Hopeless approach to 'Hoops'
I am no longer surprised at the ill-conceived decisions taken by leaders in this country. Yet the contracting of basketball star Shaquille O'Neal by the Government to launch the $10 million "Hoop of Life" 2012 project reveals the poverty of ideas manifested in the Cabinet.
Certainly the Government should know by now that party hacks usually give poor advice. What we need are advisors who are versed in the appropriate sociology, psychology, and pedagogy, among other areas. Taxpayers continue to fund these projects with the expectation that they are based on the best practices.
A programme that aims to deter delinquent youth from a life of crime must begin with the shaping of the conscience of the child from infancy; it must seek to develop self-worth and a sense of national identity. But all of these goals are undermined by the belief that no national of this country was sufficiently worthy to launch this project.
In other words the importation of Dr O'Neal to launch this project was in contradiction to the very principles of the Hoop of Life project and self-defeating. Similar arguments could be brought against importing Colin Powell to launch the mentoring project and engaging US-based Shauna Huggins to advise the Curriculum Division on etiquette.
Programmes should not be developed on the basis of vaps and hunches. There must be an assessment and clear specification of the needs to be addressed, taking into account cultural and environmental influences.
A programme is then designed to incorporate appropriate learning activities that could help to bring about the desired changes. I do not believe that millions in prize money can be effective here; and it may well backfire.
In addition, bringing in a US-based academic whose research has been in the use of humour by managers does not represent money well spent.
If we are to go abroad to bring down big names to launch government youth programmes, we might as well close down our own tertiary institutions where research continues in youth behaviour.
Leaders should recognise that our situation here is quite different to that of the USA. I call on our leaders to help me feel proud of our country and government, and cease operating in such a capricious manner.