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.