On 6th March 1957, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence from colonial powers. Ghana’s independence and achievements are celebrated throughout the month of March. Celebrating Ghana’s independence means celebrating the culture, heritage and accomplishments of Ghana and its people. With family and friends on Independence Day, laughter rings out, songs are sung and memories are shared all over Ghana, as people celebrate their history and simultaneously shape the future.
We wanted to join in with the celebrations this year and decided to ask our Foundation First team in Takoradi, Ghana, what Independence Day means to them. We wanted to celebrate what independence has done for education and for the future generations of Ghana.
“The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of Africa.”Dr Kwame Nkrumah, first president of Ghana
Godwin Agbavor – CEO & Foundation First Founder
I grew up as a proud citizen of Ghana, eagerly learning about the history of our independence. To this day, I find myself pondering over one of the most inspirational speeches in African and world history: “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of Africa.” Spoken by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, this statement still holds true today.
To me, President Kwame Nkrumah’s words also encapsulate the significance of independence for the Ghanaian people, which is to be able to successfully manage the affairs of the nation. To transform the nation, I believe a change of mindset is required; all human development begins in the mind, the foundation of each individual.
For me, the independence of Ghana involves the professionalisation and empowerment of the nation’s teachers, in both public and private schools, because every nation’s development pivots around the standard of its education. Every nation that has quality teachers can provide quality education to the young, helping to facilitate positive change and development.
In the words of the late Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon in the fight against poverty.” To me, the independence of Ghana necessitates a conscious investment in the early years because what happens with young ones lasts a lifetime.
For us at Foundation First, the independence of Ghana reminds us of the blood and toil of our forefathers, with the gold on our flag representing our wealth, and the green representing our passion to maintain and nurture the natural beauty of Ghana’s flora and fauna. But above all, Ghana’s independence means championing the rights of children and putting them first because they are the future leaders of the nation.
Esther Akpene Sallah – National Service Personnel
Ghana’s Independence Day helps keep the nation’s memories alive in the minds of children and helps them value the future, freedom and peace. Independence Day shares the message of living in unity with community, society, family and friends.
For children, the cultural aspect of the nation is celebrated through activities and programmes in schools. Patriotic songs, which are known to many children, are heard over the radio and on television and are played frequently during this period.
For teachers, Ghana’s Independence Day celebrations are a time to introduce young learners to, or remind them about, Ghana’s history through storytelling and cultural activities, as well as sharing patriotic songs.
It also provides an opportunity for teachers to continue developing their own knowledge about the significance and importance of Ghana’s independence.
Rutherford Mottey – Photographer and Videographer
For many early childhood educators, Independence Day signifies a day of patriotism because, on this day, we can help to educate young learners about the importance of Ghana’s history and the significance of its future.
When young learners are educated about their culture and environment, they are encouraged to respect and care for the world around them.
Independence Day offers the opportunity to encourage young learners to think about their part in nation-building, as we are all vital to the building of a nation. It also offers an opportunity to tell the history of the struggle for independence and how it became a possibility. Our independence means freedom for learners to express themselves and to use that freedom to improve, learn and experience everyday living.
Emmanuel Brou – MEL Manager
The significance of Ghana’s independence to me is how this momentous event helps us to empower our young learners and
transform their mindsets, by sharing with them stories of the positive impact and sacrifices of our freedom fighters.
Bringing determination and positivity to educators and young learners, Independence Day exhibits the power of nationalism and unity amongst teachers and young learners. It helps teachers to educate young learners about the country’s social, political and economic development in the world and it also encourages them to know more about our rich cultural heritage.
Harriet Delali Deku – Marketing Support Manager
As an early childhood educator, I believe that, after Ghana gained independence, education – especially early childhood education – began to change.
As an early childhood educator, I believe that, after Ghana gained independence, education – especially early childhood education – began to change. The arrival of Europeans in the 15th century brought a lot of change to our education. The traditions and values of the community were taught to children and kept alive through informal education, with the goal of introducing young people into society and keeping the culture alive. In modern-day education, I can now appreciate the importance and benefits of what Ghana’s independence has to offer to young children in terms of maintaining the tradition of cultural preservation.
Sabina Awortwe – Programme and Partnership Manager
Independence involves being able to act or change in a way that fulfils one’s purpose without being constrained by another. Ghana’s independence has given me the freedom and opportunity to champion the importance of early childhood education. Independence also involves the freedom for young Ghanaian children to acquire knowledge and develop confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline and a spirit of patriotism. Independence means helping all young children have a head start in education and bright futures ahead of them.
Ammishadah Elsifie – Programme Support Officer
Early childhood educators are, in a way, the building blocks of learning. They positively contribute to the preservation and development of culture, knowledge, values, attitudes and skills. They help to lay the foundation for education and spark a passion for learning.
Through discovery learning, engagement is encouraged and a love of learning is built. This I believe demonstrates that, without effective early childhood education, children’s futures are at a disadvantage and thus striving for independence would be rendered futile.
As research suggests that early childhood educators can significantly impact the futures of the young children for whom they are responsible, the dreams of our freedom fighters are well cared for in their hands. Independence Day means a lot to early childhood educators because they play a vital role in building up our nation and it is through their vision and leadership that the next generation will thrive.
Eyome Abusah – Programme Support Officer
The significance of Ghana’s independence to me as an early childhood educator is really amazing! Ghana attaining independence has given us the opportunity to expand and diversify our methods and enhance teaching and learning from the preschool level upwards.
Teaching needs to be dynamic; if Ghana were still colonised, we may have been restricted to teaching strategies that would not reflect the educational needs of our children. Independence has given us the opportunity to decide for ourselves, as a nation, which teaching strategies will benefit our children most.
For example, the recent introduction of a standards-based curriculum, which is child- and activity-based, helps Ghanaian children to be critical thinkers and innovative, fitting into society with ease. Similarly, the introduction of teaching standards has given early childhood educators the opportunity to build on their existing expertise, equipping them with the modern skills needed to dynamically impart knowledge to our children.