Drawing for Jobs : Open Letter to Dr. Bawumiah

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Rev. Mrs. Stella A. A. Akosah, Founder/Director - CICS

Government is being asked to promote to the study of Drawing at all levels of the country’s education to stimulate creativity and make more people employable.

Founder and Director of Constellar Institute for Creative Studies, Reverend Mrs. Stellar Akosah, says the fight against unemployment can be won only if people have skills that make them relevant to industry.

In an open letter to Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, she also suggests a national drawing day be instituted to encourage drawing and product design among Ghanaians. 

Read the full letter below:

OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. ALHAJI MAHAMUD BAWUMIA, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA.

 Your Excellency,

This year marks 131 years since the infamous Chicago Haymarket protests of May, 1886, when approximately 35.000 workers walked off their jobs, demanding the standardization of eight -hour work days. Many labour historians point to that year in US history as the inception of International Worker's Day, more commonly referred to as May Day.

Following the Chicago riots, labour protests spread across France, Germany, and the UK. As a result, European governments began to formally recognize the International Worker’s Day, which gradually affected other continents of the world including Africa and our country Ghana.

Renowned Historian, Nelson Lichtenstein, however, found an ancient root for the May Day in the spring festival of Rebirth. Your Excellency, I wish the day which is marked every year had a meaning for the ordinary Ghanaian who – in most case - is unfortunately without a job. I also wish to draw your kind attention on the pandemic of UNEMPLOYMENT as contrasted with the cancer of UNEMPLOYABILITY which is killing the hope of most people in Ghana.

Your Excellency, permit me to congratulate you and your government on your brilliant election as the Drivers of the Hope and Destiny of the People of Ghana for the next four years. I trust that this hope will not be disappointed, especially as the entire nation waits impatiently the unfolding of the ambitious projects and promises you made to us.

I wish, however, to focus of a dangerous virus which is hidden in the Ghana Education Curriculum (from early childhood to the tertiary education). The pandemic of unemployment could be easily healed if the cancer of employability is dealt with. Hosea 4.6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” and the Song of Solomon 2.15 cries for deliverance from “…the little foxes, that spoil the vines”

Your Excellency, “POOR DRAWING SKILL” HAS AFFECTED GHANA’S PRODUCTIVITY AND INDUSTRIAL TAKE-OFF FOR FAR TOO LONG; AND WILL CONTINUE TO DELAY THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THE COUNTRY IF NOTHING IS DONE TO REVERSE THE TREND.

 It cannot be gainsaid that drawing is a major factor in the psychological make-up of the child. As educators, we also know that drawing is an integral part of every subject taught in our schools from Kindergarten through to primary, JHS and SHS to the tertiary education levels. Coming to the production and job market or professional careers, it is reported that over 90% of jobs available worldwide require a good drawing skill to have a full control of the activity.

It is also a fact that all items including our daily wares, electronics, home appliances, vehicles, buildings etc. have all passed through the unavoidable stage of sketching or drawing before they could ever be designed and manufactured; and every new product, model, design, or brand is the result of a new drawing.

Drawing is, therefore ,a key element in the economic development of every nation, because without new products development, the economic growth of a country will always be an illusion. The capitalist economy/world - despite our bilateral and multilateral agreements with our Nation - will not suffer our eyes to open too wide on sensitive issues which could reverse the trend of massive importation of consumer goods we are not producing. It is sad however, to note that little attention is paid to this unique subject called drawing.

Moreover, a survey conducted across Ghana has revealed that over 85% of teachers at the Basic Level of Education neglect the subject or simply avoid it because they cannot draw. Yes our teachers fear drawing, even though it is well known that “a teacher who cannot draw is a lame teacher”.

We are sad to observe our supermarkets and hypermarkets in Ghana filled and flooded with too many imported products which could have been produced in Ghana if the creative drawing/design skills of our people were harnessed.

Your Excellency, We believe the opportune time has now come to refocus on the subject, especially as your government has rightly seen and decided to reverse the evil trend of unproductively by committing to develop the industrial sector through the District Industrialization Programme also known as “One district One Factory Initiative”.

 Our exposure to the world of industry in Ghana and across the globe (over thirty years) informs us that factory establishment or industry planting is driven by the fundamental/basic needs of the human being namely: 1- Feeding/nutrition/health 2- Clothing/Dressing/fashion 3- Accommodation/housing 4- Transportation/communication 5- Education/training. Our rich experience in the world of industry has also taught us that every factory or processing business stands on three basic pillars:

THE MANAGEMENT UNIT, 2- THE PRODUCTION UNIT, AND 3- THE MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION UNIT.

 However, the most important pillar is the PRODUCTION UNIT, because without a product, no management and marketing team can work. Ghanaians are well trained to take jobs in management and marketing position, because most of our educational institutions offer such courses.

Unfortunately, they have used their knowledge to manage and market products that other countries are producing for far too long because the skills and qualifications required to create our own products or to work in the production unit are not provided in the our education system.

And the main component of the production unit is the Design department which is founded on creative drawing. How will a factory work without creative designers, or how can the Ghana Industrialization Programme take off and be sustained without skilled designers in the five-human-need categories identified above? Your Excellency,

The District Industrialization Programme initiated by the Ghana government is an undeniable opportunity for every citizen who commits to play effectively his/her part in this national development agenda.

However, it is observed that the majority of stakeholders and potential beneficiaries of the programme at the local level have very little knowledge about the opportunities offered them, and the necessary preparations they must undergo to avoid being marginalized during the implementation of the programme.

Sadly enough, most targeted beneficiaries of this national development programme are poorly resourced to access the necessary education, information and training which will enlighten them and pave a way for them to be part of this programme and get out of precarity.

Planting a factory or promoting industrialization is not one person’s affair. In this vein, my outfit Constellar Institute for Creative Studies (CICS) has embarked on a series of actions, in partnership with Ghana Education Service (GES), the National Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education (PRINCOF) and the Ghana Art Tutors Conference (GATCOF).

CICS believes that Ghana can become the African Hub of Design within the coming five (5) years if we take the bull by the horns. We hereby wish to relay our efforts to you and formulate few recommendations, for which we kindly request the support of your entire Government, especially the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs(MCRA), the Ministry of Communication (MoC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

OUR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTUR ACTIONS; AND HUMBLE RECOMMENDATIONS.

 1-/ IMMEDIATE ACTIONS FOR THE LONG TERM/SUSTAINABLE IMPACT CICS ACTIONS:

CICS has published a new Creative Arts Series titled “EASY STEPS TO DRAWING 1-6” to help basic school teachers and pupils to reactivate their drawing skills; we have also embarked on a nationwide “YEARLY DRAWING CLINIC” for basic school teachers (private and public) in partnership with Ghana Education Service (GES). CICS is also organizing in partnership with GES a yearly award-winning drawing contest among basic school pupils nationwide; for which we are working with the media to create a seasonal TV reality show in the near future. The kind support of your government will be appreciated.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Drawing should be made a separate subject (disconnected from Creative Art and BDT), and compulsory/examinable from early childhood education to Junior High School and more credit/hour should be given to the subject by head teachers nationwide. A “NATIONAL DRAWING DAY” should be instituted to stimulate, promote and encourage drawing and product design among pupils, students and the general public.

2-/ IMMEDIATE ACTIONS FOR THE MEDIUM TERM IMPACT RECOMMENDATIONS:

· Drawing should be re-introduced at the SHS level especially in the technical schools with a special emphasis on computer-aided drawing/design.

· Teachers at the SHS level should be updated to the latest programmes and techniques for design.

· Technical and Vocational institutions should be re-branded as “Centers for Creative Studies” which are Drawing/Creative Design-centered and production-oriented institutions with departments such as transportation design, fashion and accessory design, product design, etc. CICS can provide technical assistance to GES authorities if requested.

· A department should be created in the “Centers for Creative Studies” to accommodate informal technical students (apprentices) who want to formalize their technical education.

· Computer labs in SHS should be equipped with adequate software for drawing and product design.

· Regular exhibitions should be organized to showcase students’ talents, skills and achievement.

· Lecturers in Art/Design/technology Departments of our Technical Universities, Universities of Science and Technology, and Universities of Education should be up-dated and upgraded on the new concept of Creative Studies.

· Partnership should be established between these institutions and international institutions which offer the latest courses in Creative Studies.

· Our Technical Universities, Universities of Science and Technology as well as our University of Education should be equipped with the adequate modern tools and equipment for Applied Art.

 3-/ IMMEDIATE ACTIONS FOR THE SHORT TERM IMPACT CICS ACTIONS:

CICS has embarked on a “THREE-YEAR ART TUTORS’ DRAWING CLINIC” for Colleges of Education in partnership with PRINCOF. The first edition has just ended on 27th April 2017 at the Abankrom GNAT Guest House in the Ashanti Region.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

· Drawing should be made compulsory and examinable for all teacher-trainees from first year to the final year of their training.

· Distance education students and all special teacher-training should include Art and drawing.

 · No teacher-trainee should be sent to the classroom if their drawing skill is not well ascertained by examiners.

IMMEDIATELY:

Constellar Institute for Creative Studies (CICS) requests the kind support of your entire government as we launch a nationwide Educational Tour dubbed “INDUSTRIAL EMPOWERMENT SUMMIT” to create general awareness and educate potential beneficiaries about the required skills and training to be employed in a manufactory job. A letter to that effect has been addressed to your office by CICS.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Mrs. Stella A. A. AKOSAH Founder/Director - CICS