Where do top performing students go?

Every  year the Ministry of Education releases primary, Ordinary and Advanced level examination results. A good number of candidates score highly, advance to Universities and later merit as academic achievers, but where do these top performing students go?

Every  year the Ministry of Education releases primary, Ordinary and Advanced level examination results. A good number of candidates score highly, advance to Universities and later merit as academic achievers, but where do these top performing students go?

Young and brilliant academic achievers disappear into oblivion after graduating from the academia. It is only in rare cases that people who were known to be academic giants in schools grow up to become prominent people in African countries.

Is there something fundamentally flawed in our education system that most African countries have adopted over time? Why is the Western world advanced in science and technology due to the brain-work of gifted individuals yet African countries with no evidence for lack of intelligent minds are still wanting?

In developed economies such as Japan, gifted individuals are spotted during their formative years and given special kind of training that brings out their inherent potentials.

That is why countries like the US have centres of excellence are found in various universities. In the Far East, during the period of rapid development by the Asian Tigers, gifted young people would be sent to top institutions of learning like Tokyo University or to American Universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT to fully develop their talents.

It was due to such bold and radical moves that the countries in the Far East were able to jump-start the process of national development and transformation. Within a single generation a number of East Asian countries were able to transform from third world to first world economies.

One can safely state with out any fear of contradiction, that it was because of tapping the potentialities of gifted individuals while still in the formative stages that such countries achieved astronomical developments in such a relatively short period.

Evidence suggests that even people like Albert Einstein who would later play a role in the invention of the Atomic bomb and nuclear energy were spotted in their early years of life. So why is it that western societies and recently East Asians, have for a long period ensured that gifted young people in their societies do not disappear into oblivion in later life, while in African countries and societies that seems to be the rule rather than an exception?

African societies, as Afro-pessimists tend to suggest, seem to be inherently incapable of achieving anything that can stand the test of time.

In recent times Rwanda has taken the issue of developing its human resources as a very important step towards national development. A number of intellectually gifted scholars are sent to the west to pursue higher education. This is a very positive development in a country that realises the importance of human resource development.

However, the tragedy of African countries including Rwanda is that most of the people sent to the west do not return to apply the skills and competencies acquired from the west. This can partly explain why top scoring students disappear into oblivion later in life.

A number of them remain in the west and have a minimal impact on the development plans and transformation processes of their countries. This kind of brain drain has contributed to the stunted development of African nations.

To fully tap these potentials, systems that ensure the return of such people to their home countries ought to be put in place and implemented. Though they contribute a substantial amount of revenues through remittances back home, the loss incurred by the country of origin is always greater.

The question that still racks many people’s minds is; why is it that most East Asians like Japanese or Koreans who go to America or Europe to acquire better skills, return to their countries of origin upon completion of their studies while most of the Africans opt to stay out of their countries?

It is apparent that if one goes by the above analysis, the reason African countries remain in a state of quagmire is because they are unable to tap, develop and reward their best human resources. If this was done, a lot would be achieved in a relatively short period of time. And more still, the bright and best students in schools would not disappear into oblivion later in life.
frank2kagabo@yahoo.com

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