Way Forward for Africa – Part V

by on Apr.06, 2014, under Education & Learning, Leadership

This is part V of a six-part article “Way Forward for Africa”

Education: Profound Learning

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”- Derek Bok, Ex-president of Harvard

‘A market economy is only sustainable with an educated citizenry,’ Adam Smith

Education is ‘replacing an empty mind with an open mind’-Anonymous.  Be it informal or formal education, the fact is that education opens our minds to the many possibilities in the universe and empowers us to make informed choices.

Sound education is a must for Africa to produce men and women at the pinnacle in their areas of specialization. Education is the software to steer the continent’s economy to greater height. Sustainable development is premised on research and it should be noted that any meaningful research is built on solid education.  In order for Africa to compete favourably, o-level shouldn’t be the end of the academic road. Specialized college education should be the minimum education for any serious African.

Many parastatals in Africa collapsed while others are struggling to survive, the main reason is that Africa lucks polished and ethical managers. This compels us to import expatriates who siphon out the last penny in the treasury. Why don’t we educate our daughters and sons to save the continent these “necessary robbers”?

It is a fact that some educated Africans have let the continent down. If they are not only supporting dictatorial regimes they are also siphoning resources from the continent’s treasury. On this matter we can only point the finger to the educators, policy makers and education system. All stakeholders in education sectors should evaluate the effectiveness of the education systems in Africa. Our Universities have produced many graduates who are at pain to explain what they are equipped to do, yet the mandate of the universities is churn out individuals that are ready to serve their nations. As a continent we should produce graduates, who are relevant to the African situation, graduates who are intellectually, socially and spiritually sensitive to African’s issues.

In today’s world technology is a key driver for a nation’s development; the continent should be at the forefront of this emerging enabler for development.  

As we struggle to increase the number of students in our schools/colleges, let us put in the same effort to increase the quality of the students from the same schools. This is because semi-baked citizens are very dangerous characters to any economy. They have been taught to appreciate the best, but they can’t produce the best. They luck the ability to analyse information and data accurately; so they are swayed by unscrupulous individuals. As a result they are easily used by self-seekers.

Africa students should be encouraged to shun laziness and embrace hard work at school. This can’t be emphasized better than the way Richard Nixon put it in his speech  “Freedom: A Condition and a Process,” he said, “instead of seeking to raise lagging students to meet the college standards, the cry now is to lower the standards to meet the students. This is the old, familiar, self-indulgent cry for the easy way out. It debases the integrity of the education process. There is no easy way to excellence, no short cut to truth, no magic wand that can produce a trained and disciplined mind without the hard discipline of learning.”

We should use our schools as centres for instilling nationalism in our children. Most of human convictions are developed in schools, it is therefore important to inject proper morals in our future leaders while they are in school. Unfortunately students in schools/colleges grow up feeling neglected by their governments that do not provide books or provide insufficient students’ loan. They grow up looking forward to change their citizenship. This is very common in North and West Africa, were young men and women are willing to sacrifices their lives to cross to Europe. It is same thing in southern African countries; many want to cross to South Africa, despite the danger of man eater lions on the way. Through open dialogue students should be encouraged to stay in the home countries and strive to make the countries better.  

Profound learning does more than opening our mind; it empowers one to satisfy his/her needs without hindering others to satisfy theirs. This exactly what Africa needs!!

Look out for the Final Part of this article, where the two Final Solutions to African Problems will be discussed.

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