Education: The people’s project

If you ask me about the value of education, I would say it is too important. It is too valuable a commodity to be left in the hands of the rulers alone. Education should be a project of the whole society - the people’s project. But somehow a lie that gave the rulers monopoly of power and responsibility over matters of education has been hatched and nurtured for donkey years.

Tragically, without any scrutiny, the parents were sold the lie and they bought it hook, line and sinker. Consequently, parents sat comfortably in the background and watched from a distance as the rulers ran the show - mapping the future of their children. Few people, if any, saw anything untoward about this arrangement of shifting responsibility.

From a poverty point of view, it was economically expedient for parents to transfer to the governments the financial burden of educating their children. But there was a price to pay, which was, giving away the control of what goes and cannot go into the curriculum .By design, the sponsors of education and training eyed a whole world to gain from their investments.

The sponsors took control of the content of the curriculum in order to mould and sculpt children into the future and the world they had in mind. For over half a century post African colonial governments narrowly focused on producing and refining human capital to feed the government machinery. There was no plan for a future where the government machinery would be saturated to a point of slamming doors on the very university graduates that were trained to serve and sustain it. Africa’s unemployment problem is a consequence of a drought of vision, which led to emphasis on pursuing an irrelevant curriculum serving short-term needs at the expense of a sustainable future.

A lot was going on right before the western civilisation and its education system obliterated the way Africans used to raise and educate their children. African training was for survival and sustainability. At a tender age of about seven, boys and girls were already involved in the family farming enterprise.

Indigenous education was essentially knowledge driven but it received no attention because everything local was deemed worthless. Instead of defending this treasure, a whole society watched helplessly as children who were already active in the family business of farming were plucked out of the farms to attend school. There was nothing wrong with going to school. But what was wrong was embracing wholesale an alien curriculum, which had no relevance to the traditional socio- economic practices of the people.

Practical subjects like Agriculture never made an effort to link what was happening in schools with village farming activities. The gulf created between schools and village life spelt doom for farming. All eyes were fixated on securing white collar jobs in the near future. Now, the painful reality is that the much revered education system has failed to live up to expectations.

There are no jobs anymore and now frantically there is an urgent and desperate call for a return to farming. There is no doubt about the potential of farming as a game changer. But how many products graduating from theoretically founded education are prepared to shed their white collar job mentality to settle for occupations with a practical orientation?

It is going to be a long and painfully slow walk back to the farms because resetting minds, which have been trained to shun agriculture as a less prestigious and little rewarding occupation, cannot be a walk in the park.

The challenge is that many young people treat farming as a weekened undertaking rather than a permanent day-to-day business. If history has any lessons to offer, that should be the need for parents to take a prominent role in the education of their children. Education should begin at home. Parents should closely watch and record the dreams, passions and tastes of their children at tender ages. The data should be relayed to schools to guide schools as they place children into programmes of study.

Families involved in business or some other income generating undertakings should strive to share experiences with their children in order to prepare for a seamless transfer of authority and responsibility.

History is littered with struggling children who originally came from affluent backgrounds. This is partly due to the tendency of keeping children in the dark about what it takes to run a successful business venture. The ongoing challenges afflicting schools should serve as a reminder to all parents to never and never again allow schools, responsible for the education of their children, to walk alone. Increased parental engagement in schools is the last and only hope. It is the biggest reform that schools need for their continuing survival and prosperity.

Editor's Comment
CoA brings sanity to DIS/DCEC long-standing feud

This decision follows the raiding of the office of the former Director General of the DCEC, Tymon Katlholo early 2022 and his staff officer by the DIS operatives who reportedly took files that they had targeted.After all back and forth arguments, the CoA has set the record straight giving an invaluable lesson to the DIS that it was no super security organ and it does not have any powers to cogently supervise other security organs including the...

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