When I came back from Africa and our study period began at the college, me and my team mate Kerli decided to write our report under the headline “The Africa Continent” about Women and Education. It was our first exam of One World University and we were excited about it.
Why did we choose that subject:
During the bus travel we visited many families. Moroccan families in mountain villages, Mauritanian family in a small town, Senegalese family living in the slums of Dakar, villagers in Guinea Bissau where the men were fishing every day and the women worried to see them again and worried about the catch.
All these women we met, who invited us in, shared some days with us around, cooking on fire and caring for their little ones, all those women with responsibility for many people and yet so limited in possibilities for developing a better situation regarding health, hygiene, nutrition and future for their children.
Our final destination in Africa was a teacher training college run by Humana People to People in Guinea Bissau. Here I was impressed to see that around half of the students were girls.
It encouraged me to see that. I was thinking that it is a very important way forward for Africa, if girls can get into education, they can gain control over their lives in a complete different way as it is now for most girls in Africa who suffer under the heavy burden of poverty, tradition and discrimination. Teenage pregnancy is a general problem everywhere we came.
There is a proverb that says: “If you educate a boy, you educate one person. If you educate a girl, you educate her whole family”.
Here is a quote from my report. It is clear that during some 500 years of white people´s dominance in Africa, the stigmatization of Africans was strong and supported by Christian religion:
“..The Negro’s mind has been brought under the control of his oppressor. The
problem of holding the Negro down, therefore, is easily solved. When you control a man’s
thinking, you do not have to worry about actions.”
In historical times African educational system had many challenges. In colonial period, Europeans brought schooling which was not adjusted to the local people needs. In more ways, African people lost their identity and self-confidence and you can say that even today the school systems in many African countries is serving the purpose of “divide and rule” policy.
Education is not reachable for everybody and sometimes the quality is quite low. Most of Africa’s countries curriculum is old-fashioned and too academic and formal. According to my experience in Africa, students often learn by repeating instead of thinking caused by the traditional role of the teacher as being one of power instead of inspiration. Moreover, there are still many issues connected with the illiteracy especially in rural areas. The issue with people who are illiterate is that big also because of the family traditions. Parents, who are illiterate, do not see the need of sending children to school. In Guinea-Bissau I had a discussion with a fisherman whose children were not going to school as they were helping their father in fishing industry. For the father it is important to pass on the knowledge about fishing to his children and he could not afford paying school fees. During our study travel I have understood that for Africans education brings possibility to take the future in good hands, their own hands.