address the crux of the former leaders observation. Governments today only busy itself with contracts and activities that can help members of their governments and party to thrive. Religious leaders have neglected exhortations on salvation and opted for prosperity preaching. Most Media Practitioners are busily doing the bidding of the politician or the highest financier. As for our Civil Society Groups their modus operandi has mostly dwelled on foreign interests. Thanks to the few who find themselves in the aforementioned sectors but have subjected themselves to diligence and truthful practices to their conscience in their endeavours.
It will therefore be very hypocritical on our part as citizens to express surprise about the increase in armed robbery, murder, corruption, filth in our communities, molestations, rampant breach of our laws etc etc. We did not get here by accident but by gradually ignoring our responsibilities to ourselves and our nation.
The phrase ‘garbage in garbage out’ has been over used to represent many instances but we as Ghanaians have not applied it in our country’s governance and development. Our foundation as a country is broken and we need strong willed citizens to call for a change in the way our education is structured. Our foundation can be rebuilt robustly to stand the pressures of the century just like the progressives did in the history of building a United State of America. Today, we jump the gun and expect to be like the developed countries without focusing on structuring our fundamentals with our cultural and moral values.
One thing we must know is that those developed countries did not attain their current feet in a day but built it one at a time from scratch. It is not too late for us as a country. A country is as good as it human resource, so if the human resource is disciplined, most of these daily report of crime and social-vices will reduce drastically hence my joy upon hearing that the government plan to embark on MILITARY TRAINING for National Service personnel. This is long overdue, because countries like Russia, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Finland, Singapore etc have all practiced some form of military service and that is why their level of discipline and development is celebrated today.
But will such training at that level be enough? Will the desired goals be met? I do not think so. I do not think so because the unity of the means and that of the end is critical in achieving any desired goal. One cannot plant maize and expect to harvest garden eggs. If our focus is to imbibe discipline into adults who have finished tertiary education the result will be the same because at that stage in their lives it will be very difficult if not a miracle to help them do away with some character traits they’ve developed over years.
I think a TEEN BRIGADE  will be the way to go as Ghanaians, I must say this wouldn’t be a novelty because our first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah established what we call the Nkrumah Brigade. I am young and therefore did not meet this organization but my acquaintance with some of our elders have shown me that that organization helped many to learn Nationalism, Patriotism and other very great lessons and values that we do not have in this current generation. In fact get close to an elder who existed at the time and you’ll understand how Kwame was able to achieve all the things that are credited to him; he had selfless young men and women who were baptized into patriotism and nationalism. These young men and women helped his work to be easier. Let’s take respect for TIME for example and you’ll agree with me that our grandparents are always on time as compared to us. It did not come by magic, but by a leader’s conscious effort to train a generation of that sort.
I wish to suggest that the proposed Military Training meant for National Service Personnel be implemented at the Senior High School Level (TEEN BRIGADE).
1. The TEEN BRIGADE should be administered by the Armed Forces Educational Division in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service at the Senior High Schools level. My suggestions stems from the fact that most Ghanaians though afraid of an absolute military regime wish that the military intervenes in helping resolve most (if not all) of the vices we face today (eg illegal mining, sanitation etc). So it is only fair to suggest that every citizen, if possible acquire some military training. So that we can all apply some level of discipline in our daily endeavours.
2. The TEEN BRIGADE should be a 6months duration school for training every Ghanaian final year Senior High School student and any other Ghanaian who attains 18 years with exception to special medical conditions. I suggest so because it is at this level of the educational ladder that a lot of people drop out. Statistics have it that 289,207 students sat for the WASSCE but only about half (1/2) will access to tertiary institutions, so if the military training focuses on only tertiary graduates we’ll have a large number left out of this very important program. The senior high schools also have structures to accommodate final year SHS students and other I8 year’s old nationals who are located in the schools vicinity.
3. The TEEN BRIGADE must have a special curriculum that will encompass the teaching and learning of Nationalism, Patriotism, History, Vocations, Athletics, Mental alertness, ICT etc. For example, Agriculture/School Farm can be made compulsory to help younger once appreciate it value even when they earn white color jobs. This can go a long way to make the country food self-sufficient. Outstanding sports talents can also be identified from here and fed into our national teams and academies
4. I know people would argue that funding the  TEEN BRIGADE would be a challenge, but again I suggest our National Service duration be reduced to 6 months so that the remaining 6months pay would be used to implement the Teen Brigade. Even at that level students can be taught how to save so that some of them can save the little they earn to either further their education or start a small enterprise when they cannot further their education.
The TEEN BRIGADE concept is borne out of a popular bible quotation in Proverbs 22:6, it says “Train up a CHILD the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”, my emphasis is on the word child.
I therefore urge the government to consider introducing military training at the SHS level of the educational ladder.

Emmanuel Oboe Baiden


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