​Intentional and Strategic Education: A Sustainably Developed Africa

By Phomolo Matleelane

Last year I had the opportunity to tutor my landlord’s kids for the 3 months. I took a break when the child completed his exams to refresh and started with his big sister close to her exams. The former was challenging mostly because the child had dropped from A grades to D grades. It wasn’t more about him passing the exams but a lot about restoring his confidence back, that is to ignite in him to believe that he can do better again and even more. Throughout these sessions I learnt a principle that I somehow believe that as educators at all levels we overlook. The principle of not just feeding/bombarding children with information but finding out first what they intend to do with the education that we would give them. This is important because when we know what kids want, their dreams/their vision for life, we will be able to help them build what they are looking forward to in the future. I believe that when they know that, their education will be used to aid/propel their dreams into motion thus to working against any tidal wave to make sure that they arrive at the destination.

 It is apparent that the landscape around job security has wildly changed and as people in Africa and the world we have to wake up to that reality. It is no longer the case on the ground that after a University graduate takes of their gown the next day they walk into their office. Young graduates today are looming on the streets and to their demise their fellow countrymen who do not have the seemingly esteemed qualification are flourishing and making big deals and transcending in businesses unimaginable. If this does not say we must interrogate our education system, I wonder what will! Perhaps what we tell our children from a young age as little as in primary school should change; learners must be instilled to use education as a means to craft them into the product that will enhance their world. Education must cultivate their minds to be creators of their destiny, revolutionise them to desire to contribute to their communities and bring a desirable change.  

My observation is that students today spend more time on their smartphones or other electronic gadgets. During tutoring, my student told me that they were able to study their material only when they had their headphones on listening to music. They said that during an exam or test they will remember the song that they were studying and somehow remember the details of what they were reading. It is surreal to think of this; however it is likely that students across the globe are doing that. More areas/houses have electricity, connection of home phone lines thus access to internet services. Therefore perhaps our systems should incorporate the dynamic changes in technology. We must teach our children the opportunities that come with being technological literate and how to use it to solve problems locally and globally.

I believe that if we can empower the young generation from a young age (primary school level) we will grow a breed of individuals/future leaders who are keen job creators and not seekers. This will mean that Africa’s manufacturing industries will become sustainable revenue. More importantly it is incumbent upon us to emphasize that white collar jobs are not the only route to enjoying and putting food on the table. That is, there are many ways of being resourcefully creative and contributing to development in our communities.


Strive Masiyiwa Speaks on the Need for Education

Why we must sign this petition on Education!

When I was seventeen years old I was traveling between the Zambian city of Lusaka and Kitwe on the Copperbelt, by bus.

As we travelled out of the city it became very clear that the country was on high alert as there were military checkpoints everywhere. About 100km into our journey and after numerous checkpoints some young soldiers refused to accept my ID documents, at one of them. I was the only foreigner on the bus and they thought they had found an enemy soldier in civilian clothes.

The soldiers immediately handcuffed me and told the bus to go without me. It was in the middle of nowhere and it was late in the day. They were totally agitated and threatened to shoot me!

I was in big trouble.

When they learned I could speak the local language they became even more agitated, accusing me of being a spy.

After I had been held there for several hours, surrounded by screaming soldiers, a senior military officer driving a jeep came along and asked what was happening.

He looked at my papers and ordered my immediate release. He then drove me personally to my destination some 300km away!

When we got there, he said something I will never forget:

__”The reason I drove you all the way is because it was my only way of ensuring that you would not be killed at one of these roadblocks. We are at war with the guys next door (Rhodesia) and our soldiers are very nervous at the moment. Unfortunately, some of them cannot read. We have to ensure that in future everyone in the army can read properly.”

Years later when I saw child soldiers being recruited in Liberia and the DRC, I always remembered that harrowing experience. I imagined the terror of being confronted with uneducated kids with guns who cannot recognise a simple passport. Many people probably lost their lives as a result on incidents similar to mine.

Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and other militant groups are all able to thrive when the educational systems don’t exist to provide proper education.

There is really little we can do to develop our nations if we do not tackle education first. There is little we can do to ensure our security if we do not tackle education first.

Education is the key.

up for school

Please sign this petition. Go now to upforschool.org and sign.

The Petition: “We, the world’s youth, teachers, parents and global citizens appeal to our governments to keep their promise, made at the United Nations in 2000, to ensure all out-of-school children gain their right to education before the end of 2015. We are standing up to bring an end to the barriers preventing girls and boys from going to school, including forced work and early marriage, conflict and attacks on schools, exploitation and discrimination. All children deserve the opportunity to learn and achieve their potential. We are ‪#‎UpForSchool‬.”

Signing will only take you a minute. Sharing with your friends will take even less time. We are really close to the 10m target.

The End.

Source: Strive Masiyiwa’s Official Facebook Page.