The battle for the future of the African Continent is being fought in the classroom. A lot of emphasis has been placed on various ways to improve the economies of most African countries. However I believe as Africans we are losing the battle for economic superiority in the classroom. A lot of our educational systems are modeled after European and American Education Systems. While this is great because we learn English or French and master them there are other aspects of that curriculum that will ensure that we lag behind and remain the “dark continent”.
Children in Africa are learning from a curriculum that espouses that Europeans or Americans are superior. This is why from an early age children continuously yearn to go to America or England or France and never come back. The battle for the future of Africa will not be won is we do not address the foundations on which our education systems are built. Africans generally value education so it is not an issue of trying to convince us to want something that could help us. We love formal education and we believe in the value of a formal education experience.
With the increase in movements to expand global education opportunities we are constantly welcoming foreign aid directed towards educational initiatives. However we cannot be naïve to the fact that the foreign aid comes at a price. The price is in our future economic prosperity. Every child that we allow to be brainwashed into believing that the answer lies in America or Europe it translates into a loss in GDP for 20 to 50 years. In essence we are producing citizens who are dooming us to failure. Foreign Aid in education especially from the World Bank or United Nations may temporarily ease the financial burdens of our individual governments but can be very destructive in the long run. When we take aid from foreign organizations we relinquish the freedom to teach our children the value of their history and succumb to principles packaged to resemble learning for economic prosperity in the future.
I believe our children need to become proficient in Mathematics, English, and Science etc as it will be necessary for their success in the increasingly competitive global economy. However, I challenge parents, educators and policy makers to formulate an educational philosophy that actually benefits Africans. Let’s teach our children that they too can program software, write books, and invent gadgets and patent scientific processes. Teach them that are just as if not smarter than children in Europe or America and that where they are is not an excuse for where they ought to be. The only way we can instill values of self-worth is to change the curriculum to give students confidence by knowing their true history and utilizing textbooks that also highlight the numerous inventions by African Scientists and advances made by Business people alike. No one will write such a textbook it will be up to us. We need textbooks that challenge our children to solve African problems and world problems and not create students that also yearn to work for a European and American company. If the current trends of the globalization of education continue we will be training African children to become future servants of European and American Economies.
I dream of an African curriculum that will be rigorous enough to ensure all our children are proficient in English, French, Mathematics, Science etc and then proficient in their local dialect as well. It is imperative that we teach our children both in and out of the classroom that they are leaders and not followers and they are valuable in shaping the future not just of Africa but of the World.