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Education in Africa: Then Versus Now

Education in Africa - edbuild
Blockbuild.africa Converge

The evolution of education is not as straightforward as it seems, largely due to the way Africa gradually grew, and heavily enjoyed government involvement, and with other assistance from international communities and developed nations.

In pre-colonial Africa, education consisted of traditions, legends and tales, informal apprenticeship, early participation in manpower, and procedures and knowledge related to rituals which were handed down orally from generation to generation. Lessons based on everyday experiences were used to pass information and knowledge.

Educational practices were also implemented through vested interest groups such as age-grades, women associations and also groups of older people who enlightened their young on various aspects of life.

However, in the colonial era in Africa, the focus was on training the elite, spreading religion and promoting the process of colonization.

Songs, dance, drama, poetry, oral literature, music and tales were all deployed as tools for educating and feeding the entertainment needs of the people.

There was also a gradual use of a considerable array of non-verbal arts in telling stories, which helped attract people’s interests.

Education in Africa began to take a formal route as special skills such as medicine, music, crafts, etc. were acquired through a more formal apprenticeship with specialized persons while other special skills were taught by religious leaders.

As things began to change gradually due to the colonial schooling structure, education started extending beyond just what it was.

Learning now meant earning a formal education that could allow people to compete with continents and produce more formally skilled people.

In recent times, education in Africa has witnessed significant growth in the education sector, thanks to technology.

Unlike when the use of blackboards and books was predominant. Today, we now have digital boards and smartbooks.

Platforms abound where students can have access to educational resources, gain more knowledge through the internet, and learn faster.

Despite the tremendous change in the educational system, most of Africa’s education and training programs still lack quality teaching and learning.

There are also cases of inequality at various levels of learning despite a substantial increase in the number of people with access to basic education in Africa.

Outdated methods are still being used in today’s educational system in Africa and this poses a great threat to children because they become underprepared to take up future challenges.

There must be a balance between quality and access, as one without the other would serve as a recipe for disaster.

A new educational model would take into cognizance, latest skillsets that are relevant both now and in the future.


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