Knowledge is power, information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.
– Kofi Annan
Just last weekend I was sitting at home reading a book I had just acquired when my dad sits down and starts a conversation on the current state of education. Incidentally, the book I was reading (Black Boy by Richard Wright, a 1900s book) also talked lightly about the educational system so I knew I had to write on it.
How important is education to you?
Society has seen drastic changes, from the stone age leading up to the digital age. We are a people who have gone from primitive ways of problem-solving to cleaner, innovative, more efficient ways. Instead of keeping a whole lot of documents in a storage room and suffer through hours of searching to retrieve information, we have gone paperless by saving files on a drive, and instead of burning rubbish and polluting the atmosphere, we recycle.
Everything else is changing drastically so why not education in Africa? Most schools still use the blackboard for teaching, fewer still use the slate for writing. Our teaching methods are not adapting to meet the current educational needs of our students. We say education spells progress for people so why not make the investment?
The problem with society
Despite all these developments, there are so many problems we still see today. It seems that the more we fix these problems, the more new, more challenging ones arise, creating an endless cycle of destruction.
We are not working for the common good of society. While a small portion of the population is working towards development, the majority of the population who are more ignorant unknowingly pollute society, negating the good works of others. These problems are as a result of the huge knowledge gap in society. A good education will equip people with knowledge and technical skills to become productive citizens to bridge this gap and contribute to development. No country will be able to compete in a global economy if its educational system is broken.
A greater percentage of Africans are illiterate. Among the few who are receiving an education is a portion, who are being fed with a lot of information and not at all taught how to interpret and use it. Everyone should have access to education but this does not mean that we should compromise on the quality of education we give to citizens, whether young or old. Quality education should include access to resources including quality learning tools, good teachers and personalised learning.
Why include technology in education?
Even though some schools in Ghana are equipped with computer laboratories, their use is limited to lessons on Microsoft applications and computer hardware mostly because the teachers are unfamiliar with other software. Subject teachers also do not use the computer and its related technologies because they do not believe it to be relevant to their teaching.
To make the teaching and learning process more effective, educational technologies such as LCD projectors, laptops, tablets, smartboards and video cameras should be incorporated into our teaching system.
Computer studies should also be taught in classrooms. It is important for students to be computer literate because the world is shifting to a more digital space where your relevance will be determined by your knowledge of computer technology
Computer technology and the internet gives teachers and students access to a limitless database of information. It also allows teachers to record complete lessons and make them available to students who could not come for lessons.
It also grants them access to educators and learners from across the globe who interact with and challenge the students’ intellect. Group web pages, blogs, wikis and twitter allow learners and educators to post thoughts, ideas and comments on a website. These interactive platforms allow visitors to ask questions and welcome a variety of debatable answers to expose visitors to different worldviews on a particular topic.
Transformation starts with the mind. The surest way to change the way people think is through education. Let’s invest in quality education to ensure that every student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.
Writer: Naa Shidaa (CBT Level 1 Writer)
Image: nanapoku @afroscope