In precolonial Africa, education took the shape of apprenticeship, an unofficial education in which children and perhaps younger members of each home generally learned from adults of their clan, family, and society. It was imparted through vocabulary acquisition, initiation classrooms, artistic instruction, and performing arts. It is critical to consider how children are socialized by using language and how they are socialized through language. Most children received only vocational instruction, which was overseen by their parents, tribe tutors, or individuals designated to specific, specialized jobs within their communities.
Most African education and training programs, as is commonly acknowledged, suffer from low-quality education and learning, as well as disparities and discrimination at all levels. Despite a significant surge in the number of children receiving a basic education, a sizable proportion stays out of school. 72 million African youngsters are not enrolled in school. They are too preoccupied working at home to attend school. Gender issues, religion, war, and health are some of the other reasons children are denied an education.
The biggest barriers to girls’ education in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to be widespread poverty and persisting cultural attitudes, such as forced early marriages and child labor.
In the 1600s and 1700s, European missionaries built schools in West African coastal areas, but these early institutions were short-lived. When Christian missionaries began to arrive in larger numbers in Africa in the early 1800s, they made a concerted attempt to educate indigenous inhabitants. Colonial education was used to separate colonial people from indigenous knowledge. Colonizers wanted Africans to be valuable and skilled workers for their economic prosperity. Furthermore, for colonists, education was a tool for converting people to their religion.
Education is seen as both a universal human right and a matter of public good and duty. However, many people, particularly children in impoverished African nations, do not have this privilege. The good news about education in Africa is that out-of-school enrollment has decreased considerably over the last decade. According to UNESCO, Africa’s current primary school attendance rate is around 80% on average, with the continent witnessing some of the largest gains in elementary school enrollment internationally in the recent several decades.
Education is essential to unlocking Africa’s hidden path to freedom. It serves as the foundation for both social and economic growth. Education is critical because it is a form of human capital investment. This has far-reaching implications on a variety of levels and sectors. Our findings indicate that boosting higher education human capital in African countries will significantly enhance the growth rate of per capita income and, as a result, people’s living standards.
The Eighth Summit of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, coordinated by the Economic Commission for Africa and the Rwandan government, provided a platform for peer learning on the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, with a special emphasis on quality education. Experts bemoaned the fact that, despite improvements in enrolling children, the number of out-of-school children in Africa remains high. “In Africa, it is necessary to go towards excellent education, and this is our niche in the Central African Republic,” stated Education Minister Aboubakar.
As a result, the summit provided a chance for attendees to engage in candid conversations and offer proposals for better education in Africa. These include investments in TVET, prioritizing education finance, increasing public-private partnerships, expanding inclusive education, boosting value-based education, implementing school food and nutrition programs, teacher training, and investing in school supplies. “Some progress has been made in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education, but much more has to be done, since the sector lacks funds, suffers from inadequate strategic thinking, and has misunderstandings regarding TVET education,” stated UNESCO’s Seidu Jallow.
“Teachers are extremely important in the educational environment. “We have a teacher shortage on the continent that has to be addressed as soon as possible if we are to fulfill the SDG4 objective by 2030,” Mr. Jallow said, adding that the “Covid19 pandemic virtually destroyed education systems and most nations had to stop their schools for varying lengths.” “Everyone benefits from a high-quality education.” “We need a strong foundation for our students so that other phases of their life do not get in the way,” stated Namibia’s Minister of Education, Arts, and Culture, Ester-Anna-Lisa-Shiwoomwe Nghipondoka.
An under-investment in science and technology has hampered Africa’s industrialization process at both the structural and sectoral levels (shifting labor and resources from low- to higher-productivity industries) (the growth of productivity within sectors). The repercussions of this lack of investment have been far-reaching: Without the requisite economic and scientific infrastructure, Africa has depended heavily on the colonial conceptual framework of resource extraction, which is both inefficient and partly responsible for the region’s crippling poverty and needs on aid.
Economic fragmentation has exacerbated these issues, as smaller markets limit long-term investments and user capital that would stimulate innovation and accelerate the transfer of technology in the global context. The silver lining is that governments are becoming more cognizant of what science and technology can offer in accomplishing national transformation goals and improving Africa’s economic growth story. Furthermore, given the beneficial relationship between growth and conditions that support competition and invention, competitiveness must be encouraged.
African governments must foster an enabling environment by enacting pro-innovation, pro-science, and pro-technology policies aimed at removing regulatory, corruption, and investment hurdles while encouraging private-sector innovation, adaptation, and adoption. Simultaneously, African governments must invest in developing an environment that encourages expenditure in science and technology, not just to speed discovery but also to allow innovations to access the market more swiftly.
Virtual trade is a reality, and consumption is fast becoming digital. From January to April 2020, e-commerce in the United States and Canada increased by 129 % year on year, while total online retail orders increased by 146 %. In Africa, the pandemic resulted in increased site and app visits to e-commerce companies like Jumia and Kilimall, as well as communication applications and entertainment sites such as Showmax. Businesses, particularly SMEs, will need to invest in initiatives to reduce tariff barriers, capitalize on trade technologies such as digital systems, advocate for policy changes that favor the implementation of trade-facilitating technologies, and enhance the quality of international treaties and standards on system integration, data, and other facets of trade and technology.
Closing the skills gap is critical to unlocking Africa’s potential and increasing shared prosperity. The best-trained, most brilliant researchers gravitate toward places where their work is supported by current technology, dependable utilities, and adequate financing for supplies, as well as, perhaps most importantly, where they may profit from the proximity of other talent pools. As human talent develops across the continent, investment in research, science, and innovation across various sectors, including manufacturing, will increase dramatically, which will be a significant factor in assisting Africa in realizing its development potential and closing income and welfare gaps. Indeed, business-to-business manufacturing expenditure in Africa is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2050, creating tremendous potential for the continent’s overall growth.
Developing an ecosystem in which scientific culture may be important to economic transformation and governmental initiatives is a protracted investment that must not be subject to political or commercial cycles. Effective tripartite (public-private-academic) cooperation and partnerships will be required for long-term success. If Africa can accomplish this in the period of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the benefits of science, technology, and innovation may be harnessed for better economic, social, and environmental sustainability on the continent and beyond.
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