A GREAT AND TIMELY ONE! A Code of Discipline that I Learnt


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BY Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa

Born in the Gold Coast prior to independence, I was in primary school when the Young Pioneer Movement was founded. It was to provide a constant source of education on patriotism and civic responsibility.

The movement was founded on the same principles as the West German, Israeli, British, American, Russian and Chinese Youth Movements.

The founders went to all these countries to find out what mechanisms they had for inculcating the spirit of patriotism into their youth and realised it was through youth clubs.

The British had brought into Gold Coast Wolf Cubs and Scouts for boys and Brownies and Girl Guides for the girls; and in all of these we learnt service to society and community and how to be prepared at all times to be called into action for the country. The lessons learnt from Israel, West Germany and Russia were the basis for the Young Pioneer Movement.

It was introduced to my primary school in 1964 and there were many of us who joined. It was not compulsory then and many others were in the other youth clubs mentioned above. Our uniforms and shoes were the selling point and many throughout the country joined because of those items.

We were taught how to march and we were show pieces at Independence and Republic days and of course the birthday of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, but that was not all. We were taught the 12 point Code of Discipline which has lived with me for over 50 years and has served me very well.

  1. Love of Country

 2. Discipline and obedience

 3. Honesty and morality

 4. Punctuality

 5. Protection of State property

 6. Reliability and secrecy

 7. Comradeship and forbearance

 8. Love of work

 9. Field craft

 10. Unaffectedness

 11. Selflessness

 12. Striving to faultlessness

We were taught to love Ghana more than anything else and to ensure that Ghana was prosperous. We clothed ourselves with the Ghana flag and learnt the words and meaning of the National Anthem and ‘Yen ara ye asaase ni’.

Discipline was critical in every young person’s life. It is a must if progress can be assured. Obedience to seniority and authority, although a component of discipline, was highlighted for emphasis. Honesty and morality are twin virtues in the uprightness of life and we were schooled in the essence of integrity.

Punctuality was not to be Ghana Mean Time (GMT) as we all experience in Ghana today. These days we schedule meetings to start at 9 a.m. and people do not arrive till 10 or 10.30 a.m.
Punctuality was important and the adage ‘Time is money’ was drummed into us. We  were taught to arrive at least 15 to 30 minutes before the start of a meeting or programme and not set off from home at the appointed time for the meeting.

Protection of State property was continually harped on. Everybody today takes anything belonging to the government for granted and treats it anyhow, yet somehow, miraculously, expects development or improvement in the Nation’s fortunes. Every Ghanaian is supposed to know that our actions and inactions become cost build-ups. Every citizen is to be a reliable and trustworthy individual mindful of other people’s agenda towards us. We should also keep what is Ghanaian close to our chest and not release classified information to unknown or known sources for self gain.

As comrades, the bond among us was to ensure we did things together to enhance the collective. We were also taught to take things in our stride and not to get annoyed at the slightest provocation. Love of work was a mantra or a charge for all of us to keep. ‘Hard work never killed anybody’ was drummed into us, emphasising that laziness could kill and the Good Book clearly states that if you do not work, you should not eat.

In addition, we were all to learn a handi work (field craft), preferably as a hobby but some skill that could easily be turned into an income earner. Knitting and crocheting, painting and many such programmes were our after-school curricular activities and we all took them seriously. At age 10, I could knit very well.

Unaffectedness, selflessness and striving to faultlessness were calls to our inner sentiments to live beyond reproach and build Christ-like characters for the good of this nation Ghana.

As if all the above were not helpful to the young people of this country, a propaganda war was waged against the Movement, that it served only the purpose of Osagyefo, and hence was disbanded on February 24, 1966. Nothing replaced it and for 50 years, the leadership of the country has assumed that Ghanaians will be patriotic as a matter of course. It never comes naturally to people unless they are educated.

If you were to ask questions on each of the 12 Codes of Discipline, you will realise that most persons in Ghana will respond negatively. Are we punctual, disciplined, obedient, honest, moral and love our country? Hell NO will be the answer in each case, yet we pride ourselves as if we are making progress.

Sometimes I feel that if in primary schools in Ghana we were taught reading, writing, mathematics and the code of discipline; the language, culture, values of the region where the school was and the geography of Ghana, our children will be better off.

A rethink of everything we do, how we do it and where we go from here will do Ghana and all its citizens a lot of good. Time is running out on some of us but we can’t help but weep for the succeeding⁷ generations where selfishness, pride and greed have all but taken over.


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