AFRICA AS THE BIRTHPLACE OF MODERN EDUCATION
The continent Africa gave birth to a lot of ideas that shape our modern world. As far as 800 years back, it already hosted the first university of the world in Timbuktu, where men and women of letters gathered together to exchange ideas – from astrology to religion and other important discoveries.
EDUCATION CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER WHERE GOVERNMENTS FAIL
Yet, nowadays, in many regions of the continent, governments continue to fail those who are systematically left on the margins: women, girls, children and many more. As a result, the human rights of the most vulnerable citizens are neglected and ethnic and religious tensions are worsened for personal and political gain. Sadly, one tactic that has often been used to achieve this is to deprive the large majority of the people from educational opportunities, such that citizens do not know what their rights are.
Education can help bridge the gap between ethnic, religious and cultural tensions. If people are not raised to be active from their childhood on, to be responsible participants in their communities and to participate in the activities needed towards achieving development, then it is less likely that any form of peace will be sustainable in the long term. And peace is a key ingredient to meaningful progress.
RESEARCH IS ALSO KEY TO CHANGE
Progress cannot easily occur without educated minds ready to take on its challenges. Indeed, progress depends on research, adaptability, innovation, and an ability to think for oneself. In a way, we owe it to the enlightened men and women who first shared their ideas at ‘Sankore University’ in Timbuktu, over 800 years ago.
Furthermore, better education can serve as the key to active and effective participation on all levels of society. It is a vital part of achieving better relations among people, of fostering respect for others, and of engaging citizens in more social action and public awareness.
EDUCATION ALLOWS YOU TO MAKE AN IMPACT
There are several ways better education can make us take more responsibility and have a bigger impact on the society around us:
- We can become better informed about how a proper democracy and electoral process function, leading, ultimately, to creating stable governments for the people and by the people.
- Better education can teach us to be more ethically responsible and respectful towards the environment, our plants, animals, natural resources etc. These are only finite, so we need to make sure to protect them for future generations.
- We can become more critical and challenging of situations that in their current form might not be productive for society. This can be vital for constructive growth
- We can become more enlightened about how to deal with those who suffer from mental health issues and learning difficulties. This will improve the learning process for both teachers and students
Lastly, education is so much more than formal schooling. There is so much to be learned from our communities – rural and urban – by being more aware and open to exposure. We can then reflect on past failings and injustices, so that we can explore new visions and concepts, new modes of learning and thinking, all of which can help to bring about desired changes in the world.