Most African countries are still wallowing in abject poverty 45 years since independence, despite being rich in resources. To alleviate poverty, donors and development partners have pumped billions of shillings as foreign aid in Africa. Still, poverty persists. Spiritual leaders have joined the battle by praying and fasting. Different governing modes have been hailed and tried but poverty continues to bite. What is wrong with all these emancipation methods? When will Africa be given a break?
Despite the fact that Africa recognizes education as key in fighting poverty and fostering development, education continues to be a victim of political manipulation and endless debates. There have been several misleading reviews of education programs by government officials who only base their analysis on factors such as desks, teaching aids, student population per classroom and beautiful buildings.
Most parents in Africa are proud of their ‘educated’ children just because they can speak a foreign language or two, notwithstanding their inability to read and write. If this is anything to go by, then first world nations who are native speakers of English and French would not need to go to school at all, because their languages are ‘education’. But because we know that they also go to school, it means there is more to education than just learning a foreign language.
Education in Africa has been viewed as a far fetched ‘culture’ whose time has never come. It is for this reason that most African governments sponsor some of its people to study abroad so that they can share their acquired knowledge in developing their countries. Contrary to the expectations, they bring an arsenal of certificates, foreign culture and languages without any knowledge or skills. In spite of this, they return to a warm reception of executive offices, luxury vehicles, palatial mansions and heavy perks at the expense of the already strained taxpayers.
The supposed ‘saviors’ to Africa have become a burden to government and society. Although they carry prestigious titles, their impact has never been felt. They have failed in leading others in development projects. For lack of innovation, they never do a hands-on job. Everything is done on their behalf. They do without thinking or innovating new approaches to Africa’s development. All they accomplish is auctioning Africa’s natural resources to foreigners in the guise of development partners and perpetually beg for aid. They should not be referred to as ‘educated’ people; they are ‘cultural slaves’.
It is amazing to note that most educated African youths migrate to urban areas to look for jobs. Jobs they have no clue about. The same youths leave behind huge chunks of arable land that would have otherwise been cultivated using the acquired knowledge to achieve better farm yields. Graduates would rather earn $50 per month and go hungry than leave the city. With this kind of system, it is effortless to dream of Africa that manufactures motor vehicles and other machinery.
The sub-standard education system is to blame for poor leadership in Africa. It has led to leaders being voted in on the basis of their tribal alignment, family ties, religion-standings and even appearance. Only after elections do citizens realize they voted in thieves who steal from their own countries, stuff their ‘wealth’ in foreign bank accounts and use their positions of influence to put up sky scrapers that they claim are symbols of wealth.
Africa needs a proper education system that is devoid of political intrigues and heavy foreign alignment. The continent needs an education system based on skills and creativity, ability to forecast, analyze, critique and give objective opinion. Any education system should be designed to yield knowledge and not certificates. With knowledge, one has the ability to achieve amazing accomplishments. One is able to create technologically viable working methods and modalities that cannot be beaten by skewed development plans.
Real knowledge gives people the ability to criticize and liberate their countries from a corroded leadership whose mandate is baseless. It teaches one to demand for service delivery and not beg for it instead.