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Is Westernised education providing better lives for developing countries in Africa?

October 2015 | by Logan Fortin,  Lynn Gagné, and Myles Ouellet

It is a common thought amonsts Western nations for over centuries that Westernized schooling is still the most reliable route out of poverty. However, is there a link between the quality of education and the linkage between being educated and being able to earn a good living is evidentt?

Education in most African developing countries, such as Tanzania in particular has not been reliably preparing youth for a better life, that’s why we see an unfortunate high graduate unemployment in African countries.

What is sad is, even the best graduates who score highly cannot really transform their lives, the lives of their families or even communities – simply because of the lack of job opportunities.

Parents educate their children with the hope that it will lift their children out of poverty and to a better livelihood – and not just sit on high attained good degree.

In Ghanaian and other African governments took on independence – they pursued the ambition and drive for universal education for all which would be linked to future jobs.  This country has gone from 7% enrolment rates in sub-Saharan Africa at independence to 80% or more today.  Children are educated but when they are entering the job market their simply aren’t the jobs.

“I sold my gold bracelets which had been passed onto me by my Grandma and to pay for my son’s education and today he has no job,” says one distressed parent.

In these developing countries, Education should have a very strong job-related component at the high school level so that the youth can achieve a meaningful jobs at the end of it. However, each African countries dynamics are different so governments should dedicate effective research to what type of employment can be gained after schooling and focus its vocational courses accordingly.

“Unless vocational training is linked to job opportunities then the mismatch will continue to occur,” says John Barnes a Comparative Educationalist.


About the authors

Logan Fortin,  Lynn Gagné, and Myles Ouellet are online tutors for Sandy SpringsGeorgia

The authors wish to thank Improve’s Nigel Carter for his contributions to this article.