Ten Insights into Ghanaian Culture: #10 – Ghanaian Intelligentsia
Education is a highly valued commodity in Ghana. Talk show hosts expound upon it. Members of the public brag flaunt it, seizing every opportunity to participate in intellectual debates on politics and social issues. (Everyone will throw in their 2 cents on these matters, though you will find general consensus about 2 things––that all politicians are corrupt and that the economy is going down the drain.) Parents pride themselves on the level of educational attainment of their children, and adults pride themselves on their pedigrees and their job titles. In short, success is measured, and precipitated, by educational level.
Ghanaian high schools, in particular, have historically been very competitive, both to get into, and in inter-institutional examination results. Much like in England, the school you attend for your secondary education and your undergraduate studies is a matter on which to stake both personal pride and social status. In view of this, don’t expect that people will understand you or admire you for who you are if you announce that you did not, in fact, go to school at all; or that you have a low level of education; or that you have a job that does not fall into the top-5 category of Most Valued Professions: doctor, lawyer, professor, engineer, or architect. I’m not saying you should lie about who you are or what you do. I’m just saying don’t expect to have a conversation around it. That is all.