Certificate Economy and Africa's Development: Realities of Young Africans

The African colonialists brought formal education to its colonies and this form of education was seen by many as a breakthrough which will see to a rapid development of their native countries. But as time progressed, many started seeing education as a hindrance to development of most Third World countries. This is not because education is unimportant but because of the over reliance on education for any meaningful engagement. Education unlike before, is now meant for those that can afford it and since majority of families in Third World countries of Africa are living in poverty, it means that not everyone that wish to attend school actually obtained education.

Surprisingly, many of these people who were unable to attend school or dropped out are extremely talented in areas of science and technology even without formal education. Some have invented many things by intuition and mere observation. But in a country where certificate is more appreciated than what you can offer with your hands, there seem not to be any hope for this kind of people. Some of these people even managed to go through school but due to the fact that they are more talented in practice than knowing the theories they have been left at the shores of the labour market reason being that certificate is now used as a parameter for any employment even in the field of technology. We have failed to realise that other nations that made in the areas of science and technology got it right because they paid little attention to certificates. This is because in school, many people are gifted in cramming. This kind of people may cram everything, write exams and make First Class but know little about what they studied. The people that have what it takes to lift the economic, political and technological status of most African countries are still roaming the streets simply because they were unable to cram the theories.

Japan at a point in their development change their mode of interview for jobs emphasising more on what you can do rather than what your certificate says about you. It is in Africa that you can see where an engineer is employed simply due to his performance in oral interview. Until we reduce our reliance on certificates, we will continue to dwell in underdevelopment. No country has ever developed by importing 100 per cent of their technology from other nations. Talented and highly innovative youths leave the shores of Africa everyday to seek for greener pastures due to the negligence they suffer from their home countries. These people end up developing technological equipment which we later import at exorbitant prices. Philip Emeagwali dropped out of school at the age of 14 because his father could not afford his school fees. He was neglected by the Nigerian government but USA gave him scholarship and he left Africa, went to USA and invented the world's fastest computer. He didn't just stop right there, he also have this ability of making oil fields more productive. Because of him, America save millions of dollars every year. This is what Nigeria would have benefited if much attention was paid to a school dropout with talent. Philip's case is just one out of countless of other similar cases. In Africa, so many young people construct sophisticated equipment with local materials yet the government and local firms refuse to integrate them into the system. Imagine if these youths are given the attention they deserve, they won't just construct but they will invent. But the sector is meant for people with B.Sc or B.Tech.

If Africa is to develop, this notion has to be altered. Investment should be made bit just on physical capital but also on human capital. No nation has developed with no investment on its human capital. It is not only the responsibility of the the government to do this. Private individuals and Firms also have a greater role to play because Africa as a continent is dominated by capitalism with government playing a regulatory role. If there is a collective effort on that, then we can say without any fear of contradiction that the future is bright.

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