Saturday, October 12, 2013

Education For Self-Determination And Emancipation

From Good Governance Africa some statistics revealing the paucity of possibilities for millions of Africans, especially those of Sub-Saharan Africa. Without doubt education is an absolute prerequisite enabling individuals to have access to the tools and information they require for developing their lives on their chosen path. Education matters, as the writer says, for emancipation and self-determination. Socialists would add that this education, for Africans and the world, should be stripped of its capitalist based monetary principles in order to assure real emancipation.

Africa’s education on shaky foundations

In sub-Saharan Africa, one in every three adults is illiterate, according to the
World Bank. African governments have improved the next generation’s literacy by getting more children into schools. Their efforts have shown results: primary school enrolment has increased from 59% in 1999 to 77% in 2010 in sub-Saharan Africa, according to UNESCO, the UN agency responsible for promoting education. This progress is part of a global campaign to ensure that all children are able to complete primary school by 2015, one of the Millennium Development Goals defined in Dakar in 2000.

With the exception of the Arab states and sub-Saharan Africa, all regions of the world are close to achieving the target, with enrolment rates above 93%
throughout. Although more African children are entering school, too many leave before finishing. In three-quarters of sub-Saharan African countries for which data are available, more than 30% of primary students who start school are expected to drop out before they reach the last grade of elementary school, and less than 10% make it through the education system to university, according to UNESCO. Nor are children learning as much as they should.

The Brookings Institution, a US think-tank, estimates that 61m African children of primary school age—one out of every two—will reach their adolescent years unable to read, write, or perform basic numeracy tasks. In Tanzania this means that 28% of Tanzanian sixth-grade pupils are able to read at the appropriate level; in Kenya only 19%; and less than 10% in Uganda, according to the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational
Quality, a group of 15 African education ministries.
This matters because modern states and economies cannot function without
well-informed and educated citizens. Poor education limits a nation’s economic
productivity and prevents citizens from interacting fully with their state and society.

The need for education is made even more pressing by Africa’s growing
population, expected to balloon from 1 billion in 2010 to 1.6 billion in 2030, according to the African Development Bank. To reap the demographic dividend—an economic bonanza resulting from having many working-age people and few dependents—the continent will need many more educated young people who are able to create jobs and compete with the rest of the world.

For as long as Africans neglect good education, they will depend on outsiders.
Chinese engineers will continue to build their roads and railways. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will develop their economic policies. They will remain exporters of raw materials rather than manufacturers of industrial goods. Education matters not only for economic development and democratic progress, but also for emancipation and self-determination.

John Endres CEO of Good Governance Africa (

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