What type of education for today’s youth?
By Armande Désirée Koffi-Kra (25, Côte d’Ivoire) Version française.
I live in Abidjan and I am a student in Côte d’Ivoire. I am currently doing a Masters in Governance and Ethics, specializing in Peace and Conflict Management at the Centre of Research and Action for Peace (CERAP).
Everything depends on education, goes the saying. However, it is hard to identify the impact an education has. With the changing of time and the evolution of society, education has changed in terms of its content and its standing from one side of one continent to another. It is not just about learning from books; training must match the needs of the labor market. The challenge for young people today is to be flexible to suit that labor market. They need the skills to be able to work abroad. It’s rare for young people to have grown up thinking only of staying at home.
We have embarked on a world without borders or barriers. The only real barriers for us young people in poor countries is training. We still benefit from training that is far too theoretical compared to the Anglo-Saxon model of education which includes practical learning. While we struggle still to reduce the illiteracy rate or to admit more girls in school, young people in developed countries are learning to become leaders. We trust them. This is not always easy for them either as the common thread between young people from poor and rich countries is that we all want the same thing: work.
There is still a long way to go before we will have a perfect education system in Africa. The socio-political crises are dampening the productivity of young people. These crises slow down our progress in this world and leave no room for people without any skills.
In Côte d’Ivoire, public universities have been closed now for over a year for restoration and all this came just after our post-election crisis. In the meantime, young people have been worrying about their future. The system hasn’t made a plan ‘B’ for young people who have failed at school or university. The system has not instilled the spirit of entrepreneurialism into these young people either, who now find that they must take charge. Unemployment is a growing concern for us. Today we realize that it is difficult to get work in the private or public sector. The challenge we must now face is self employment. It is possible to start up a business as long as the support is there to help finance young people’s projects, and to advise and encourage them. Every young person, rich or poor, wants to design their projects, to realize and embrace the world. But this requires less policies on paper policy and more action in favor of a richer more thorough and flexible education, that can adapt to the needs of the job market!
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