A is for Apple, B is for Ball, C is for Cat, D is for Dog and so goes the abstract form of learning for an average African. School is a vague academic journey.
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In the last three years, I have had the opportunity to work in a primary school as a teacher and administrator. I see everything wrong with our academic teaching all over Africa and it all starts at cradle.
As a Nigerian and a major decision maker in the school I currently work, I see parents sad when their children are taught the wrong way. They all want the Western way of teaching, speaking and discipline.
You cannot solve an African problem with an European/African solution.
The result will be less productive.
What is wrong with the Western Way Of Education?
Everything from its application is wrong here in Africa. As Africans, I feel we should use the Western Education as a template to develop ours.
I will try my best to analyse certain issues and how teaching the same in Nigeria (a well known African country) will be wrong and too abstract.
Alphabets and objects
In America, 'A for Apple' is totally right. This is because even a poor American can purchase apples from a $1 store and eat as much as he/she can. They have it everywhere.
Here in Nigeria, Apple is not grown by our farmers because of our temperate weather. Also, if a farmer cultivates it, he might have to sell it at a price above what is affordable for an average Nigerian which might affect demand. Hence, he prefers to cultivate stables like wheat, rice, cowpea, millet and so on.
Considering my first point above, the child of that average farmer will find learning uninteresting as apple is only seen in the charts and textbooks.
We don't have winter in Africa, we have harmattan
When I was in primary school, I found it difficult to understand the seasons in science class because everything my teacher taught me about snows and cold temperatures. This is because all we have is the heat of the sun during the dry season, the heavy rain during summer and dry, cold dusty breeze during the harmattan.
There are many more problems we have that we should fix in Africa.
The slow extinction of our native language in calling certain words; especially fruits, colours and numbers.
The evil penetration of religion over culture.
Many idiotic man parade the Northern and North central parts of Nigeria claiming to be herdsmen and all they do is slaughter people.
In the past, culture honored lives and the use of native medicine was used to attack enemies and fight them. Some communities even had wild animals that were trained to fight enemies. In a case like the Jos attack, the community would have released a pack of wolves and foxes to attack their enemies who used guns and matches.
This might seem funny but trust me, it would have kept the enemies at a distance.
I have read and heard that Europeans, Americans, Canadians don't discipline their kids. Well, by my reason they do. It's just different from the way we do.
In the Western world, things go on normally. The level of corruption is controlled compared to our clime and law enforcement is standard.
Here in Africa, everything is not right. Parents have to instill discipline in the highest possible way to make their children understand the need to be cultured and disciplined.
The abstract learning goes on and on and eats into our academic system, judiciary, government and all walks of lives.
In the end, we have good Western Education and solutions which are not applicable to our own native land.