‘If you want to know the true value of education, try ignorance.’ Most of us have come across similar statement every now and again in the various instances of our lives. I can, personally, confess that I heard it for the first time back in High School (Agoro Sare High!).
Anyway, ignorance can be broadly termed as the total lack of knowledge about something. An ignorant person knows exclusively nothing about anything important in their society. Every time the people in this category hears something of a general knowledge, it sounds like a breaking news in their eardrums.
Africa has, since time immemorial, been considered wanting in matters education and the associated standards. Heart-breaking, not much has been put in place to salvage this extreme condition. The education sector in most African states is ever malnourished in terms of investments, over the years. And, to add insult to injury, no one seems to show a little care to this.
The war-torn countries such as Somalia, the DRC, Sudan and the northern parts of Nigeria are a great hindrance to the progress of education. Where bullets and rifles are the norms, pen and paper have no chance. And once the younger generation is denied the precious opportunity to learn something new and develop their creative abilities, it becomes nothing far from breeding a pool of zombies unfit to coexist with their fellow humans.
It is quite an undeniable fact that the ever-escalating poverty level in Africa is a key facilitator of this vice. Poverty is twin-sibling to poverty, and they usually walk together. Many a time, the level of ignorance is seen to be in a direct proportion to that of poverty. This proves the sense that, you do not expect children from families struggling to provide the basic human needs to be commoners in any learning center. For what use? It has no direct economic benefit to the family, and, thus, it would strictly be dismissed as a great waste of time. Or how can the child sit down peacefully for the better part of the day, knowing very well that they are assured of nothing for their grumbling stomachs when they get back home?
The move by the Kenyan government to provide free and subsidized education to its people has witnessed a major boom in the numbers of school goers. This is commendable. However, the program does not necessarily mean that all persons at the school-going age do actually go to school. Even the introduction of milk and snacks, to lure more attendants and ensure the retention of learners, does not improve the education standards. This is arguably true in the sense that such incentives do not guarantee learner attention or willingness to learn whatever that is being taught. Hitherto, this sentiment should not be subjected to the error of misquoting; since – in some isolated cases – the move does work, even though to a lesser degree!
In addition, public awareness campaigns have not been successful in their role in this huge task. The media, both print, and broadcast are limited to those who can access such means. Even the physical means of public information only gets to those within accessible locations. And being that there still exists remote places which are yet to see the dawn of civilization, their enlightenment remains at the brink.
Ignorance is such a deeply rooted stump in the heart of development that needs to be keenly checked upon. It proves impossible to infuse development agenda to a population that does not comprehend such tongues. From one generation to the next, in a ceaseless succession, the young are left to wallow in the sticky muck trod by their parents.
Without proper intervention and responsibility from the concerned stakeholders, ignorance will forever remain a stab in the back of Africa’s development and a stab dominant gene in the genome of the genome of the African continent.
By: Reinhardt Esq. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org