Education is considered as one of the major tools for eradicating poverty and preventing ignorance among citizens. As a result, many governments across the world devote significant resources into the education sector. Indeed, Nelson Mandela rightly pointed the importance of education when he said: “education is the most powerful tool that can be used to change the world”. With this in mind, governments in Africa have initiated various policies aimed at increasing enrolment within the education sector. In Africa various policies have been formulated since independence to improve access and quality of education. Some of the recent policies being implemented in the education sector include the free primary and secondary education and a revised school curriculum.
Several challenges militate against the educational progress of students in various Schools in Africa. For the students in public schools, their challenges are additionally compounded by their exposure to a more social world, family issues, poverty and the rigid structure of our educational/academic system, which emphasizes more on metric and mental development than behavioral, attitudinal and character building.
Upon careful observation and study of students in the Public Schools, we have identified the followings:
- The full potential of most children within our schools remains untapped, often not recognized and regarded due to poor and rigid educational structure which kills creativity and innovation.
- Teaching and Learning approach in Africa has remained the same. Students are mostly taught how to read and write. There’s very little emphasis on shaping their mindset, critical thinking and creative abilities.
- Rote learning is the order of the day.
- Too much concentration on the use of the left side of the brain.
Research has shown that “in many parts of the world, an enormous gap prevails between the numbers graduating from schools and those among them who can master a minimum set of cognitive skills”. A similar research revealed the following:
- 45.7% demanded computer skills
- 38.6% for communication skills
- 41.8% for personal attributes
It is now very clear that factual knowledge alone is no longer the great differentiator. Right-brainers have taken over the world economy (inventors, designers, big-picture thinkers etc.)
Children and youth are mostly referred to as future leaders, which is true. They are also the indispensable resources we have in our world today. Hence, education must empower the child with life skills, build character and assimilate information, imbibe values, teach them to respect and act with responsibility. If we achieve this, we are creating an empowered and enlightened generation for tomorrow.
If children and youth are however devoid of critical thinking, communication, creative leadership skills they will be vulnerable to various unhelpful and unlawful practices which will serve as an impediment to development. The provision of holistic education should not only be a responsibility of the government, but also of its citizens. Therefore, while the government takes actions to implement effective educational policies that impart knowledge, we at You and I and LeadAfrique International take the responsibility to inculcate good attitude and effective character formation in children and youth. We cannot do it in a vacuum and need the support of stakeholders in various capacities.
As a country, both state and non-state actors need to step up strategies to adequately and completely prepare young children in school for a balanced and productive work life, which will spearhead economic growth and foster unity.
To this effect, there is a need for a well-crafted and strategically developed leadership programme which will carefully spot, select, train, and cultivate the next generation of leaders for every sector of the economy of which You and I and LeadAfrique has set the pace.