In spite of accomplishing noteworthy progress in the last 10 years, the development of Africa is still hampered due to high levels of political corruption, disease, poverty and a poor education system. However, there is still hope as the continent’s claim to greatness depends on the untapped potential of the African children. I believe Africa will create it’s place in the list of prominent countries not through it’s diamond, gold, gas or oil reserves, but through the potential of it’s children. How we educate and raise our children now will help us shape the future of our continent for years to come.
Need For “Education For All”
The fact is 16 out of the 20 nations judged by UNESCO to have the least possibility to meet the Education for All goals are situated in sub-Saharan Africa. As per data available from UNESCO, not even one African nation accomplished the target of universal primary education, which refers to all African children successfully completing primary school education. It is believed that more than 30 million children in the primary school age in Africa were out of school during 2012. In Kenya, over 2 million primary school age kids were out of school last year. Moreover, about 40% of kids in Africa are stunted, which means the children suffer discernible and irrevocable cognitive impairment. These type of kids have high probability to drop out of school & repeat grades.
Dr. Alex O. Awiti , director of the East African Institute & assistant professor at Aga Khan University, recently wrote in an article,
“The psycho-social and economic effects of stunting and cognitive impairment endure into adulthood and can be transmitted from parents to children. Stunted children will earn less. They will most likely not to live out their full potential and contribute less to their communities.” He added “Education is no longer about the African child. Education is now about the reputation of the school and the school head teachers.”
Enabling Children To Learn
Form an early age, African children are told to learn by rote without the need for understanding or thinking and execute unimportant facts in memory to succeed in national standardised tests. We have effectively developed “grade factories” in place of schools and colleges and the scenario is not about to change any time soon. Awiti wrote “More than anything else, children must learn how to learn, unlearn and re-learn. Our education is about the curriculum and content. It is not about the child. One of my professors told me many years ago that half of what he was teaching would be out of date before I graduated. The problem is that he did not know which half it was.”
I believe that development of human capital can be achieved through sufficient investment in education and will eventually lead to long term economic growth. It is important that the African Development Bank invests in our children, the most crucial aspect of Africa’s future. It is only by providing a fair and good life to our children, we can empower them to breakaway from the chains of illiteracy, poverty, disease and corruption.
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