The United Nations recently held a debate, wanting to know people’s views on how the Millennium Development Goals could be achieved- everyone seemed to agree that education was key.
However, the issue is not ‘education’ per se but rather the quality of education that is being provided to the African student.
The UN should know by now what kind of education is fit for an African student and know how to implement it.
Africa doesn’t need the system where students sit in class, waiting for the national examination and then promptly forget everything as soon as the exams are finished.
What is the value of studying mechanical engineering when you can’t even repair your own car but instead have take it to locally trained ‘boys’?
This is an example where ‘education’ has not helped in the fight against poverty but rather increased it since the educated can’t do any ‘dirty’ job.
If this kind of system continues, we are going to create ‘smart devils’ who are hackers and Internet scammers.
The best education for Africa should be the one that allows people to be practical. The government should put an emphasis on technical institutions instead of only universities that are not practical.
These technical institutions should not be for only those who have failed to make it to the university but rather for people who have passed well.
In fact, I believe that anyone who has finished university should first attend a practical course in their area of study before they could go into the job market and end up doing shoddy work that doesn’t reflect the education they acquired.
If education is to be of any help to poor countries, let the UN strengthen its involvement in technical institutions and ensure their competitiveness by monitoring their progress.
Besides education, the UN should revise the donations given to poor countries to help them eradicate poverty.
Instead of giving people bicycles because they live in remote areas, teach them how to make bicycles and the problem will be solved permanently.
Lastly, the UN should first handle basic needs before going to higher needs as Abraham Maslow suggested in his theory of hierarchy of needs.
We can’t start talking about eradicating poverty when there is no food security in homes and insecurity is still threatening many communities. Therefore let the UN deal with the most pressing issues in society before they think about eradicating poverty.
If the UN had involved the stakeholders in the implementation of its mission and objectives, I think very many poor countries would have been saved from the current problems they are presently facing.
However it’s never too late and I am hopeful that these millennium goals will be achieved if there is collective effort and a willingness of our leaders to achieve them.
The author is a teacher at Sonrise High School, Musanze