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As I thought of writing this article, there were a number of titles running through my mind. My inclination was towards a topic that would encapsulate my central message; Education is the key solution to Africa’s problems. So I tried to combine the options of key and education as much as possible. Good as the options were, I was not satisfied until, Education Overhaul, appealed to me more especially because quiet a significant amount of schooling is going on. I share this mental exercise I had to go through to get this piece started because that is the essence of education: the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next.

Education is the power that underwrites all other forms of innovation and creativity. Education effects the way one thinks, feels, and acts. The central theme of education is TRANSFORMATION.  The ancient language of Latin has given. us a good word, education,  which is a derivative of  ēducātiō (“a breeding, a bringing up, a rearing).  From this word I can infer education as a breeding grounds for great minds, the bringing up of a whole being from one who knows little and rearing someone until they know what they ought to do. Education therefore is intended to create what ought to be and the best one ought be. Education grooms unto a known end of a wholly beneficial person to the society.

Judging from the above discussion of what education is, the question becomes, Is the African child being educated? The African is now relatively schooled but is he/she been educated? Schools and formal educational institutions are built as the general body of knowledge grows with the growing diversity of cultures and the increase in varying experiences. A school’s purpose is to bring together educators and learner to a platform where experiences and knowledge are shared for an ultimate aim of transformation. Curricula are designed for order and universality sake with each item on the curricula intended to pass on a skill to the learner in line of his/her thought, emotions, language and actions.

If the measure of education is how many skills have been learned over the educated time period and how much transformed the learner is, then very little education is being achieved in Africa where I come from. We go through the motions of schooling from Nursery through Kindergarten, Primary School, Junior High School, Senior High School and ultimately university just fulfilling all righteousness as it may be to passing an exam. Certificates are our emphasis and not transformation. I have very little memories of my educators relating concepts or theories or any of such academic things to practical and applicable social terms and context. I don’t even remember once when anyone had interest in my strengths and interests and educated me in those field as I may be best suited for. As far as Education is concerned in Africa, there are standards basically imported from the west (Our supposed ultimate rule) and we must conform or fall out.
One question I have never ceased to ask is why some of the most prominent people, people who changed the course of society drop out of formal education if it is the ultimate path to success and positive social change? These people are not less educated but they may not have completed the routines. Africa must begin to embrace the philosophy that education is more than building schools and getting everybody to the classroom which is a good thing. But the mere fact of getting people to the classroom will not guarantee education. We must seek to understand what education is and how to achieve it.

We will consider in a three-pack series a new educational road-map for the African child in our subsequent blogs:

  1. Innocence Capitalization and Robbing of Curiosity
  2. My Heart, My Mind and My Hands
  3. Courage for the uncharted waters

 I know Africa can rebuild its broken wall but a clear examination of the damage and ruins must be done by curios minds and people who believe it is possible to rebuild. The mind must be taught to think, heart, taught character and hands equipped with skills to pursue our curiosities for healthy social contributions.

Above all education is useless if it fails to inspire the student to be productive. If education does not eliminate fear and encourage pro-activity then I guess it was not education at all.

Stay with us in the next three posts as we engage ourselves for a new way to educate ourselves and to solving our problems.

Yaw Sompa

Author Yaw Sompa

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