Monday, April 16, 2007

Educational Revolution-The Key to African Leadership and Emancipation

Am passionate about education; both self and formal education. I believe that ignorance is the greatest prison that one can ever be in. Unfortunately, Africa has not progressed in education to the level of competing with the western world. This my friends is the key to the advancement of the first world. Yes we live in the information age but africa, with the exceptions of a few countries which i can number on one hand, is still in the dark ages.
When i recently visited zambia i was somewhat shocked at the level at which zambians have access to the internet. I can safely say 95% of the people dont have computers or internet access in their homes. Now why make a big fuss about this? Well, the internet is the embodiment of the information age; in this age information is literally at our finger tips. But how many Africans have access to this information? How many Africans have access to knowledge and information period?
Let's take a quick poll. How many public or private libraries are in your neighborhood? How many of them have free internet access? Right now as I speak I have access to 3 public libraries with just about anybook or internet access I want. All these within a 7 minute driving radius. I also have internet access in my home at a very affordable rate. Now that's living in the information age. Dont even talk about book stores.
What's my point? We need to improve our access to information in Africa. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. Self-education cannot happen in the absence of readily available information. Our governments have to advocate for this and make it a possibility for every African. They owe us at least this much!

Now, What about formal education? For starters let me say not even the 1st world has it all down-packed and we can spend an hour talking about that. However, let me draw your attention to some of the major positives and suggest somewhat of a change in the african education system.
Firstly, if we are going to raise leaders in every sphere of human existence we must stop preparing people for exams and prepare them for life and leadership. Our education system must have the capacity to indentify students passion; help them set attainable goals and point them to the subjects that would better prepare them for their life's work.
Secondly, if we are serious about raising Leaders then we must teach leadership principles as a core subject in our curriculum from nursery to university.
Is this a pipe dream or something attainable? Now I think we can do it though am aware of some of the obstacles we may face. Let's talk! Lets inform each other but above all let's ACT.
Your comments please!


Jonas said...

I must say i agree with you Campbell, I believe that what we need in Africa is a Educational Revolution, but i must also blame the West for playing double standards when it comes to Education. When Africa was invaded with the by the West the left us with an impression that having an education based on their system was key to development, but i believe the blinded us from the truth because it is very shocking to see how the American and British system of Education is so flexible compared to the system the left us with.

It is so amazing to see that leadership and development go beyond education, a good example is Shaka the Great Zulu King this man brought about a revolution that changed the face of the southern Africa and even ran an economy that the White man admired, but Shaka was not a man who had undergone any form of education but just knew what principles were and he was governed by them. As matter of fact on African leader can be compared to Shaka ( the have all been hypnotised by the Western system of undergoing years of learning just to say the word GDP and Inflation) it is shame to education no wonder so many Africans have lost faith in the Western System of Education. I say let Africans come up and implement their own system of education that will benefit us Africans and not develop puppets.

I do not have anything against the west but i have everything against the principles of exploiting us and hypnotizing us. Technology has no master and infact africa was the birth of most of the technology, i mean if shaka thought of inventing a short spear that changed the art of war, infact the Americans and British at that time had only one system of war and that is march towards one another and fight.

Let us begin to think in manner that will reshape our Africa!

Campbell Lumbila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Campbell Lumbila said...

Jonas Great comment. You have great insight. But let me draw your attention to one thing. The bedrock of 'The American Civilization'; if i may call it that is the ability to believe and act beyond set boundaries and systems. This has somewhat shaped even their formal education system. Adaptability to rising sitiations and evolving cultures is key to the advancement of any people, culture or economy. You raise a great example is Shaka. The one thing he did in changing the "Art of War" was invent a new way of warfare and force everyone else to adapt.
We seem to have lost this ability in Africa and we cannot blame the west for that. The moment we declared independence from them we were saying we are the masters of our own fate; we are the masters of our own destiny and as such we take ultimate responsibility for our progress or lack thereof.
The other thing I disagree with is the fact that Leadership goes beyond education. Mind you education happens everyday and at any and every moment. Formal education; now that's different. You dont have to be formally educated to be a leader but you do need to be educated. This is why i opened up my post by stating the fact that I believe in self education. In fact the greatest minds that have influenced western civilization have been self educators. The have read extensively; they have experimented and blazed new trails in all sectors of human existence.Let's not depend or copy the western system of education BUT lets's learn from it.

What we need in Africa is a new breed of Leaders that will have the abillity to learn from the rest of the world and be adventurous enough to blaze new trails.

What our current leaders dont have is the ability to break the mold. Yes Britain left zambia with an education system but what we needed to do was improve on it and make it our own.
Pardon my language but there's a point: Our leaders are INSANE because INSANITY is defined as doing the SAME thing over and over again expecting different results each time. This is what they do.

Thirdly, when it comes to technology the west is the master and its taken them over 200 years to get here. It would be folly to ignore this fact and equally folly to accept the status quo. We MUST build on current technological advances if we are to be a giant in technology. There is no need to re-invent the wheeel. We can stand on the shoulder of giants and see further than they ever saw.

America fears Japan as an ecomomic power but many of us forget what their secret is. Japan realized that they could not compete with the rest of the world if they stayed a closed nation. Therefore, their emperor developed an ingenius way to advance his country. He sponsored young men to study in the western world and had them come back an develop their own techonology using what they learnt from the west as a foundation. DEVELOPMENT AND ADVANCEMENT CANNOT HAPPEN IN A VACCUM. The ability to learn from another is the hallmark of of any developing civilization.

So, be a trail blazer. Learn from the west and Africa will be a force to reckon with.