African countries have a young and dynamic population which is, for the most part, forced to survive on a daily basis because life is not easy in underdeveloped countries. Although some Africans and foreigners, for political and diplomatic reasons, prefer the term developing or emerging countries, it appears, nonetheless, that despite its abundant natural resources, the African continent concentrates the greatest share of underdeveloped or poor countries in the world.
Another reality which is hard to deny is that there is a strong correlation between the quality of education and economic growth. In other words, in poor countries governments do not really value the education of their people while it appears to be the exact opposite in developed or industrialized countries. The latter cannot sustain economic growth if their schools or universities fail to train a competent labor force.
But what kind of education is needed in Africa so that African countries develop or industrialize? This is a simple but extremely important question that needs to be answered holistically. Do we need more geographers or masons? More welders or economists? More lawyers or electricians? More architects or historians? The answer depends on the needs that will be assessed by each country. But if a country wants to industrialize, vocational training is a key aspect towards that direction. True independence occurs when a country can design and build its own hospitals, bridges, roads, etc. with minimum help from outside expertise. The know-how required to achieve development is transmitted in schools that possess adequate infrastructures, well trained and well paid professors, etc. In short, great civilizations have always considered education as a fundamental aspect of their intrinsic raison d’être. That’s why the United States, China, Europe, Russia, etc. invest heavily in the training of their people. And without a surprise, they lead the world; while Africa is lagging way behind!