An Investigation of the National Commission for Civic Education and Ghana’s Democracy (A Case Study of the Cape Coast Metropolis)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
For democracy to exist and thrive, a critical mass of a country’s inhabitants must have the skills, values, and behaviors that are compatible with democracy. They must understand the fundamental characteristics of a democratic political system in order to be able to use it when their interests are at risk, and they must believe in the relevance of essential democratic principles such as tolerance for differing viewpoints and respect for the rule of law. They must also be willing and capable of participating in local and national politics, and they must think that their involvement is critical to the democratic political system’s long-term sustainability (Kuma, 2005).
Citizens in most established democracies, such as the advanced world, have had a lifetime to absorb democratic ideals and practices. Citizens have the chance to acquire and practice the core principles of democratic culture as they participate in family and neighborhood life, join local groups, progress through the educational system, and are exposed to a free and independent media (Kuma, 2005).
This preparation experience is notably lacking in nations emerging from lengthy decades of authoritarian control. While numerous informal democratic institutions exist, although community-level activities may exist, individuals are unlikely to be familiar with formal democratic institutions and procedures, and may be ignorant of the possibilities to advance their interests at the local, regional, or national levels.
Furthermore, voters may have false expectations about what democracy can achieve after years of arbitrary control, and may find it difficult to adjust to the competition, compromise, and loss that are essential components of the democratic political process. The competitive component of the democratic process may be highly disruptive without principles such as political tolerance, faith in democratic institutions, and respect for the rule of law, especially if it sparks or exacerbates economic, ethnic, religious, or regional conflicts (Diamond, 1995).
So, how can people of nascent democracies acquire the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are deemed required for a stable and functioning democracy? The solution to this issue is civic education, which aims to jump-start the process of democratic socialization by encouraging individuals to embrace democratic behaviors and ideals. According to Dumor (1998), civic education is intended to fulfill three main aims.
- To familiarize individuals with the fundamental principles and structural aspects of democratic political systems, as well as to educate them about democratic rights and practices.
- To communicate a set of principles that are considered fundamental to democratic citizenship, such as political tolerance, faith in the democratic process, respect for the rule of law, and compromise.
- To promote responsible and informal political participation, which is defined as a set of activities that includes voting, campaigning, hiring officials, filing complaints, attending meetings, and making financial contributions.
A wide range of organizations and individuals are working to achieve these objectives. Civic education can be incorporated into pre-existing organizations such as labor unions, schools, religious institutions, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Organizations may also be formed specifically for this purpose (i.e. civic education for human rights training groups). Civic education programs can take many forms, ranging from voter education to long-term human rights workshops to civic dialogue promotion. The program also includes activities such as the adoption of new curricula in schools to teach young people about democracy, as well as programs that focus on women’s social and political rights and neighborhood problem solving. All of these efforts, which focus on teaching citizens about their rights and responsibilities, can be roughly divided into two categories: school-based civic training and adult civic education (Sydney, 1975).
The old system had mechanisms in place to ensure good citizenship, especially among families and clans. Civic education in Ghana was geared toward the development of nationalism, patriotism, and adoration of British values and norms during the colonial period. Following Ghana’s independence in 1957, and in order to break free from its colonial past, the Nkrumah government launched mass educational programs from 1957 to the early 1960s. To instill the idea of patriotism among citizens, the Young Pioneer Movement and the Institute of Public Education, later known as the Institute of Adult Education, were founded.
The administration moved on to build educational institutions like the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute in Winneba to improve the political, administrative, and civic abilities of its officials. The problem with this band of civic education, however, was that it was entirely dedicated to spreading the beliefs and aspirations of then-President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Despite the government’s best efforts to encourage civic education, the First Republic did not survive. On February 24, 1966, it was toppled by a military coup. The Centre for Civic Education was formed for the first time in Ghana with the emergence of the National Liberation Council. Opponents saw it as an effort to discredit Nkrumah’s sociological theories and accomplishments. Certain suspicions arose that the center was being utilized to promote the political ambitions of Dr. K. A. Busia, who won the general elections in 1969 and became Ghana’s Prime Minister during the Second Republic.
In January 1972, the National Redemption Council (later renamed the Supreme Military Council) established the Redemption Secretariat, whose mission was to develop and produce patriotic citizens based on the principles outlined in the Charter of Redemption, with programs such as Operation Feed Yourself, Operation Feed Your Industries, Self Reliance, and others. The public response was initially enthralling, but it was not long-lasting. The National Redemption Council Decree number 34 of February, 1972, disbanded the centre for civic education after the collapse of Busia’s administration. The Peoples’/workers’ Defense Committees (PDCs/WDCs) and later the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) established new channels for civic and public awareness during the PNDC’s leadership (1981-92). (CDRs). Aside from these structures, there was the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), whose mission was to not only educate citizens about their political responsibilities and rights, but also to help shape Ghanaians’ attitudes and perceptions of the new political order that would emerge from the Revolution.
Over the years, religious groups, civil society organizations such as social and professional organizations, and unions have all participated in civic education. The public and quasi-public civic education institutes formed between 1957 and 1991 were all viewed, correctly or erroneously, as entities set up to disseminate government doctrine (Kumah, 2005).
While each of these civic education organizations or groups had their own set of issues with efficacy and acceptability, it was apparent that their concentration was either partisan or national in nature. The National Commission for Civic Education, on the other hand, is bolstered by the 1992 constitution, which allows it to cultivate an organic nucleus of civic thinkers and actors through clubs that would not only study the constitution but also act constitutionally to deepen Ghana’s democratic culture.
Investing in institutions to preserve civic education is one of the most significant social investments that any nation can undertake. This is in acknowledgement of the reality that society’s growth begins in people’s thoughts, and people’s participation in development is critical. While many institutions may play their separate responsibilities in the enforcement of the constitution, the people of Ghana are the last arbiter of the constitutional order’s viability, as the Committee of Experts on the 1992 Constitution noted in its recommendations. There is no constitutional enforcement mechanism more powerful than the people’s steadfast and passionate devotion to the whole constitutional framework.
The chances of constitutional stability will be secured only when the Ghanaian people are sufficiently identified with the constitution to withstand significant violations of the country’s basic legislation. In a nutshell, people’s sovereignty means that the people are ultimately responsible for the constitution’s successful enforcement (Hayford, 1971).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The National Commission for Civic Education has responsibilities and goals, as stated in Chapter 19 of the 1992 Constitution Article 231 and formed by Act 452 of 1993. The NCCE’s overarching objective is to make a difference.
towards the direction of a democratic culture in Ghana. As a result, the NCCE’s contribution to the consolidation of good governance and democracy in Ghana can not be overstated.
For a variety of reasons, the NCCE has the potential to make a significant contribution to public engagement in government and governance. First, the commission’s countrywide presence allows it to get acquainted with and informed about the country. Second, it has a team of highly skilled communicators with a proven track record in mobilization. The commission has opened up to civil society organizations in order to establish the essential bridge and enhance openness in its operations (CSOs).
However, due to logistical issues, the NCCE has been unable to carry out highly effective and efficient instructional programs as a result of insufficient financing. The effectiveness of the NCCE in teaching the general public about government policies and programs, however, remains unknown. As a result, the NCCE and Ghana’s Democratic Dispensation bear responsibility for this research.
Peace and stability have risen to the top of the priority list for emerging nations, the international community, and everyone on the planet. Peace and stability are valuable because they save lives and property, are necessary for development at all levels of government, and are thus prominent in the aspirations that every citizen pursues violence and hinders development. Active citizenship promotes peace and stability by promoting active citizenship (Kumah, 2005). NCCE is in charge of Ghanaian people’s civic education, as its name indicates. It is made up of seven members, according to the 1992 constitution, who are selected by the President on the suggestion of the Council of State. As stated in Article 233 of the 1992 Constitution, the purpose of this institution is to “educate, create, and sustain within society awareness of the principles and objectives of this institution as the fundamental law of the people of Ghana: to educate and encourage the public to defend this constitution at all times against all forms of abuse and violations; to formulate for the c They must be aware of their civic responsibilities and understand their rights and obligations as free people, as well as perform any additional duties that the parliament may impose. The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), like the National Media Commission, will be completely free of any control or direction. To ensure this independence, the NCCE’s three most powerful members have access to special rights. For example, they have the same working conditions as justices of the Court of Appeal or the High Court (1992 Constitution).
1.3 OF THE STUDY OBJECTIVE
The overall goal of the research is to:
- Learn about the NCCE’s influence on Ghana’s democratic system.
- Examine Ghanaian residents’ awareness of NCCE
iii. Look into how the NCCE communicates government policies and programs.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions guide the objective of the study:
- What is the influence of NCCE on Ghana’s democratic system?
- What is the level of awareness of NCCE among Ghanaian residents?
iii. How does NCCE communicate government policies and programs?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
the following respects, the research would be significant. The investigation will first reveal how the NCCE disseminates government policies and programs to Ghanaian residents. This will aid the NCCE’s authorities and the government in their efforts to strengthen the NCCE’s educational programs.
Second, the research will reveal the most significant obstacles that NCCE faces in promoting government policies and programs. This would aid the government in locating the resources required for NCCE to carry out its programs. The study will reveal the extent to which NCCE’s activities have had an impact on Ghanaians. This will aid the NCCE in developing strategies to raise awareness of the NCCE’s activities among the general public.
Also, the research will bring to light strategies for improving NCCE’s activities. This will assist the NCCE authorities in bringing innovations into the operations of the organizations in order to achieve their desired goals.
Finally, this study will contribute to the current literature in this field and will also serve as a resource for academics, researchers, and students who may want to do future research on this or a comparable issue.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research was limited to NCCE’s operations in the Cape Coast Metropolis. Furthermore, the study was limited to NCCE executives and a few selected members of the Cape Coast Metropolis.
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
A study of this magnitude should have included the entire nation and all citizens, young and old. Time and budgetary restrictions, on the other hand, ruled out such an option. When applied to the overall situation, information from the perspective of such a small fraction of the target population must be taken with caution.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
National Commission For Civic Education: The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is a government agency in Ghana. It is the commission responsible for the education of Ghanaians on civic matters. The commission was established by Act 452 of the Parliament of Ghana in 1993.
Ghana’s Democracy: The government of Ghana was created as a parliamentary democracy, followed by alternating military and civilian governments in Ghana.
Our focus in this chapter is to critically examine relevant literature that would assist in explaining the research problem and, furthermore, recognize the efforts of scholars who have previously contributed immensely to similar research. The chapter intends to deepen the understanding of the study and close the perceived gaps.