Happy Tuesday CREAD family! Hoping you all enjoyed the three-day weekend and made the most of it. Nonetheless we are just about to close out this month and BAM!! It’s about to be June. But before we get happy for the summer vacation that we can see just over the horizon, I want to revisit a post I wrote earlier this month entitled, Let Africa inspire you. My friend Regine Romain is an artist, educator and anthropologist currently living in Benin, west Africa. (You can check out her work here.) She shared an article with me about the state of education on the continent and I found I had to re-examine the assertions I made in my earlier post.
The article by Hopewell Radebe from the online outlet News24, Overhaul colonial education system, outlines the challenges in the systems of education throughout Africa. Radebe spoke with communications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim who explained the shortcomings of the current system: “Youngsters in Africa must try to transform an education system that is failing to inspire the continent’s economic development, says mobile communications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim.
He said a complete overhaul of Africa’s education systems, focusing on modern quality technical skills training, could change the desperate situation facing the continent’s youth. It would make them relevant, productive and prosperous. Colonial education was failing to even equip them with relevant skills in agriculture – the engine for African growth.”
While I made the case that we can draw inspiration from the many innovations that are happening in various parts of Africa, we here in America are facing some of the very same challenges in our education system as on the continent. What we have in common with many parts of Africa is that we are still operating in a colonized system. Education systems designed by our oppressors are not meant to produce the dynamic, innovative and radical young leaders that our world needs but rather as Ibrahim points out, “the continent’s colonial education system remains unchanged. It was meant to produce clerks and administrators with a handwriting so beautiful you’d be jealous, but it’s totally irrelevant in the world that has moved into a high-tech environment…” The same can be said of American students; many of whom graduate with no tangible skills or preparation for the world we live in.
Recognizing who and what our current education system is designed for is an important step in decolonizing our own minds and the minds of our students. It takes extraordinary skill, dedication and insight to prepare our students to not only pass an exam but also be equipped to change the world for the better. We want you to continue to develop a deeper understanding and connection to our motherland but also appreciate where we all stand in this struggle to educate to liberate.
Find some further reading here.
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