One of The Sources subscribers is bizzafrica.com. I found this on their old blog from 2013. The language is a bit abstract, but it shows a similar vision for better education as we outline in the Source Thesis, but explained from a Ghanaian perspective. This is very sobering reminder of the challenge and of the fact that we might be making things worse if we don’t get it right.
I’ve added a bit more context for those of you who aren’t familiar with Sub-Saharan Africa.
The driving force behind the thirst for knowledge is to find oneself in a position in which the knowledge acquired could be put to beneficial use. Academic tuition becomes relevant because it equips the student with the skill set needed to contribute one’s share in the entire development agenda of a group of people.
This starts to frame academic education as wanting, especially when viewed as a panacea for economic development of a whole country. (Education is a ticket out of poverty.) We’re seeing a lot of feedback from The Sources now, where people expect “being an entrepreneur” to equate to foreigners handing opportunities for people to rise out of their financial situations, especially in the form of “I need funding for my business, then I will find a business idea.” It seems strange from here, but fits naturally in the context of decades of overseas development money.
How relevant are the curricula of educational institutions in Africa to the African scenario? Years of absorption of knowledge and ideas with foreign origins and with little bearing on the location in question continue to duel with realistic efforts at curbing obstacles that mitigate any attempts at ensuring an increase in progress.
Basically, that stuff you teach doesn’t work here because of X, and you guys always ignore X.
The situation is further compounded by the apparent the influx of knowledge with foreign roots which is on daily basis, served to Africa, as if to eliminate all possible formats that do not eventually help.
When education that’s disconnected from the needs of the people its meant to serve is well-funded, it blocks the opportunity for better education to rise in its place. I think we should be acutely aware of that or we will be part of the problem rather than the solution.
So, we have to make sure we’re making positive impact as educators and NOT take continued funding as a sign we should continue.