Education is among the basic needs in the current world. A person requires food, clothing, and shelter. However, to survive in the digital world, one requires education to shed light on his way. Many countries in the world have taken education as a basic need; therefore, emphasizing that the young generation should pursue its high levels. Other states have concentrated many resources in education to ensure that they offer the best to learners. African countries are not left behind since during the colonial period many has adopted the education systems of their colonial masters that are contributing towards social, political, and economic development. The paper will focus on the challenges that African youths are facing and what the government can do to improve their lives. Besides, it will examine the measures that the government is taking to make youths live better.
The authorities should put in place measures and programs to ensure that African youths reap maximum benefits from the expected boost in the economy. Among these programs that the government can work on are agriculture programs. Most youths in Africa practice both subsistence and cash crop farming. Some communities have a nomadic lifestyle; they rely on their animals for a living. Hence, this poses a serious problem since Africa is known to experience widespread drought and famine. At times, some parts are swept away by raging floods. Many have abandoned this lifestyle and left rural areas in search of opportunities. The government is introducing more drought resistance and quality crops to farmers to increase food production and reduce losses. Therefore, youths are benefiting a lot from these programs.
The governments are doing commendable work while encouraging diversification of the economy by supporting major programs with growth potentials. Most individuals are conscious of the use of education and have fully embraced it as the key to a better future. Some governments have come up to introduce free and affordable education from primary to university level (Mungazi 56). Free and cheap education is evidenced by the huge population of university graduates. Therefore, this fact presents a large pool of the labor force ready to take up the job markets. There is stiff competition for available vacancies in the market, and only a few talented can get them. Unemployment presents a challenge for African Democracies since every year people are graduating from colleges and universities hoping to secure employment in the public and private sectors. What happens when youths fail to get jobs? There is serious moral decay in the society, due to frustrations; they are engaging in all sorts of vises ranging from substance abuse, crime, and irresponsible sexual behaviors (Mungazi 60). This scares away investors who in turn hold any investment plans they may be having.
African governments and international donors are aware that it is time to empower youths. It is indeed true that a poorly managed youth generation can result in civil conflicts and instability. To connect the aids of economic dividends, the political leadership must step up with clear actions and development plans for their citizens. It is never late to initiate corrective measures. They should ensure they put in place long-term strategies to deal with this menace. Unless they create reforms, this will remain unsolved and may worsen the situation. Over and above, serious structural and policy changes should be made in the government ministries and departments. They should consider privatization of major government-owned companies to ensure proper management and creation of jobs.
To curb the problem of rural-urban migration, the governments should encourage companies to invest in rural areas (Summers 34). The firms should be given various incentives such as tax holidays and financial boost. The governments should consider improving the infrastructures in rural areas; the roads should be improved to ease the transportation of agricultural produce and other necessities. For efficiency purposes, the governments should come up with a project to connect all rural areas with electricity that is a major factor in production. They should link up farmers with a ready market for their agricultural produce, and they can also take the initiative to buy from farmers directly and export directly to the foreign market. The income will boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings. To make sure that there is food security, the governments should intensify irrigation farming in all drought-prone areas. They should also introduce a variety of drought-resistant crops in those areas; these are crops that can withstand unfavorable weather conditions.
If the African governments can address those issues, Africa as a continent will pride itself as a major hub for food production in the world. To reap the merits of a growing young population, they need to address youth education and employment in detail. Because they are serious issues that call upon all stakeholders to contribute before it gets out of hand. It is always advisable to hit the iron while it is still hot. African countries inherited an education system from the colonial masters that cannot meet the needs of a rapidly growing economy and the need for self-governance. Over time, the African Education system has undergone remarkable progress to be where it is now. However, there are some rules and also policies that need restructuring to remain relevant and reflect the needs of education and employment today.
The Education system in Africa is undergoing some crisis right now. For example, The University of Cape Town in South Africa was ranked best in the continent but only 103 in the world. In the last decade, studies show that there is a serious disintegration in most public schools on basis of education eminence, structure, and morale of both teachers and students. Many educated youth claim that education has no value to them; this is because they are living in poverty. As a result, there is an ever-growing percentage of young people who drop out of school to engage in income-generating activities.
Many challenges are bedeviling the African education system, and government failure is among them. The authorities are slow in implementing their policies; they fail to review the curriculum regularly and change it where necessary. There should be an appointed body to look into matters of education. It should ensure that the quality of education being offered at all levels is up to standard. In most African continents where this body exists, there is much laxity in the offices. People are sleeping on their jobs hence the education system is going down. There is much politics in these offices, and most officials are fighting for top positions in the organizations and forget their duties. The governments have also failed to fund the education sector adequately.
The teachers are poorly remunerated hence they lack motivation in their work. Low salary has devastating effects since the teachers seek extra income elsewhere. As a result, most youths come out from certain institutions half-baked, therefore, they are not ready to be absorbed in the job market because their skills are lacking. The governments have failed to invest in them. Through sufficient funding, there will be enough money to put up classes, laboratories and employ more teachers. Therefore, this will give each student enough time to interact with their tutors, as well as enough time for practical work as in the case of medicine and engineering students. The work environment has no room for trial and error. Therefore, there are more deaths and financial losses recorded in case of mistakes.
Youths of African origin get little or no exposure at all; institutions of higher learning fail to take their students to other schools for benchmarking and other learning experiences. Young people need to know how to do things in different places. The institutions should borrow from universities and colleges in developing countries where they have student exchange programs either locally or internationally. The programs are meant to produce all-around students as well as give them exposure to different environments. Students become open-minded to work with different people from different ethnic backgrounds. The education system should give this since one can get employment anywhere in the world. The global job market is ready to absorb diversity.
It worth mentioning that youth education is affected in a big way by political instability and terrorist attacks. There are countries still experiencing civil unrest and terror activities. South Sudan was up in arms just recently. Some girls were abducted by the notorious Boko Haram Group of Nigeria. Much learning spell is being wasted when these youths are out of school. No one can dare to study in the midst of war or where there is a high suspicion of a war outbreak. Some youths leave school and get recruited to join these militia groups on the promise of financial gain. That, in fact, becomes the end of their academic journey. In some incidents, there is the mass loss of human lives; both the student and teachers are affected. There are cases where schools are burnt completely, and the infrastructure is destroyed.
Brain drain is another issue affecting youth education. Most of the teachers and lecturers go abroad in such greener pastures. Most of these people are highly qualified in different fields. Due to the poor remuneration they receive, they are forced by circumstances to go elsewhere where the pay pack is superb. Some are even poached as they are so competent in what they do. The poor African youths are being left in the hands of less experienced staff. The people who are expected to impart knowledge and skills to youth in their respective countries of origin contribute their knowledge elsewhere. This has led to the serious degradation of education. It is high time for African governments to intervene and bring back this huge labor force to contribute towards empowering the youths of their countries as they make enormous contributions to economic development. Also, the educated people should be patriotic enough and remain loyal to their countries; they should realize that they are subsidizing to a better future by raising tomorrow’s leaders.
Tribalism and Nepotism also hurt African education. Most institutions have no clear employment policies, and even if they exist, they are being abused. Some selfish institutional heads are using them to enrich themselves and their families. They hire people based on tribal inclination and friendship irrespective of qualifications. It is possible to find that 90% of all staff comes from a particular community. Hence, this affects the quality of education. Innocent students who got high dreams of transforming their countries are left in the hands of inexperienced and low-performing teachers and lecturers. They offer a low-standard assessment to their students and eventually release them to the job market. That is why some African Economies are being hit by Cases of Inflation hence developing at a slow pace. The value of African Education will be high when those placed to lead various institutions to realize that the future of their students depends on their hard work. In simple words, they should ensure that they hire competent and high skilled staff (“Boosting Basic Education in Africa).
Lack of research is another issue being felt across many schools. Education is being commercialized in many countries. So many colleges and universities have come up in recent times and lectures are in high demand, they are always on the move to teach in different institutions. Therefore, this creates little or no time for them to carry out research; they rarely visit their books and use outdated information like notes. We stay in a dynamic nation and things are changing. Innovations and technologies are being discovered every day; it is upon the university and college lecturers to regularly check and updates their notes to reflect the changing times. They should be frequent visitors of the Internet for any changes in their fields of specialization.
Corruption is also major in most institutions. A good education is being compromised by corruption-related cases (Summer 90). Money that ought to be utilized to boost services and infrastructure in schools is being channeled into the pockets of a few selfish individuals. The students are being denied essential services that would have made them better employees and citizens of their countries.
To sum up, African governments have attached much-needed attention to the education system in their countries. Education is a key instrument for nation-building and, therefore, the governments should be at the forefront of spearheading reforms. To improve its quality, enrollments should be reduced in certain areas and increased in other ones. Universities and colleges should be abreast with the needs of the job market both locally and globally so as they can impart the youths with what is relevant. Though there are a lot of improvements noted, there is still room for more. African will be in a better place with a more literate youth population. The governments should focus on reducing educational inequalities in economic status, gender, and geographical location. Uniformity is critical in achieving major educational goals and objectives.