Do Africans Learn?

 Do Africans Learn?

Photo credit: EducationCounsel

By Orodiran Oluwatosin

Learning is one of the cognitive factors that aid societal development. Psychologists have proved several times that the major key to both intra and inter personal development is learning. This world is wired on what and how well people can learn to better themselves. Tracing the biblical account of creation, we can quickly discover that the genesis of this world was brilliantly primitive. The man and other creations were in their basic elementary forms. Nothing better could be seen as compared to our present beautiful universe. We must agree that in the account of creation, there is a mandatory responsibility that gives men access to make a new desired world. In the inference, we know that men are naturally made to work on themselves and their society; hence we are where we are today. Yet, this shows that we need to improve on the structure we have today in order to leave a more conducive universe for generations to come.

When we check across some advanced continents, we can discover that they give their society to constant learning. All these continents (Europe, Asia, North America etc.) understand that human beings can’t manifest their full potential without learning. They give more attention to education both in formal and informal settings. However, it does not seem to work like this in Africa where we put so much energy into celebrating mediocrity. We give ourselves to hard work more than we do to learning, believing that’s the most imperative thing about life. This is obvious in the kind of attention that our government pays on education. The school settings, curriculum, environment, and academic motivations are very low. Therefore, we can draw this sad conclusion that we are not really learning.

However, it does not seem to work like this in Africa where we put so much energy into celebrating mediocrity.


There are logical focuses of learning. One of them is aimed at settling the problem of illiteracy. This affords people the ability to read and write alone. This learning process gives people access to world of books. We can communicate using encoded signs and symbols (language). This has helped this world in many cases. It helps to

have proper documentation of events and occurrences.  All of us have access to the past, cultures of other people, languages and accounts of so many events because we have proper method of documentation. We can say this phase of learning opens door to other aspects.

But as good as this sounds, there are many things that this process of learning will not offer if we don’t step it up. Knowing how to read and write will not liberate us and our society unless we make conscious efforts to inflame what literacy offers. Africa has been termed as a dark continent because it’s believed that Africans don’t really learn. We just focus on how to read and write but we don’t put our consecration on developmental learning i.e. learning that influences all facets of our life. We could wonder how our institutions continue to produce graduates who cannot give new look to themselves and their society. This is why the African society has been suffering retardation. There are no obvious technological innovations, scientific inventories, political facelifts and moral developments. We trust ourselves to common knowledge of living, whereas, the real learning should be centered on developing people’s mental capacity, increasing the mode and ways of thinking of the people and interlink these to better our day to day affairs. The sincere truth of this is that there is no personal and inter personal development without these engagements. Now, how do we enter into this phase of learning?

The first thing is that people have to come to the understanding that there is more to learning than literacy. We have to grow in the area of personal learning that will be targeted at self-discovery, self-growth and self-development. The capacity of any society is measured by the intellectual capacity of the people in such society.

The government should also help to provide an advantageous method, mode and environment of learning. The academic curriculum should be revised to accommodate more practical-scientific-oriented programs and courses that will develop people’s mental power.

In addition, all of us should come to the realization that there many opportunities to learn every day. The Internet is one major place of learning, we can visit Google to get any information we want, download and read as many materials we like and share our ideas for other people to access. We can visit bookstores and local libraries to turn some pages. When we read, we give ourselves a better advantage to power our knowledge.

Above all, we should go out each day with the mindset to learn a new thing, develop ourselves, get a new way of doing things, give sound opinions that can change our world and a mindset to have access to adequate information. We are always at a great disadvantage when we refuse to learn more. Ask yourself “Have I learned anything new today?”


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