A few hours before I left the office last night, (I was working late on this publication that I had to print a draft this morning), a colleague who happens to do media monitoring for the university pointed out a very interesting article. The article on one of the local dailies was saying how African universities lag behind especially in terms of ICT. By the way I had read four of the dailies by that time but had skipped that article somehow.
Anyway the article somewhat trigger this article as the news that in the top 500 varsities, only one was from our beloved continent (University of Cape town) was devastating.
Just look at this graph and then tell me what you think:
More to this
- Africa was unrepresented in the top 100 universities in Arts and Humanities
- Africa was unrepresented in the top 100 universities in Social Sciences
- If you would like to see the rest just click here the enter username: olivermwandishi Password: african
Anyway, I set aside my reaction and went on with the publication I was working on and went ahead to break the university’s curfew (you know how Kenyan institutions operate). So I went ahead and left the office late with the Graphics Editor of the university newspaper (I told you earlier about where I am the Editor) and who also happens to be my better half. Before I sway away from my point… let me say that last night was one of those nights that I either leave the university gates for my house very late or don’t leave at all.
As we left, I shared with her my days finding and immediately a very intellectual discussion started. I have always complained of the education standards in terms of quality of teaching staff, the system, infrastructure and flexibility (ask me why I hate curfews).
We finished our conversation with the conclusion that what Kenya and in deed Africa needs is not economic reforms, political reforms, health reforms, but education reforms. Education reforms in terms of offering quality, competitive and affordable equal education opportunities to the conntinents citizens. Unless this is done Africa will remain the most resourceful continent with nothing to show of it.
The major question I ask myself is why our education system did not allow me to realise that I would eventually fall in love with pens, notebokks, cameras and coputers and evtually work my self up in four years to become a journalist. In other words, why spend 12 years doing everything and end up doing nothing of all that is worth the four years. The other day I was remembering and sharing with my friends how I could 8 years ago draw the entire heart or rather circulatory system from the top of head. This is a fete I cannot do. Reason being that I did it to pass my exams and if I was doing it this year…I could only need a year’s fees to buy all the exam papers.
I think the rot in all our system (church, government, media etc) is a product of our education sytem. Same thing in the university, it took me two semesters or one year to strat doing what brough t me here. Then we say we are surprised by the fact that we only hve on African country in the top 500 varsities in the world.
We will not achieve maximum change in the continent unless we change this one thing. Our ideology of education as just going to school should be done away with in this modern age. I do not think that if they taught me media ethics all the way in primary school, I would be any less a better journalist.
My point here is that what we need is to review our education system before we even review our constitution and governance.