Not many Africans have heard of Patrick Awuah. He is the founder of Ashesi university, a liberal arts college located in Accra,Ghana.
He is a constant champion of the need for Africa to radically change its education system. He favors a liberal arts education which in his opinion develops critical thinking, creativity and leadership skills in students. Mr.Awuah is a beneficiary of the liberal Arts education, having attended Swarthmore College in the US. So it’s understandable why he has developed such a mindset.
He reckons that a liberal arts education is the only way for the continent to transform itself. He is one of the thousands of Microsoft millionaires and it is understandable why he thinks so. At Microsoft, he always wondered how a single company could have more revenues than his own native Ghana. According to him, the unique education system in the US was the main reason that spawned many creative minds that worked at Microsoft and elsewhere. His work colleagues at Microsoft always came up with one creative idea after another.
The Ghanaian education system, he reckons, is quite the opposite. The education system according to him, is very rigid and all people care about is resuscitating information in order to score high grades. It is such a mindset that he hopes to achieve.However, many policy makers in the country are likely to dismiss his assertions given that they are beneficiaries of that system. Another major concern is how he will ensure that his students do not get subsumed into the system once they graduate into the real world. His critics point out that some of the biggest kleptocrats in the continent were educated at the elite universities in the US that espoused the same virtues that he promotes. He has however had many supporters and the university has in deed started bearing fruits. For instance, the university has boasted an employment rate of 98% for its graduates since its inception in 2002.