Africa is the mother of civilization. It is the center and origin of modern technology, but today Africa has been at the back and far behind in development.
Poverty is a major problem of African development, because money has a very important role to play. Education is an all-round process by which an individual’s mental and physical faculties are developed, making him aware of the circumstances in which he lives and from awareness, enable him to make the most out of those circumstances. In whichever way one acquires education, it is not free or cheap – money is involved.
Poverty has created a wide gap such that illiteracy is preferred by people, and it is succeeding in caging the African child to be incapable of many things. Poverty has caused many people today to heard their children, especially the males, into trades rather than send them to school. Some parents also prefer to send their children to farm and the female children into marriages because they see these as more beneficial than the education they may acquire.
An educated person is expected to acquire such skills as literacy and numeracy and abilities to pursue various vocations using his hands. He is also expected to be useful to himself and to his society and to particularly contribute positively to the growth of that society.
With the current trend of formal school system, the number of African children that are out of school is alarming. The few rich among us have seized the system to be their status symbol, and where they sense a challenge from a simple help, private schools become the most preferred thereby subjecting public schools to perpetual decay.
The bulk of the African child population falls within the ages of 0 and 22 years. As a matter of fact, the child has to move from pre-school age through the various levels of the formal educational system until he completes the first level of his tertiary education. By the time he completes his first level of tertiary education, the person has developed into a full grown adult and it will thus not be appropriate to refer to him as a child anymore.
In Nigeria, for example, the government has made different moves to bring about balance and empower the children through mass literacy, yet the effort has yielded no fruit. However, the imbalance in the development of the country’s educational system between the northern and the southern parts, contribute a considerable debate in Nigerian educational system. While one part of the geographical constituents believes that education is needful and could go any length to train up their children, the other part depends solely and heavily on the government for their children’s education, thus compounding the chances of educating the children as expected.
Although, funding is a crucial factor in providing the necessary facilities needed in our quest for educating our teeming children, it is not the only factor, or even the most basic one. Below are some other factors that militate against the African child education.
1. Facilities — Inadequacy of learning facilities pose a great threat to child education. Lack of classrooms, laboratories, workshops, libraries, instructional materials, and other buildings at all levels can hamper child education. Besides, lack of maintenance of existing facilities also contributes to the problem of child education in Africa.
2. Workers — Shortage of teachers and other school workers, more especially trained ones, that can handle major works as their need arises. Core subjects like Physical Sciences, Languages, Technical and Vocational, need qualified teachers that can handle them, but in most schools they are lacked. In some places where you have the teachers, they are abandoned to work in unfriendly environments by their employers, making their jobs so difficult that they are forced to leave teaching for greener pastures in private and public services, because for them, the educational commodity is not providing them satisfactory rewards and no one desires to be a teacher today. Educating the African child becomes a waste of time and resources when the schools lack qualified teachers and workers.
3. Discipline — With the serious disciplinary problems in all facets of our educational system, achieving a quality education for the African child is a mirage. Absenteeism, strikes, crimes of riotings, examination malpractices, and even murders, affect children education in Africa. In most cases, the teachers lack the needed motivation, and as such deny their employers their total commitment to duty, displaying low morale to the jobs. In fact, all the stakeholders are guilty of disciplinary problems – teachers, students, educational planners and administrators.
4. Administration — Constant changes in policy formulation and execution has occasionally been cited as one of the problems in education today. The continuity and stability of the African child in education is grossly affected.
5. Economy — The present economic situation is imposing upon many parents heavy financial burdens in the course of educating their children.
6. Parental And Communal Responsibilities — Parents and other members of the community have as a matter of cause, shirked their responsibilities towards the education of their wards. With this types of ugly development, educating the African child will continue to be a burden and an impossible task.
However, there is hope in view if the government will come to the rescue. However, our attitudes towards education need to change, so that we all will see it in its basic objective of preparing the mind for responsible citizenship. With this, educating the African child will not only be possible, but a huge success.