When learning to write the english alphabets, most children start with capitals (upper cases). Two common arguments educators use are that upper cases are easier for children to master. They have less curves. Upper cases are found effortlessly by children in their environments. For example, shop signboards are every so often in capital letters. Thus, children start the writing process with capitals before progressing to lower cases. Opposing schools of thought believe that teaching children upper cases can be a form of passing on bad habits. They believe it is detrimental while children encounter less than 10% of texts in lower cases in the future. Most literature is in lower cases, so why not start with lower cases then?
Let us step out of the classroom or pedagogy into the future where children are now adults and do not for a second consider how their writing skills started. Or dare I say, care less of how their writing skills began but appreciate the fact that they can write. And the best part is, they cannot recall or explain how it started, with lower cases or upper cases.
One major challenge of many economies is corruption. The ability to skirt accepted procedures by concealing an envelope in the folder or squeezing the five Ghana Cedis note in the hands of the policeman who questioned the broken headlights. While this was happening who was watching? Was it a toddler or the new intern? How can a tree be uprooted unless we know the extent of its roots? Abruptly removing that tree can end up destroying something else, even valuable. I think it is not entirely right to believe that corruption is a thing of politicians, unless all politicians are of one family, country and are on loan till their term is over.
I think corruption started from the nursery. It started when the nursery teacher unexpectedly turned into a more loving person because mama gave them a sack of rice and box of oil for Christmas last year. As a child this lesson was learnt, little favours like toffees can turn enemies into friends. And that is why when standing for the class prefect position, upon request, mama buys a carton of pencils and pens for the class before the election day. Even though Akwasi would be a better class prefect, the pens and the pencils help the class in the decision-making process.
The trend carries on in senior high school and then tertiary. Then the day comes when the Tender folder can only be forwarded to the germane desk with an envelope hidden inside. Or the day when squeezing the five Ghana Cedis into their hand allows one to hurriedly proceed to drop the young one at childcare. The normality of corruption is what challenges the fight. The word fight suggests a battle against a foreign thing, when it is us, a sibling or a neighbour that is corrupt. No one from space.
Detangling the tentacles that is interwoven into the defining elements of a society is challenging but possible hard work. Where are the lines drawn? What am I doing now that is infringing on another’s rights? How do I answer that question when I think all I do is normal as per the society I come from? How can I work to remove the grips of these tentacles and learn to realise that I am passing them on to my child and the new intern?