|dc.description.abstract||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