Growing up in the late 1990s in my hometown, owners of black and white televisions were hailed in high esteem in the community.
I quite remember only two people were having television.
During holidays, many young people will converge at the back of the house of the ‘demigods’ who were having TVs and peep through the half opened window by staying glued to the emitting rays of the black and white wooden ‘president’ television determined not to miss sight of the programs showed on the Ghana Television.
Educative programmes like by the fire side, Kantata,Akan Drama,Agoro, inspector Bediako, Taxi driver, Dada Boat, and local drama which featured Kwaku Sintim Misa, David Dontoh ,Adwoa Smart, Katawere, Bob Santo, Maame Donkono etc were the source of education and inspiration to young people at the time.
These programmes instilled values, patriotism and a sense of belonging to people. The representation of cultural elements served as great medium to building and strengthening national identity.
Morality was at the highest peak during those days.These educative programmes safeguarded ethics and good conduct in that generation.
That was a time when the media was serving as a tool to shaping morality. The few television stations at that time were pivotal in the building of a country where communism was paramount.
With changes in this 21st century which has come with the advent of digital television in Ghana,many TV stations have emerged. Most of these stations have ended up copying Western Soap operas ‘telenovelas ‘blindly.
Within a twinkle of an eye, these telenovas have gained prominence in Ghana. These fictional movies command a high patronage from men, women and students. Currently, the popular ones gaining attention in Ghana are Kumkum Bhagya, Veera and Simply Maria.
Much has been said about the fallen standards of education in recent times. Stakeholders, policy makers and educationist have allegorized the problem to theoretical nature of the Ghana Education curriculum but I also think they need to look at the emergence of these telenovas which have shifted students’ attention from reading and conducting research.
The addiction to these movies is very alarming and if care is not taken, Ghana will keep recording gross failure of students in the Basic Education Certificate Examination and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examinations.
Majority of students can memorize the various characters and roles in these telenovas but it saddens me that same can’t be said of how they memorize their notes.
The books are in comfortable lead waiting for BECE and WASSCE but these students are already cruising to watching Kumkum Bhagya and Veera.
It’s absolutely wrong for parents to gleefully watch movies and telenovelas with their kids, instead of supervising them to attend to their books.
Why do parents take delight in watching telenovelas like “Kumkum Bhagya” with their children when they know these fictional movies don’t form part of the criteria of setting their final examination questions.Any parent that watches and discusses telenovas with their children do not have any moral right to criticize teachers and the government when performance of their wards decline.
The Ministry Of Education, Ghana Education Service and the various stakeholders should pay attention to the emergence of telenovas which is a serious threat to the quality education we will to see.