Educational issues for sustainable development in Africa
Julkaistu sarjassaTyöpapereita / Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos
Educational systems in Africa during the colonial period focused on a school system that was based on the perspectives of the colonial rulers. Nearly half a century ago African leaders, after the independence granted to their countries, were expressing the high hopes of positive political and economic development in their countries. But alas, the development has been regressive. Today Africa is the only continent in the world that has become poorer in the past 25 years. There has been a gradual fall in the school enrolment rate in the African countries. Countries like Nigeria, according to a recent joint study by Nigeria’s National Planning Commission and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), had 57 percent of its population over the age of 15 that could read and write in 1991. But by 1999, the figure had fallen to 49 percent. By the year 2000, half the world’s poor were in Africa compared with 10% in 1970. Vast majority of the population in the African countries, according to the World Bank, live on less than one US Dollar a day. The unemployment and underemployment rate is getting higher. So also, the standard of education has been falling due to lack of infrastructure, funds for teachers’ salaries, corruption and diseases. Even though there is seemingly high rise of school enrolment, the over-stretched infrastructure and lack of good management of resources have continued to lower the standard of education. As one of the consequence there have been steady and drastic degradation of the environment and increasing abject poverty. A confounding situation in Zambia, for example, is that more than 70 percent of the population lives in poverty, the education achievement is being undermined by a shortage of teachers, according to the Global Campaign for Education. However, another source shows that 9,000 vacancies remain unfilled and that almost the same number of recently qualified teachers are also unemployed, apparently because of financial constraints that have resulted from the IMF’s structural adjustment policies (South African Institute for International Affairs [SAIIA Report]) 2005. Even those who remarked that there has been progress in the education sector in Africa nevertheless indicated the huge problems constraining the sector. Govender, for example, told the Johannesburg gathering held Dec. 2, 2004 that “… at the current slow pace of enrolment growth, Africa will not achieve UPE until at least 2150 – and even then it may not acquire the skills it needs to truly develop”. The socio-economic indicators show that African countries are not on the path of sustainable development. Education is one of the major instruments for sustainable development if properly planned and implemented. It is of no wonder that the United Nations declared 2005 to 2015 as the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. The declaration shows that the world, with the rapid on-going globalization and information technology, is in need of re-evaluating and overhauling the present educational policies and practices to achieve sustainable development. Many of the more economically advanced countries are regularly assessing their school curricula and making amendments to suit their development. The developing countries, especially those in Africa, are lagging behind in curricula development that could facilitate sustainable development. Without serious appraisals of the present school curricula in African countries, the continent will find it hard to be part of the information society. It is there therefore of no overstatement that Africa needs urgent researches to find the ways for re-assessing and developing school curricula for sustainable development. This book, a series of articles written by African and European researchers, is an attempt to contribute to the scientific discussion on education for sustainable development. The authors have brought up educational issues that are important for consideration in the process of reevaluation of school curricula for education for sustainable development and achievement of education for all. The articles focused on the educational issues in Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. In some of the chapters general views of education as related to culture and value are discussed. A chapter is also dedicated for some views from experts in education for sustainable development. This is to show the attempts already being made in Europe, and possibility of learning from them to evolve curricula that are relevant to the everyday life and sustainable development in African. ...
JulkaisijaInstitute for Educational Research
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