THE BLACK FACT: Colonial Educational System Killing The Africa Initiative

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Articles, The Black Fact
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Students studying in a Library, Nigeria. Photo by Okoye Charles

Students studying in a Library, Nigeria. Photo by Okoye Charles

by Theophilus Nana Tsiwah

After several years of independence Africa nations from colonialism, Ghana in particular has not being able to stand tall to her meriting as the ‘lodstar’ of Africa since it is still meandering in the river of how to develop holistically. When one cast his or her eyes to the happenings in other African countries like Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Sao Tomè and Principe and the rest, the same observation as to what is happening to Ghana can be seen.

Colonialism has influenced Africa and her nations to the far side of retrogression. Many are the deliberate efforts by African countries and governments to reverse the symptom of stifled stillness of development. It would be very unfortunate for anyone to say or think that Africa leaders have not made any efforts at all to ameliorate the lives of their ‘ruled’.

Continentally, many worthy course have been embarked upon to see Africa develop. Key Organisations such as the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) now Africa Union (AU) being the foremost body has been established to this effect. The AU despite it challenges in areas of ideological differences of it member states, language barrier, lack of effective standing army, overly attachment to aprons of colonial masters, as well as lack of a common voice by Africa on the international front about pertinent matters which concern Africa. One cannot simply justify the soft-underbellies of AU as not enough efforts towards helping Africa.

Regionally, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), East Africa Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and so on have also been instituted as regional blocs primarily focusing on economic empowerment and regional integration.

All these are laudable efforts by Africa and African countries towards development. However, it is very sad to note that despite these efforts, Africa is still swimming in the pool of problems ranging from the perpetual abject poverty, chronic diseases with no cure, generational ‘Adam’ inheritance of corruption, civil strifes and wars, and other thwarting woes.

The one key area Africa and her nations have not realised is that, these problems we are facing stems from Africa’s continual adherence to the “colonial educational system”. We all, in fact admit that, indeed education is key to development be it, individuals, nations and continents. Innovations and initiative are mammoth factors which oil’s the wheels of technology. On the contrary, the colonial educational system which the colonial masters introduced in the form of “western education” has bedevilled Africa to a larger extent. The demands of this genre of education by the colonial masters sought to provide effective communication skills, clerical, theological and evangelism exigencies by the colonial masters. This form of education did not provide any room considering the needs of Africa. It is this type of education that is still “adored and cherished” by African countries.

With this kind of educational system, the innovative and initiative instinct of students_learners are killed even at birth. What Africa needs to note is that, this type of educational system seeks all diabolic means to down play technical and vocational skill acquisition, and in return usher unto us the elements of “bookish knowledge” acquisition. This same form of educational system which our curricula have been modelled after seeks to perpetuate the words of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as “Neo-colonialism”.

It is this same kind of educational system which have made us and continues to make Africa countries producers and exporters of raw materials such as gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa beans, timber, manganese and the likes, and in turn imports finished commodities thus the resultant effects of balance of payment deficit and flying inflation. This colonial system of education encloses students in places called “classrooms and lecture halls”, feeding them with theories of fictions which kills the true spirit of pragmatism given to Africans by the ‘creator’.

Africa has not being able to catch up with the winds of development aptly because, her human capacities are being fed with some kind of ” knowledge” that is not compatible to her developmental needs and agenda. Right from the basic form of education through senior high school and tertiary, students are made to believe that being able to speak like a ‘whiteman’ quantify ones effort as truly educated. Along this same path lieth technical and vocational education which most of our governments have not given the needed push to ensure it life-long support to our economic growth.

Per the observations made, if this trend or system of colonial education continues to eat deeper into our continental and national fabric then surely Africa has a long way to go as far as economic and infrastructural developments are concerned.

However, there seems to be a glowing light at the far side of the tunnel, if Africa leaders and governmental agencies particularly the Ministries of Education in the various African countries, can pool resources together in terms of human, capital and material to “review” and “rewrite” the educational curricula, then surely Africa would be on fertile grounds towards development. Africa and her nations must develop a system of education that is relevant to the needs of Africa in today’s 21st Century.

The education system must be made to lay more emphasis on the acquisition of technical and vocational skills which comes along with it critical and pragmatic thinking thus the power of innovation. Africa must eschew the unwholesome licking of the fiction nectaries that comes with the colonial educational system and embrace the realities of the problems she faces. This way, we will be able to avail our minds to finding efficacious modalities of remedying the myriad of problems confronting Africa, her nations and citizenry.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. Anene Francis says:

    Nice write up.
    * The establishment of AU, ECOWAS and the likes are indeed of noble intentions. Achieving their aims are being thwarted by several factors amongst them being that most African countries are more loyal to their colonialist countries than the African groups. This has advantages and disadvanages sha.
    * Permit me to clarify some points. You seem to have muddled up educational system and educational curricula. Educational systems include: informal, western and Islamic systems of education. All of them are important and have contributed to the overall body of knowedge available, though the informal, to a much lesser extent… So its not the educational system but the curriculum structure adopted. And I am not sure we should blame the colonialists for that. Their own countries and many others around the world incorporate vocational training and courses into their curricula which is what African countries need to do also. We are just too slow in adjusting to world’s ever dynamic trends. Hopefully, this is being looked into.
    * As we strive towards being truly independent, it should not entail we Africans throwing away everything from the whites. To make progress in our world, we need interdependency. We need them, they need us. We learn from them, they learn from us. Our problem is that of inferiority complex which should be cured by mentality change as discussed in another of your article.
    More power to your elbow. Good work

  2. In all the clarification is highly accepted #SirAnene

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