It starts early, you can’t learn to ride bike in a classroom; and while academic studies are vital, the youth need experience outside of class - be it practical experience in a chemistry lab or field trips to the national history sites, museums etc.
Research reaffirms the belief that practical education boosts a student’s self-esteem, knowledge and skills (both academically and in the outside world), and enhances their transitions into working lives.
Looking at the educational systems of Africa, especially The Gambia, they are not worthy of using the name EDUCATION in identifying institutions that are responsible for educating the public, because education doesn’t exist in our systems rather we should just call it learning systems.
Education is the process of imparting knowledge, values, skills and attitudes, which can be beneficial to an individual or the society. On the contrary, we are just adopting knowledge, value and skills.
It’s sad when you look at Africa, using a system which was imposed on us as our educational system for a century now. It's still the same. A system that is programed to undermine the full potential of the African child, to not to think on his/her own, because he/she is already provided with what she has to learn. We are told the smartest one among us is the one that can solve differential equations, know all theories of economics, Newton's laws, beautiful sites of colonial history and so on while we need a system that will help explore all the hidden potential of every African child because we are all great in our own ways.
Every potential is needed if we want to move forward. That can be done when we orient our educational system on the practical aspect of learning and stop adopting, photocopying things that have been discovered and used centuries ago in other parts of the world.
The African children needs to be free to think within their environment and bring out the best in them. This can come to frution when the students are involved in practical learnings and not just the theoretical aspect.
We need to stop this crazy way of learning, reading thousands of theories that you never get to test neither formulate your own to be tested and at the end phase, these excessive exams which have been nothing but a source of trauma on the minds of the students. After not been exposed to practicing what you learn, you again have to face excessive exams and as a result students learn for exams not for the knowledge. That’s why Africa is producing graduates, who are occupying our offices and cannot effect any change because they have nothing to offer.
If I have the opportunity this is how I will change the entire education system of the Gambia (😊😊😊).
From primary school at least two Gambian national languages will be taught; a civic education subject to teach the young ones about citizenship, Gambian history, instill patriotism in them and basic mathematics to help build their thinking skills and maybe one or two foreign languages.
At the middle schools, students will all be exposed to both basic sciences, arts and the commence field with practicals to help students identify where their potentials lies. By the time they reach high school, students will know where their interest and abilities lie either: in the art, commerce or science sector and straight away they will get into those areas to keep exploiting their areas of interest in that particular field.
At the first two grades of higher school students, will be exposed to all the disciplines available in that particular field. and by the final year each student will know what he or she would like to further or specialize on as a career after high school.
Tertiary institutions would be designed in such a way that it will be able to solve our country’s problems, offer causes and design them in a way that can be result yielding, in other words will be reach oriented. Not just creating thousands of economics when we need entrepreneurs, thousands of public health officers or nurses when we can balance them with research scientists etc.
All these systems will be more oriented in the practical aspect than the long used theoretical part of learning. Because practical education helps retain knowledge, improves skills and better understanding, can motivate team work, it does not required mugging up etc.
It's time to learn in our realities and stop adopting things from others but rather we should mount our own research and provide solutions for ourselves, create our own research labs and create scientists to study our environment and provide ways of improving our health and nutrition. Engineers to construct our own rockets, construct great roads, take part in exploring space. Create professional journalists, lawyers and great policies.
This continent deserves better.
By 🌷Ousman L Camara🌷.