By Nii B. Andrews.

Most discerning Ghanaians will affirm with utter despondency that our educational system is in shambles.

The politrikcians have used it as a football over the last several decades and totally messed it up.

Speaking to and engaging with the random public system JHS graduate from my ‘hood fuels pathos for what has been been lost.

A ludicrous yoyo has been in effect; now 3 runs, then 4 runs, then back to 3 runs – or is it 4? It is difficult to keep up with the gyrations and the accompanying ridiculous explanations.

EDUCATION IS AN ASSET: Kwadwo Ani, acrylic on canvas, 68 x 124 cm, 1998. Signed and dated left lower corner; title and medium verso. Private collection, purchased from the artist.


Meanwhile, the policy czars have their kids in bank breaking, air-conditioned private schools – part of the reason for the rampant corruption, sleight of hand and mean spiritedness of the middle class as they strive tooth and claw to keep up with the Mensahs.

And the kids in these private institutions?

They are often totally deluded regarding the concrete reality about themselves and the larger community.

A significant number do not even speak or understand a Ghanaian language – but are happy to gorge themselves on “pizza” and fries with ketchup thinking that they are acting posh.

Whether public education is free or not is certainly not the issue.

BE OF YOURSELF: Kwadwo Ani, acrylic on canvas, 97 x 64 cm, 2010, signed and dated left lower corner; title verso. Private collection, purchased from the artist.


Have we even settled the question and developed a consensus on what kind of education we need to offer and why?

Of course it is too much to expect that anyone who proposes and trumpets free education has already worked out the modalities to implement it.

Have you forgotten where we are and who we are?

Have we in recent decades planned anything important and productive…or been able to maintain anything of value that was bequeathed to us?

While we attempt to answer these questions, let us reflect on these compositions by Kwadwo Ani.

HEADS DOWN: Kwadwo Ani, acrylic on canvas, 91 x 91 cm, 2010, signed and dated left lower corner. Private collection, purchased from the artist.

Here, we do not do art for art’s sake; but you already knew that.

Ani starts in 1998 with the realism of a proud nation devoted to providing the best education for its children. The title, “Education is an asset”. Our national flag flying triumphantly at the top of the painting says it all.

By 2010, anything goes – there is the chaos of a classroom – with no teaching materials whatsoever depicted in the painting. This is in total contradistinction to the former piece. The title of this painting is “Be of yourself”.

Then there is yet another painting from 2010 wherein the brooding colors of the composition depict a menacing ?adult/politrikcian/teacher with the kids completely cowed – “Heads Down”, is the title and it depicts our current reality in more ways than one.

The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

That’s the way we do it!


  1. Good morning. Your article is a fantastic depiction of the current educational debate. Love the accompanying art relevancies ….. nice nice.
    You never disappoint, but then that’s you!
    Have a great day.

  2. As chronicler of our times – in our case , ‘bad times ‘.good morning Nii. Another good one !!!

  3. Beautiful article about the sad state of our current education system and breathtaking art pieces as well. Well written!

Leave a Reply