Education reforms for Africa

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frica has the world’s fastest-growing youth population, with 60 percent of its inhabitants aged below 24.

However, Unesco reports that over 46 million of school-aged African children have never been in a classroom. There are many challenges that are crippling the education system in many African countries.

African leaders are doing little to improve education standards.

Many leaders prefer to send their children to prestigious schools  outside the continent instead of improving their own education system.

Lack of funding is a major challenge. This has led to lack of teaching and learning facilities.

In many African countries, students learn science subjects—biology, chemistry and physics—without any laboratory for experiments.

Most governments have little plans for teacher development programmes. The few qualified teachers do not receive further support to advance their careers.

And because of lack of incentives, qualified teachers prefer to move to other professional fields with more attractive benefits.

Due to lack of supervision in public schools with qualified teachers, students do not perform well.

Private schools are manned by unqualified teachers, yet students perform better  because of constant supervision by their directors.

The paradox is that even qualified teachers in public schools prefer to send their wards to private schools.

Some African countries are still using old curricula in a constantly changing world. The currica were designed to colonise the minds of African people.

Some countries have tried to implement changes in curriculum, but this has not helped. African education has been used for experimentation purposes by the Western countries.

Political interference in the education system has contributed to the dwindling of education standards. When a party comes to power, it comes up with policies often changed by the next governing party. This affects the students’ development and knowledge acquisition.

Reforms must be put in place in the education system for an emerging Africa.

For example, intensify teacher training programme. Rwanda has set a good example in training many teachers who are deployed countywide.

In addition, there should be capacity building for education professionals. Teachers equipped with professional capacities can transform students into change makers.

Governments also need to invest more in the education sector. Increased funding will improve infrastructural development and provision of teaching and learning resources in schools.

There should also be incentives to retain teachers. Countries need to emulate South Africa, which pumps about 20 percent of State funds to education.

Countries also need to create innovative education. In other parts of the world, USA for instance, children learn entrepreneurship skills at a young age.

In China and Japan, they are taught to come up with new technologies. This is the way to go. We need an education system which will make students to be innovators and solution providers.

In addition, it is also helpful to incorporate e-learning in schools so that learning continues even when not at school.

Government should also invest in informal education. Some young people are talented, but they do not have access to schools. They should be given a chance to nurture their talents through parallel programmes.

These include footballers, musicians, painters, sculptors, among others. These need to be trained to nurture the inborn talents.

Emerging African education should go beyond the classroom. Global survival skills—language, cultural shock, emotional intelligence, collaboration and entrepreneurship—should form part of the curriculum.

An inclusive education requires a change of curriculum in accordance with the challenges and needs of today.

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