Monthly Archives: April 2011
Bill Gates organized an enormous session to recruit a new chairman for Microsoft Eastern Europe. Five thousand candidates assembled in a large room. Ayodele, a Nigerian guy, was one of the candidates.
Bill Gates thanked all the candidates for coming and asked those who do not know Java program to leave. Two thousands candidates left the room. Ayodele says to himself “I do not know Java but I have nothing to lose if I stay. I’ll give it a try.
Bill Gates asked the candidates who never had experience of managing more than 100 people to leave. Two thousand left the room. Ayo says to himself “I never managed anybody but myself but I have nothing to lose if I stay. What can happen to me? So he stays, then Bill Gates asked the candidates who do not have management diploma to leave. Five hundred people left the room. Ayodele says to himself, “I left school at 15 but what have I to lose? So he stays in the room.
Lastly, Bill asked the candidates who do not speak Serb-Croatian to leave. 498 candidates left the room. Ayodele says to himself, “I do not speak Serb-Croatian but what do I have to lose? So he stays and finds himself with one other candidate. Everyone else has gone. Bill Gates joined them and said, “Apparently you are the only two candidates who speak Serb-Croatian, so I’d like to hear you have a conversation together in that language.
Calmly, Ayodele turns to the other candidate and says “Wahala dey o!”
The other candidate answers “Oh, Oga na wah oooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!”
Bill Gates “You are both hired”
Moral of the story: NEVER GIVE UP! Don’t be intimidated in life!
They are the most beautiful women on planet earth. They are very intelligent. They help build their men. They make homes lovely and they raise their children very well. That is the definition of the Ghanaian woman. I believe that the bad ones…yeah you can’t get all of them to be angels…. should also be treated with respect even if all they do is negative. Below are some of the worst ways to break up with the Ghanaian woman who is sexy as cheese.
7 With Clichés
Let’s just be clear here. Saying: “It’s not you, it’s me” is ridiculous. You’re breaking up with her. You don’t want to be with her. There’s something (or some things) about her that you just aren’t into. Also, saying: “Let’s be friends” is plain disrespectful. If you’re ditching the situation, you owe her the respect of taking a step back. Leave her alone. If you ended it, you have no say on the friendship potential. That’s her choice and you need to suck it up, stay away and ditch the cliché mode as it is definitely one of the worst ways to break up with a woman. You can’t eat your cake and have it. Can you? So stop that trick. Hehehehe…
Yes, this is the 21st century but breaking up is pretty much stuck in the past. Don’t even think about ending it online. Dear Ama letters have always been disastrous so the modern equivalent via e-mail is completely unacceptable and flagged as one of the worst ways to break up with a woman. Phone call breakups have never been easy, so be a man: Do it in person. And if all this doesn’t tell you that text messaging is an absolute no-no, you’re probably too far gone to be helped anyway. Hi Ama, I can’t do this anymore. Dude, you can do better than that. Be brave because you were when conning her. Aba!
5 By Assumption
Sure, you’re clear on how you feel, but you’d better be sure she is too. Don’t take it for granted that a brief mention of how things aren’t going terribly well will be accepted as an end to the affair. What you say can be taken a number of different ways. You need to make sure that you limit this possibility for interpretation, so spell it out. Don’t count on anything less than a clear statement that the relationship is done. If you’re not saying it, she’s not going to hear it. That’s how hardcore some Ghanaian ladies are. Beware!
4 Through Provocation
When a little boy pesters a little girl, it usually means that he has a thing for her. If, instead of getting straight to the point, you turn pestering into provocation to locate a convenient moment to dissolve the partnership, this is going to be mighty confusing, annoying and angering for her and it’s one of the worst ways to break up with a woman. Sure, you may disagree over Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, NPP and NDC and even the best secondary school in Ghana but if you make this the relationship-defining issue, you can count on being confirmed as crazy. Bet you beat Kwaw Kesse to it. Abodam!
Though from the outset, it may seem like a good idea to break the news in a public place, it’s like a no-man’s land, and that’s just the problem. With public breakups there’s no telling what might happen. In this situation, the event is simply not contained. If she gets upset, then you’re responsible for making her cry in public. If she’s angry, you look bad as well. Public humiliation is never desirable (for you or her), so close the door to this possibility and stick to locations that offer you and your soon-to-be ex a level of privacy. Behold the Accra Mall!
2 By Cheating
It’s guaranteed that it’ll be over if she finds out you’ve cheated but you’ll also be forever known as the bastard she caught cheating. It doesn’t matter how much you want to get out or how much another woman catches your fancy, you’re bound to look bad if there’s any awkward overlap. Also, once you’ve done the deed, you’re technically available immediately but if you want to up the positive-memory potential, you’ll probably want to wait it out a bit before bouncing back into the dating scene. Some Ghanaian guys even flirt in public so their ladies will notice and that will eventually end the relationship. Yeah, the ladies know that trick now!
1 Through Avoidance
Again, clarity is the best policy. Yes, if you just quit answering phone calls, texts, e-mails, and your door, she’s bound to get the message, however, she’s also bound to get mighty upset and you should know this is the worst way to break up with a woman. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment because it will take time and energy to dodge and weave between repeated cracks at communication– take the high road and end it with dignity. She’ll most certainly still be hurt but she won’t be left with the image of you as an unfeeling, insensitive ass who won’t pick up the phone. Be a gentleman who is also sexy as cheese!
Do you have any other way you want to share? Let us hear about it!
After showing a steel of nerves, shrewd and incredible counter-attacking football on Wednesday to defeat their arch rivals for the Copa Del Rey, Real Madrid went to Valencia and did another thing worthy of mention….if not praise. Jose Mourinho tried his luck at the Mestalla and it paid off immensely. I even wrote on twitter that, Mestalla is now the home ground of Real Madrid. Many are the people who said that was an understatement. Not only did the score line make Madridismo happy but Mourinho found impressive reserves as well.
Nine changes brought nine goals – six for Madrid, all from the trio of Kaka, Benzema and Higuain. The trivote has worked for Real Madrid against Barcelona in the two el clasicos gone by. This time around, it wasn’t a trivote but a magnificent trio of skillful players who could do anything and everything with the ball at their feet.
Valencia did not help matters as their defense crumbled against Real Madrid in the first half. “I’ve never suffered such shame on a football field,” was coach Unai Emery’s angry assessment after the game. “We played like a team who is 15th in the league.”
Except Valencia are not 15th on the league table. They are one of the clubs who will accompany Real Madrid and Barcelona to Europe next season. They are the 3rd on the league table in Spain.
One, two, three – Benzema, Kaka, Higuain. It was simple, yet a counter-attacking masterclass; honed on the training ground, executed on the battleground; and in truth, few sides would have coped. The movement was exquisite, the understanding exemplary, the combinations sublime. Confidence oozed; class bubbled. Madrid’s attackers were sublime and lethal. Each one knew where the other was. It was like they were connected as with the case of twins. They exploited the space, got behind the full-backs, made good use of the flanks, passed intuitively, gelled impressively and finished ruthlessly – with pace, power and panache.
Benzema was lethal. He did a lot of runs. His work rate has improved tremendously and he isn’t the man we saw some months back. He has the zeal to excel now and he isn’t lazy. Adebayor I must say has helped in the development of Benzema. As soon as he came in, we saw a great change in the attitude of Benzema. He was as if a man possessed by evil spirits to do the impossible. Only this time, what Benzema did, does and will do isn’t an impossible mission. He has the talent and will surely make it at Real Madrid. He wouldn’t be an example of Gilardino at AC Milan.
Higuain was devastating. His pace and positional play is something worthy of emulation. He is and will be useful in Mourinho’s counter-attacking play. He has been missed by all Madridismo but he proved again that even after injury, he can score hat-tricks. Something all Madridistas will be happy about. Renaldo, the El Fenomeno has a competitor now.
Kaka was everywhere. This could have been one of Kaka’s best games ever since he joined Real Madrid. He scored two and assisted two. This was the Kaka of old. This is the Kaka that I don’t want to see leave Real Madrid. He will surely do well as Benzema has exemplified.
And together, they were magnificent and unplayable. Mourinho watched in delight. “We played spectacular football,” he said afterwards. “We were absolutely fantastic.” It is going to be another 2 weeks of Champions League football between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The remaining clasicos will be a joy to watch. Barcelona are now giving Real Madrid the needed respect as was depicted from Busquets press conference yesterday. “They are a great team and perhaps the worst rival we could have faced right now in the Champions League because they know us, they have a great coach and there is great rivalry,” he said.
Barcelona is the team to beat. A silky attacking football, players with the greatest of techniques and a coach who makes things happen out of nowhere.
It is time to observe another 180 minutes of clasico action. Injuries are piling up. Coaches are mapping up strategies. Formations will keep on varying. Cards will flow. Only the strong will survive!
- Remember your One Thing. Your startup can only do one thing well at a time. Know Your One Thing. Write it on the wall. Repeat it every day. Put it at the top of every regular company-wide communication. Don’t let anything distract you and your team from it.
- Remember that you’re only as good as The Team around you. Spend time cultivating your team. Bring in people who are better at their jobs than you could ever be. Motivate them and drive them to do things they never thought they could do. Give them freedom to roam and discover while guiding them towards the One Thing. Treat your co-workers like family. Startups can be a grind. Getting your team to love being part of your company is critical to success. A startup is not just a place to work, it’s a way of life. As CEO, your job is not to do everyone else’s job. Your job is to help everyone else do their jobs better. Also make sure to give regular feedback to your executives on your expectations for them and areas where you need them to improve.
- Set the Tone. Everyone — your co-workers, your customers, your partners, your investors, the press, your Twitter and Facebook followers — takes their cues from you. Does your company value Speed? Analytics? Innovation? Customer Service? Ultimately your company culture will largely reflect how you function as CEO. So, don’t be a rude jerk. Walk the walk and personally act the way you want people to think about when they think about your company. It’s easy to get this wrong. If you run around like a chicken with its head cut off, your company will too. If you forget to smile, your company will too. If you lack patience, your company will too. If you don’t say please and thank you, neither will your company. The company is bigger than any one individual but it reflects the personalities and work habits of its employees, and you’re the leader.
- Spend at least 75% of your personal time on your Product. Your company is only as good as its product. Put your stamp on it. Insist that it be excellent. Dig in and get your hands dirty and manage features and user benefits. Where I come from the CEO must be the Chief Product Officer. As CEO you should feel responsible for every pixel on the screen. I know that may seem like overkill but your product is the user-facing output of all your hard work and its every function should reflect your goals and objectives.
- Run the Numbers. I’m talking less budget and cash flow here and more key metrics. Send a weekly email to your team summarizing all the key data that drives your business. Write this email yourself. Writing the email will force you to dig in and analyze the data. Own the data. Share the data. Make it your job to make sure that everyone in the company is focused on the numbers that really drive your business. Boil it down to at most 3 to 5 metrics that really matter.
- Exercise. I can’t stress enough the importance of this. Make yourself go to the gym at least 4 days per week, preferably 5 or 6. Working out gives you the energy and stamina to solve complex problems. Being CEO is incredibly mentally challenging. Use the gym as a way to stay fresh and to clear your head. If you don’t do this already, I promise you you’ll be shocked at how much easier life gets when you are regularly working out. Step away from the keyboard and enter the gym!
- Ask for Feedback. Guess what? You’re not as smart as you think you are. And you will make mistakes. Ask your employees, customers, partners, etc. for regular feedback. Make sure you have at least 1 executive on your team who can give you honest feedback about your own performance. Make sure you have at least 1 outside board member or close advisor who can give you regular input on corporate development issues (e.g. fundraising, board management).
- Get Out of the Office. It’s all too easy to manage from behind the keyboard and just live around your email inbox. Get out of the office and talk to real customers, partners, suppliers, bloggers, press, etc. Listen to what they have to say and take it to heart. Don’t just feed them the vision. Stop and listen to the reality.
- Blog, Tweet, Read, & Participate in CEO forums. Writing stuff like this is therapeutic. Share your lessons learned, pain points, and your tips and tricks. Don’t be afraid to hang it all out there and get feedback from your virtual network. Read hacker news to keep up on what other startup CEOs and tech geeks are sharing. Leverage your investors’ networks to get advice and input from other CEO’s who are in similar situations.
- Manage Cash. Cash is your lifeblood. You must know at all times how much cash you have left, how long it can last you, and what the impact of decisions you make will have on your cash position. And don’t forget to raise more money long before you need it!
- Act Like an Investor. At the end of each week, ask yourself the following question: Did our actions this past week increase value? What was the ROI on your time spent this past week? If you go 2 weeks in a row or 2 weeks in a month without a positive ROI on your time spent, you’re clearly doing the wrong things.
- Have fun. This stuff is too hard and takes too much energy to not enjoy it. Make sure to have fun every single day. Even the tough days need to have some joy in them. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing the wrong things. One of my favorite sayings is, “mature, but don’t grow up.”
- Love. Love your company. Love your co-workers. Love your investors. Love your partners. Love your suppliers. And most importantly, love the people you come home to — the people whose support makes it possible for you to get up and do it again each day.
What does your list look like?
It’s a Good Friday and I certainly learnt something good today. I always learn a lot from life. Whatever comes my way tends to teach me a thing or two. Even the most absurd of things carry a lot of lessons that help shape a person and their future.
I took a taxi today to a meeting I was really late for. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a Range Rover car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. I couldn’t help but marvel. Dude was arrogant. That taught me something. Some people are so arrogant in life because of the things they have achieved. People tend to forget the MAN who even blessed them with such riches.
This was a man who was smoking and never cared about other people on the road. I can say he never even cared about his life too. He has been so engrossed in the belief that driving a Range Rover which happens to be an expensive car makes him a human being above others. Pride always comes before a fall.
My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was really friendly. So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to our graves! ‘This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or in the streets. We all get disappointed in life. We all get betrayed. People even deny us.
Remember Peter denied Jesus today. From the garden of Gethsemane to the cross, Jesus went through 14 stations of suffering. Every single thing that happened had a meaning. I will delve into that on another post. Even on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them…..” We must learn to cope with the situations that we encounter each and every day. People will dump their garbage on you. People will try to make you do the unthinkable but you must exercise restraint and make sure you overcome….and after overcoming, try not to dump yours on other people. The other people could be your children, wife, husband, friends, neighbors or even acquaintances.
The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. You are a successful person. You are a conqueror. You are a champion!
Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love those who treat you right.
Pray for the ones who don’t and cause a change in people’s lives. That is the essence of Easter.
Have a garbage-free life!
We’ve made it halfway through the four unbearably tense matches in 18 days between Real Madrid and Barcelona and now we know that these games aren’t just pitting Spain’s two best football clubs against each other, but the two highest paid sports team in the world. Yes, according to SportingIntelligence.com, the two Spanish giants with their massive TV contracts and dizzying collection of international superstars have overtaken the New York Yankees as the teams that throw the most cash at their players.
From Sporting Intelligence’s report on the matter:
The average first team pay at Barcelona has been calculated at £95,081 [$152,130] per player per week, or £4,944,211 [7,910,737] per year in the period under review. Real Madrid’s players in No2 place earned £88,421 [$141,474] per week (£4.6m or $7.4m per year) while first-team stars at the Yankees, at No3, will earn an average of £81,206 [$129,929] per man per week in the 2011 season, or £4.2m [$6.8] per year.
Following the news that Real Madrid became the highest earning sports team ever, this development probably shouldn’t come as a surprise and once the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules come into effect, this could prove to be a short-lived reign at the top.
Following the Yankees on the list are the NBA pair of the L.A. Lakers and the Orlando Magic, then come double winners Chelsea and treble winners Inter Milan. Here’s the full top 12…
The number of European football clubs on the list just edge out the number of NBA franchises by a tally of five to four while the locked out NFL is nowhere to be found in the top 12. Surely the Yankees will take this as a challenge, though, and offer $4 billion for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real Madrid won their first Copa del Rey trophy since 1993 after defeating Barcelona 1-0 in extra-time on Thursday.
Jose Mourinho’s squad also won their first trophy since 2008 at Valencia’s Mestalla, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s terrific header in the 103rd minute.
The fixture between Spain’s two biggest clubs is dubbed ‘El Clasico’, but this match was far from a classic, with Mourinho’s side stifling Barcelona with their excellent defence and a crowded midfield.
Barcelona enjoyed most of the early possession but could not break down a stubborn Real side, who had the majority of the first-half chances.
The best of those came 10 minutes before half-time, with Barcelona’s back-up goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto, who was called up to replace Victor Valdes, required to make a low save to deny Ronaldo.
Real nearly opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when Mesut Oezil’s ball was nodded onto the post by the impressive Pepe, who could only watch as the ball bounced wide after hitting the woodwork.
Barcelona improved early in the second half and Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta went close to scoring the opener, while Pedro did find the back of the net but had his goal correctly disallowed for offside after Messi had set him up, but played the pass marginally late.
Angel Di Maria, who was fantastic for the victors, had a chance to win the game in normal time, but his strike was well saved by Pinto as the match went to extra-time.
The goal eventually came thanks to fine work down the left hand side from Marcelo and Di Maria, with the Argentine producing an inch-perfect cross for Ronaldo, who met the ball with a powerful header to delight the Madrid half of the crowd.
Barcelona tried in vain to equalise and although Di Maria was sent off for a second yellow card in the dying stages of the second period of extra time, they were too late to grab a winner.
The result was the first defeat in a final for Pep Guardiola since he took over as coach of the Catalan giants in 2008 and could give Real a psychological edge heading into their two-legged Champions League semi-final with Barca, beginning on April 27.
Did you know that 15th April, 2011 was World Entrepreneurship Day? Say the truth, you didn’t know. Ok, did you also know that 45 entrepreneurs were honored in Ghana? If you didn’t know the first, there is no way you will know the second. Lastly, did you know those honored are the same old people we know? The likes of Kofi Amoabeng of UT Bank, Dr Michael Agyekum of Kama Group of Companies etc. I therefore decided to share some five legal mistakes made by entrepreneurs. I hope it gets to help the young ones in the country.
#5: Waiting to consider international intellectual property protection.
Patents are granted on a country-by-country basis (with a single application available for the European Union). In the United States, if an invention is sold or made public, there’s a year’s grace period to file a patent application. Everywhere else, if the invention is sold or publicized prior to filing the patent application, the invention is unpatentable in that country. For example, if the invention is publicly disclosed to a Japanese national visiting a tradeshow in the United States, then under Japanese patent law, if no patent application has been filed, that disclosure makes the invention unpatentable in Japan. The same is true with trademarks. A tremendous amount of money might be spent in developing a brand in the United States, yet when the product is shipped overseas it could violate trademarks of companies dealing in similar goods outside the United States. One must make intelligent choices of where they think their markets are, and how much money to spend at an early stage in order to insure that the brand is available in those markets.
#4: Disclosing inventions without a nondisclosure agreement or before the patent application is filed.
If patent protection hasn’t been obtained, or in cases where a patent is not available, the only protection is to maintain something as a trade secret. To do so, one must show that they’ve taken reasonable steps to keep it secret from competitors.
Is it wise to get potential venture capitalists to sign a nondisclosure agreement? In the best of all worlds, yes, but most won’t. Before disclosing to anyone, one must learn who has a reputation for integrity in the industry. In dealing with most people, it’s wise to require them to sign nondisclosure agreements. It needn’t be elaborate, but it should say that they acknowledge they may be exposed to trade secrets, and they agree not to use or disclose them without permission. Business plans should expressly state on the cover page that they are confidential and proprietary. That’s not as strong as a nondisclosure agreement, but laws in some states suggest that if a person knows they have been exposed to a trade secret, they can’t use it or disclose it without permission from the owner.
#3: Starting a business while employed by a potential competitor, or hiring employees without first checking their agreements with the current employer and their knowledge of trade secrets.
The law is clear that if someone is currently working for a company, particularly if her or she is a key employee, they cannot operate a competing business. Even just incorporating may spark a lawsuit from the current employer. Would-be entrepreneurs should first go to their current employer and either resign or tell them what they’re doing and ask them if they’d be interested in investing. Amazingly, that’s often a very smooth way of ending that relationship. Under no circumstances should they misrepresent the nature of the new business.
Even after leaving the current employer, one still cannot use or disclose the company’s trade secrets. Under the so-called inevitable disclosure doctrine, if someone has been exposed to trade secrets at their job and leaves to work for someone else, and if their responsibilities in the new job are sufficiently similar, some courts will conclude that it’s inevitable that they will use the information that they had from the earlier position. They could face an injunction prohibiting them from working for the new employer until a number of months go by and whatever trade secrets they had are stale.
It also helps to know whether potential recruits are subject to covenants not to compete. States vary in terms of how enforceable they are, but one shouldn’t assume they are not. One should also check to see what assignments of inventions might have been signed. Personnel files should be reviewed, and recruits should check theirs, to be certain that a covenant not to compete or an assignment of inventions wasn’t tucked into a signed non-disclosure agreement.
#2: Promising more in the business plan than can be delivered and failing to comply with state and federal securities laws.
If someone promises to do something and knows that they can’t perform that promise, that’s considered fraud. In a business plan, one must make an honest appraisal of what’s doable and set forth their assumptions, so the person putting up money can judge whether they are realistic. Can entrepreneurs be sued by their funders for fraud? Yes. Trying to squeeze out a little extra valuation by fudging the numbers erodes credibility, makes investors less trusting, and ultimately impairs the ability to get subsequent rounds of financing.
Finally, anyone selling stock or other securities must comply with both the federal and state securities laws by either registering the securities (rare for a start-up) or meeting all the requirements for an applicable exemption. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. As one judge put it in a decision upholding criminal convictions for violating the securities laws: “No one with half a brain can offer ‘an opportunity to invest in our company’ without knowing that there is a regulatory jungle out there.”
#1: Thinking any legal problems can be solved later.
There’s a tendency to think, “Once I get my funding, once I’m up and running, then I’ve got time to hire the lawyers; right now, I’m running as fast as I can to get my business plan done and raising money.” This is shortsighted logic. Many of the points made here are problems that can’t just be patched up later. Does that mean that one should devote all of their time, effort, and money to the legal issues? No. That’s a good reason to hire a competent lawyer. Excellent legal talent can be retained for relatively little money up front at the early stages. It will cost much less to get it right at the beginning than to try to sort it all out later and correct it.
A retired educationist, Mr. K. B. Asante, has observed that the overemphasis on examination is partly to blame for the country’s educational problems. He said the dictatorial nature of examinations in Ghana’s schools de-emphasized the critical element of education – acquiring knowledge to be able to solve problems in the society.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Mr. Asante said while passing exams was important, creating the impression that the ultimate aim of education was passing examination, was counterproductive.
Mr. Asante also has concerns about the form of examinations in the country’s schools. He believes setting up objective tests for students was not really a proper assessment but conceded the teeming number of students per class makes it practically impossible for the teacher to mark essays.
He said the curricula should allow teachers some flexibility to determine how and what to teach students. “If you want real education, you need to get the students to enjoy and understand what they are learning,” he added.
He is even more worried about the values the society has about education. “When we were young, the people we looked up to, were people with knowledge, people who were supposed to be very learned. Now [however], society has different values – if you make money you are important – so people go to school, even young people, aspiring to a certain position to make money,” he noted.
He said, under those circumstances, education is no longer a means to acquire knowledge and help the society.
“These days the emphasis is on passing the exam, getting a First Class, getting a profession and the aim is to live well, to put it bluntly, make money and that is the value of society. When you have such value predominating, you cannot get the best out of education,” he stated.
The former diplomat said parents must take keen interest in the education of their children, stressing that relying on extra classes will not necessarily work. Source: myjoyonline.com
I was beside myself with joy when I read this article on 1st March, 2011. Not only is Mr. Asante a role model in Ghana, he is a man who knows a lot about education. I saw and experienced a lot of ugly things during the Basic Education Certificate Examination for the junior high school students in Ghana which ends today. The essence of examination is misunderstood by certain stakeholders of education at the junior level.
A test or an examination (or “exam”) is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s knowledge, skill, aptitude, physical fitness, or classification in many other topics. A test may be administered orally, on paper, on a computer or in a confined area that requires a test taker to physically perform a set of skills. Tests vary in style, rigor and requirements. For example, in a closed book test, a test taker is often required to rely upon memory to respond to specific items whereas in an open book test, a test taker may use one or more supplementary tools such as a reference book or calculator when responding to an item. A test may be administered formally or informally. An example of an informal test would be a reading test administered by a parent to a child. An example of a formal test would be a final examination administered by a teacher in a classroom or an I.Q. test administered by a psychologist in a clinic. Formal testing often results in a grade or a test score. A test score may be interpreted with regards to a norm or criterion, or occasionally both. The norm may be established independently, or by statistical analysis of a large number of participants.
Senior high schools are able to admit students from the junior level based on the BECE. Apparently, the BECE has lost its meaning if what I witnessed is anything to go by. I believe there will be a lot of students who will be admitted into their selected or first choice senior high schools but will not do well since they had their way in the BECE. Leakage of examination papers has been a problem in Ghana. Even in our universities, examination questions get leaked to students. It is a well known fact that some female students sleep with lecturers in exchange for the exam papers or grades. The same can be said of the senior high schools. What worries me is that, authorities pay so much attention to the senior high schools and universities leaving the junior high examinations to rot. An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.
Each morning before a paper, students from various schools are seen reading answers and not notes. What I observed really got me astounded. I decided to pass by one school and talk with some of the students. I asked them how the paper went and the general answer was, “easy because we had the questions.” Teachers felt no iota of shyness when they admitted they were given the questions. A shocking revelation was that, the policewoman on duty took 5 cedis from each of the proprietors of the schools so she wouldn’t be strict, making way for teachers to help their students. I wish I wasn’t talking about this but if we don’t talk about our problems, we will never get them solved. Ghana must move forward. A better Ghana cannot be achieved while the future leaders are fed with answers before an exam. It is unethical and doesn’t help nurture students for the future. It must be frowned upon and measures put in place to nip it in the bud.
In my opinion, the government and other stakeholders of education do not hold the BECE so high. If we are building a better Ghana, we must let our future leaders know that examinations don’t kill. The fear of examination has crippled the students to the extent that they worry parents to get them money to buy question papers and even answers.
Education… has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading. ~G.M. Trevelyan. That is what our nation is turning the future leaders into. It is high time we paid so much attention to the BECE, to the junior high education and to our future leaders. We must make Ghana better. We must shape our destiny. No one can do that for us. We must do it ourselves. Long live Ghana…. Long live our future leaders!