The world has changed dramatically over time. Trends come and go. How things are done changes considerably. People adopt new ways of doing things and if such works, people stick with it. If it does not work, people are quick to abandon such.
The nature of education in Africa has increasingly become a cause for concern. Education in Africa, when it was brought by the colonizers, was specially designed to alienate the African from his identity and immediate surroundings. The Africans were compelled to abhor everything African, to view everything African as extremely backward and barbaric. The education system brought by the colonizers to Africa under the veil of “civilization” was created to make sure that the Africanss did not have a questioning sensibility regarding his own world and how he perceived the world.
Policies like assimilation that was favored by the French colonizers were meant to force the African to be European, so that he hated his own identity. Social mobility and social capital were determined by how much colonial education one had absorbed. In a way, the same colonial education also gave rise to Africa’s revered, iconic and fearless nationalist leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Leopold Senghor, Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, and many others.
When African countries attained their independence, major reforms were implemented in education to ensure that it reflected what was necessary for African society. Education was improved so that it spoke to the African. But these reforms were not adequate as education systems across Africa, and the whole world at large, still emphasize the super-imposing need for academic excellence and nothing else.
Because of the emphasis on academic results as the sole factor determining the brilliance of students, education is biased. Students are forced to load information in their heads for the sole purposes of passing exams only and not for acquiring the relevant information needed to navigate the rough terrains of life in a cold world. People now conform to whatever put in front of them because the only urgent need apparent to them as they perceive the education system is to get academic results with flying colours.
Yes, good academic results mirror brilliance and the zeal of students as regard excellence in life, but the focus on academic results has turned overwhelmingly and dangerously toxic. What happens to the brilliant child good who is excellent in athletics? What happens to the student who excels in music? The one who is amazingly super in football? These factors then reveal the skewed nature of an over-emphasis on academic results only.
Academic results force people to just load information without properly processing its meaning and relevance to the world they live in. Education should help people to develop a questioning sensibility. It should enable people to be empowered, to demand more. Education should be fashioned in a way that fosters emotional intelligence and how to better understand oneself, and the people in the world one lives in. These factors should be the crowning points of education systems in Africa.
We should depart from education that is narrow in nature. Education should be broad. People must not just conform but must be empowered with education. Because education is not just about academic results. Education should prepare people to appreciate what life is, the history in the world from an objective point of view, and to develop their skills in various areas of life. Emotional intelligence creates people who perceive the world better.
Header image credit - Global Black History