Africa: Should Education Systems in Africa be Decolonized?

African countries are still adhering to education systems that serve the interests of the former colonizers.

By Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza. 30:10:2019

Africa inherited an education system imposed on it by the colonizers, an education system that is devoid of promoting true African values to present African needs. It is a system that glorifies the history of Europe and places over-emphasis on it while African history is neglected. 

A country can only move forward when its education is reformed. The way people are taught in a country has a huge impact on the levels of innovation and development. Education in Africa is fast becoming irrelevant in the light of the ever-changing present dynamics of African existence. Education in Africa does not truly speak to the African as it alienates him from his surroundings in terms of ideology. 

Education simply does not entail building more schools and pouring more money into the sector – though this is what makes every sector tick. But it is more about changing what you are teaching so that students across all strata of life can get a holistic approach to life and emotions, a holistic approach to Africa’s history and unique cultures. It is about fashioning education in an exciting way that speaks to the needs and demands of the African in order to gain the requisite skills needed to foster innovation and development. 

The time to religiously adhere to European-styled education systems that only served the interests of the colonizer should be a thing of the past. For that remains a yoke on the neck of the African. 

Education should be fashionable to the African and should help us navigate our problems with the full confidence that we can tackle these problems with the important and correct knowledge we would have armed ourselves with. To better our lives, education should be at the forefront, but in a way that is engaging and fun – a way that truly speaks to our experiences as Africans. 

Because on the other hand, a society without an education is a ticking time bomb, a recipe for self-destruction. Julius Malema once said, “You must go to school, you must love education. Our people can no longer be led by uneducated people. Education can never be negotiated. It must be free, it must be compulsory. All those who qualify to go to school… you must get your seat through your matric results.” 

What the colonizer did was to ensure that the education he modelled for the African would not fully empower his mind and the intention was to keep the African from thinking in truly independent African ways. This is the onus we have – to change our education systems so that they do not reflect the attitudes of the colonizers and that they speak directly to the needs and desires of the Africans. Education systems all over Africa must be wholly decolonized if the continent is to realize progress. 

A particular point of reference is the teaching of history in Africa. History must be taught in a way that enables people to understand why things stand as they are in today’s world. History should aim to give students a better and objective view of the world. The status quo can only be addressed if we fully have a true, unbiased account what happened before. History should glorify Africa more. It should glorify the black cause more. 

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