Gender, Social Trust And Political Socialization In Ghanaian Education Implications for Shaping Political Beings in the Wa Municipality
The raison d’etre of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of families, religious leaders, teachers, political leaders, mass media and peer groups in the shaping boys and girls into political beings using the case of the Wa Municipality of Ghana. This was undertaken because the task of political socialization is very crucial for Ghana to consolidate its nascent democracy in the fast globalizing world. To determine the effectiveness of these agents of socialization, the degree of “social trust” of boys and girls have for these agents were examined on the assumption that the higher the trust for an agent, the more effective that agent would be, and vice versa. Self-administered questionnaires were utilized to generate the empirical data, which was analyzed using the chi-square and standardized residuals non-parametric statistical techniques. Findings reveal generally high distrust for agents and statistically significant gender asymmetries in “social trust” for the agents of socialization. There were also significant gender differences in levels of trust for the adolescent girls and boys who participated in the study. The boys showed more distrust (31%) than girls (29.3) while the girls showed more social trust (21%) than boys 18.7%). The differences were traced to differentiated socialization into gendered roles and their attendant responsibilities and expectations. The implication is that, due to distrust among the populace, the agents are ineffective in molding democratic personalities out of Ghanaian boys and girls. This is more true for political leaders and the media of all the agents! The Government is advised to primarily take political socialization seriously, encourage the agents to attract the necessary trust and be guided to understand, discharge their roles appropriately. Finally, the content and method of civic and political education in Ghana must be periodically revisited to reflect core Ghanaian values even in this era of globalization.