The Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, Professor David Millar on Monday stressed the need for Africa, particularly, Ghana to use her cultural heritage to develop the country instead of throwing its values away.
He said the Ghanaian culture should not only be focused on just food, drumming and dancing, which had become the “order of the day” but should be broadened “to cover our sciences, arts, mathematics, history and geography-our entire way of life.”
Speaking at a day’s seminar on local and indigenous Knowledge for community driven development in Accra, Prof Millar said countries like India, Latin America and China had used their indigenous knowledge to develop their health and agriculture sectors as well as their whole national economy but Ghana had been left to demean her cultural values for imported ones.
He therefore, emphasized the need to shift the paradigm in Ghana into tackling national development from within the people, their communities, and their natural resources through dialogue and building bridges.
The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) organized the seminar, which was attended by directors and other policy makers from the National Development and Planning Commission, Ministry of Environment and Science and Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture and traditional rulers.
The programme was funded by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German based organisation.
Participants are expected to help rethink Ghana’s national planning process by evolving the local community people and their cultural values and also reflect indigenous knowledge and resources to achieve maximum national development at the end of the seminar.
Prof Millar said the UDS, as part of its core mandates, had developed a whole curriculum for indigenous development studies and guide books in which over 200 students are understudying and another 40 students focusing on indigenous knowledge and culture development as their PhD programmes.
Mr Bernard Guri, Chief Executive Officer, CIKOD said the Centre’s main concern was to promote the Ghanaian “Sankofa philosophy” (going back to pick the good values that had been left) to help build the nation.
He said what had compounded the situation was the difficulty to scientifically measure indigenous knowledge.
He explained that endogenous development which involves material, social and spiritual well-being of a people, especially Ghanaians, already existed and the people in the communities were actively basing on that to develop themselves.
He called for awareness to be created on the use of indigenous knowledge to unearth indigenous resources for community development, trickling down to national spheres.
Nana Kobina Nketsia, Omanhene of Esikado and Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Central Region, explained to the Ghana News Agency in an interview that culture was a defensive mechanism that protected the values of a people so there was the need for Ghanaians to “go back to our culture, understand it and take what is good to develop ourselves”.
“We are taking in things that are killing us”, Nana Nketsia said.
Mr Ibrahim Tijani, Director of Administration, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, a participant at the seminar, who agreed with the various Speakers on the need to broaden the scope of culture, told GNA that the Sector Ministry was in the process of developing a policy that would obligate all state Ministries to factor culture into its operations and in all national aspects of life.