Problems with Africa’s Educational System
What are the problems or challenges facing African education?
Africa! What is wrong with our education sector? Do you think it is of a good standard? Our standard of education is in a coma.
Africa based on documentation as of when this article is first published is the poorest continent on the planet earth. After it comes Asia. This poverty coupled with weak management and other factors contribute to problems facing the continent’s education standard.
Education is what everybody who exists in this present time needs to acquire to meet up with the demand of the society. Many developed countries pay good interest on education because they understand that it can go a long way in solving national problems.
Education is the process of educating or being educated. It is the series of training given to students practically and theoretically. The places of training include the nursery and primary schools, secondary schools and the higher institutions. The broad category of education is the formal and the informal education. Formal education is the method whereby the students are taught by their teachers or lecturers in their learning classes from their course outlines. It involves learning how to read and write. Informal education is the type that does not involve learning how to read or write. Example of Informal education is teaching the unlearned in rural areas on how to cast their votes on the Election Day. But in this context, the writing is based on formal education.
In Africa, there are many challenges that the education department encounters. The quality of educational services offered by this continent is in shamble. The education sector in the continent needs serious attentions and helps from capable hands. The problems with the education of this region should not be treated with kid gloves. Does any university from this continent make the top 100 in the world? According to the 2011-12 ranking from Times Higher Education World University Rankings powered by Thomson Reuter, University of Cape Town was ranked 103 in the world (Times Higher Education Ranking). This was the best result from African Region. The university is located in South Africa. It attained the total score of 53.2%. This evidence shows that education standard in African region need maximum resolution.
In the year 2012, University of Witwatersrand situated in Johannesburg of South Africa was ranked #363 in the world by QS World University Rankings. The same body ranked the university number 313 and 318 in 2013 and 2014 respectively on the world scale. The university dropped in 2015 as it was ranked number 331. The result shows that Africa needs upgrade in its education sector because this university that was ranked 2nd in Africa in the year 2014 is found at the bottom of the table in the world standard grading.
Solution simply means a way of solving problems. This piece suggests possible solutions that should be inculcated to bring education sector of Africa to life. When these are accepted and carried out, the education department of Africa will be revived.
Examining the World’s Education Ranking
The truth is that facts and figures have shown that African education is in a serious mess. In this section, to be listed and discussed are the top universities/colleges in the world and then compare them with the ranking of that of African education. These are current figures based on the time this work is published.
How Universities Are Ranked – The Methodology
Two primary level indicators – Economics and Social Affairs, were used to rank the universities in categories. Then 7 criteria – Innovation; Research; Publications; Facilities; Teaching; Employability; and Social Responsibility, were used to measure each university strengthens within the two primary indicators-QS University ranking.
This sector which is one of the basics needed to meet up with the new generation’s updates is not well rooted in Africa. The challenges that the education system of the Africa Continent faces is lecturers’ weaknesses, government failures, weak practical background, hindrances from institutions, learning environment, crises, non-patriotism, and sentimentalism.
Lecturers’ Weaknesses: The most number of lectures we have in Africa are not carrying out their assignments well. They do not know how to offer quality services to the students of many institutions in Africa. They fail to update their lecture notes, make use of the textbooks which their ‘’forefathers’’ used during the time of their study and do not update as the technology changes and advances. Some of them only dictate notes to the students without taking a time to explain what the note is all about. This is a big blow on the face of Africa education system. How many lecturers in Africa have laptops or computers which give up-to-date information? Do those lecturers in Engineering and other departments know the latest changes in the areas of their specialization?
Government failures: This is another critical issue that hinders the progress of education sector in Africa. Many governments in this continent have selfishness running in their veins. They are more concerned on how to embezzle the public fund. The question one may ask is this: I think that their children are also affected since they are part of the community? The politicians send their children to foreign continents where their education system is better. The strike is the order of the day in many tertiary institutions in Africa because the governments do not want to add quality to education sector through funding. This is not new in Nigeria as the government of the country overlooks the importance of this sector. University teachers, under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, had on July 1, 2013, embarked on an indefinite strike to protest the no implementation of a part of an agreement it had with the federal government in 2009 (Sunnewsonline.com). The government in some cases do not pay the teachers well. The amount of salary paid to a teacher is dependent on the quality of service he is likely to offer. He looks for another source to make ends meet; thereby offering low-quality service (Does the Nigeria Education System Prepare Students for the Work Environment?).
Weak practical background: In many schools in Africa, students are taught with little or no practical knowledge. This problem goes from the primary to the tertiary institutional level. It is hard to enter any educational institutions and see well-installed machines for studies. This is one of the reasons for high maternal death in Africa. Most medical doctors in Africa lack practical knowledge on how to handle pregnant women during child birth. The report shows that the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) for developing regions is 15 times higher than that of developed regions. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 56 percent of global maternal deaths (UNFPA Global Site). A medical doctor in African continent lacks good skills on how to handle child’s delivery. The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa—where 1 in 9 children dies before age of five (child info website). According to CIA World Factbook, Niger has high Infant Mortality Rate of 87.98% in 2013 (Wikipedia). This is graded based on the number of infants that dies per 1,000 who are under one year. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one-year-old per 1,000 live births. Many doctors in Africa do not undergo serious practical training on the kind of treatment to give the infants. This is one of the causes of the high infant death in Africa.
Hindrances from institutions: This has to do with the attitudes of many African universities to the students. Some universities in this continent do not permit the students to learn more from other sources or environments. They are not taken to some places, for instance, European continent to learn new things and add to the one they already know. Some departments keep their students in a particular area without taking them out to compete with others. When they compete, they bring out what they have and learn from the other party or parties. Visiting most developed parts of the world for further learning will help African students grow in knowledge and self-discovery.
Learning environment: This is the area where students undergo their daily studies. The classrooms and lecture halls of the students are not well organized. The nature of the environment that students study in matters a lot. The problem with the study environments of the students is that it is jam-packed with students. A lecture hall that supposes to accommodate 50 students has about 150 students in it. This makes understanding by the students void. The lecture hall generates heat, students feel uncomfortable and assimilation becomes a problem. In many tertiary institutions in Nigeria, undergraduate students still learn under the sun. This condition makes students perform low in their individual departments. African students are more intelligent than those of the developed countries of the world. The problem is that we are affected by the environmental conditions.
Crises: Africa has experienced many dangers for many years. These environmental disorders seriously affect the education standard negatively. These crises involve both political crisis and wars faced by many nations of this region. These crises range from inter-religious and non-religious. These disorders affect the education sector as students are prevented from carrying on with their studies. During these crises, many types of equipment and facilities used in the education department of Africa are destroyed. In June 2013, people including secondary school students and teachers were killed when Boko Haram gunmen attacked a boarding school in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state. Boko Haram has so far burnt down more than a dozen primary schools in northern Nigeria. In addition, in late April, more than 16 people were killed in attacks on two Sunday services at Bayero University. The administrative block of Gombe State University was destroyed during an earlier attack (Vanguard News). Boko Haram is a terrorist group that attacks and causes a crisis in Nigeria. The challenges and problems that this group has caused are severe.
Non-patriotism: This implies not being patriotic. It is the situation where a citizen does not support the activities going on in his or her country. This is also the challenge that the education sector in Africa is facing. The qualified teachers and lecturers in this country find joy in traveling to abroad. They do not value this sector. Instead of helping to bring up education department of Africa continent, they are always busy flying abroad. Also, the wealthy and rich people do not offer to help hands to the education sector in Africa. They supposed to contribute the small quota of theirs in support of education sector. What they do is enriching foreign nations by investing in foreign banks.
Sentimentalism: Vice Chancellors, deans of different faculties, heads of department, headmasters, and headmistresses do not place the right persons in different departments of learning. This makes many departments to produce half-baked graduates. Many who teach as teachers and lecturers are there because they are related to someone at the top. This makes some lectures to handle some courses they know little or nothing on. This affects the performances of the students in a very big way. In one of the tertiary institution I know, a lecturer that studied Biochemistry lectures students in metallurgical Engineering. How do you see this? What links Biochemistry with Metallurgical Engineering?