The Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has observed that today’s global complexities require thorough, critical decision-making processes and therefore call for a paradigm shift in the leadership skills set needed to navigate society through these complex waters.
Dr. Prempeh made these remarks when he delivered the maiden lecture of the Danquah Institute’s Leadership Series on the topic ‘World Class Education: An Imperative for the Next Generation of Leaders’ at Alisa Swiss Hotel in Accra. The event was chaired by Prof. Mrs Akua Kuenyehia, a former Judge of the International Criminal Court.
Paying tribute to Dr. J. B Danquah, who died in detention 54 years ago this month, he observed that as a lawyer, writer and philosopher, he fought many intellectual battles over what he ardently believed leadership should be about. The Minister noted, however, that within a single generation, science and technology have changed our lives beyond recognition, especially within the last decade or two, “The opportunities and challenges afforded us in today’s world through knowledge are increasingly complex, and include cybercrime, climate change, governance, artificial intelligence, social inequalities and societal conflicts. These are increasingly challenging our traditional ways of life and effectively therefore our traditional understanding of leadership”, Dr. Prempeh stated.
Tomorrow’s leaders, he declared, must be people who are adaptive to new challenges, flexible, enduring, self-reflective, and team players with high-level global and cultural awareness and intelligence. We need people who can build and sustain strong institutions, keep to their integrity and are effective communicators. To this end, government must strive to ensure that its current education system is able to meet the anticipated needs by equip its young citizens with these essential skills.
Setting out the reforms the NPP government is pursing in education towards this purpose, the Education Minister touched on increasing access to senior high school education through the Free Senior High School programme, a review of the pre-tertiary curriculum, the mainstreaming of technical and vocational training and education, reforms to teacher education and professionalization and a strengthening of the regulatory framework for school inspection, among others.
Concluding his lecture, Dr. Prempeh declared “President Akufo-Addo’s government believes in pursing excellence beyond academic work, because a life of academic excellence without more is meaningless. I believe in our ability as a nation to transcend our challenges and rise to the occasion to bring change and dynamism to public office, inspired by the many patriotic sons and daughters of this glorious nation who have over the years hoisted her flag aloft with excellent leadership skills.”
The lecture attracted a cross section of Ghanaians from the public sector, civil society organisations, academia, and youth groups and included an interactive panel discussion.