Universities must be decolonised and grounded in African realities, experiences for development  

By Morkporkpor Anku  

Accra, Nov. 19, GNA – Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, a renowned educationist, says for the universities to be more responsive to Ghana’s developmental needs they must be decolonised and grounded in African realities and experiences. 

He said they must be re-engineered to embrace the ‘Sankofarian’ principle to integrate African indigenous knowledge systems and epistemologies in the curriculum and knowledge production. 

Professor Anamuah-Mensah was speaking at the 21st Congregation of the Methodist University Ghana in Accra on the topic: Decolonising the Mindset in Ghanaian Universities: Is Sankofa an Option?”.  

A total number of 701 students graduated  out of which 143 are Postgraduate students, 498 Undergraduate students, 40 Diploma students and 20 Certificate students. 

For the Bachelor’s degrees, 34 had First Class Honours, 162 Second Class Upper, 229 Second Class Lower, 58 Third Class and 15 had ordinary Pass. 

There were a total of 13 awards to 12 deserving graduates for their excellent performance, these are made up of 10 undergraduate and three postgraduate students. 

Out of these, five are females (receiving six awards) and seven are males. 

“Universities must recognize the value of indigenous knowledge system, its ontology and epistemology,” he added. 

He said the Universities should recognize that the indigenous knowledge system was unique and rich and designed to be ardent consumers of the products of foreign industries instead of being engineered to produce superior goods and services. 

Prof Anamuah-Mensah, who was also a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education Winneba, said although Ghanaian Universities, since their set-up had Africanized their academic staff, still continued to develop curricula, and pedagogic structures that were based on borrowed epistemologies that made them look like those in the developed north. 

He said in an attempt to become global tended to be institution in outlook, they were foreign to local cultures, populations, and development challenges. 

He said being clothed in a decontextualised, colonial mindset, woven through the long history of colonial subjugation, “we seem to have developed an attitude of acceptance that devalues our values but celebrates the Western cultural values.” 

The Educationist said the people had imbibed Western epistemologies and ignored their own but when there were difficulties, we ran to the wisdom of the old, adding there is an identity crisis. 

“The Akan symbol, Sankofa and its philosophical and epistemological underpinnings offer the best option for creating a decolonized mindset,” he added. 

He said it admonished stakeholders to look to the past to make positive progress in future. 

Prof Phillip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, the Vice-Chancellor, MUG said the University had introduced the Professional Engagement Series for professionals to interact with the students to have a feel of the blend of theory and practice. 

He said this was to complement the attachments and internships, which were being mainstreamed into every programme.  

The Vice-Chancellor said the University was being repositioned as a research-intensive one.  

He advised the graduates to be level-headed at all times and embrace life, knowing that in the face of opportunity, setbacks exist; but in the face of setbacks, success was assured with discipline, hard work, focus, perseverance and the fear of God.  

He said learning must be continuous and lifelong and as they leave,  they should do well to come back for their access, top-up, master and PhD programmes and/or the several relevant short courses on offer.