Out of Africa–On Education

261Over the next few weeks, I will post a few lingering thoughts from my recent trip to Mozambique, Africa. That trip changed me, and I find some aspects of re-adjusting to “normal” life quite challenging. That unsettled, disconnected feeling is back. I will write more about this later, when what’s behind it is clearer, but for now I will focus on things I seem to have a firmer grasp on.This first one is on education.

Lack of education I think is the basis for most of the problems in Mozambique, as it is in all countries, developing or otherwise. Education is the only way path to a better future. And that means a quality education, with well-trained, fairly paid teachers. They play a critical role in forming the next generation, and yet we continue to attach so little importance and worth to them. I can think of no better definition of “short-sighted.”

Education should not only teach you about things, it should also teach you how to think. It should teach you to ask questions. It should teach you to see things differently, beyond your own narrow scope, and to consider bigger issues and implications. It helps make you a global citizen. Education makes you more employable, which means you have a chance to earn a better living. It makes you less dependant. It opens up options, which makes you less desperate. And desperation makes people dangerous.

Education changes everything at the source, and I believe this is where most of our energy and resources should be channeled.

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8 thoughts on “Out of Africa–On Education

  1. I have a thought that has been in place since I became a mother and passed it on to my children:
    Education(Knowledge) is power and power equals freedom.. the same applies for countries children.. we must educate all children, equally across the globe..

  2. Hey J,
    Great thoughts on education, it made me ponder this a bit. Yes, education can be a powerful tool; for those who have a good education, it CAN open doors to a better life. However, sometimes it is a weapon used to keep those without it oppressed – think the ruling educated elite of some developing countries. They tend to be highly corrupt, creating bureaucratic and economic instability (mainly through nepotism) and further robbing their population of the necessary tools to become educated.

    Sometimes an education doesn’t do anything for people and can actually be harmful – think Cuba where the population is highly educated yet there are way too few good jobs created through “Cubanism” for them to really thrive and be happy. I think the Cuba dilemma may actually even be worse than the Mozambique problem – Cubans are educated, know how to critically analyze the problems, and therefore feel totally trapped as they know what others in the world have and they do not. In Mozambique though, the masses are uneducated and just really don’t know and live day-to-day.

    • Good point Rel. And it is likely this ambivalence that leads to inaction. Certainly there are many issues that compound the education problem, and there are certainly exceptions, like Cuba, that also need to be solved. What we do know is that without it (education), there is virtually no hope.

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