We have declared war on poverty and underdevelopment in Africa. As enemies of poverty in our continent, our obsession is to help African countries on their way to better future.
Our definition of development
We understand development of our continent as a continuous, irreversible, and sustainable improvement of life conditions, mentalities and behaviours.
Continuous . We can never stop enhancing our life if we want to adapt in this changing world.
Irreversible . Whenever we make a step in the right direction, even the smallest one, it’s crucial never come back again. One-shots and zigzagging are not development.
Sustainable . Any improvement thought it can be inspired and supported from outside help, must rely in long-term on our own resources, and be fully manageable by locals.
To complete this definition, we must highlight the three conditions we consider the most important for development.
- Rely on own resources
- Democracy (being able to take decisions, at any local level, on its own future)
Of these three conditions that make development possible in Africa, Education is the most fundamental.
Education is the mother of the battle
Education is fundamental for just, peaceful, adaptable societies without poverty, and none of the development goals can be achieved without education. We have the conviction that education is a right, a foundation and prerequisite for sustainable development. An innovative society prepares its people not only to embrace and adapt to change but also to manage and influence it. The French revolutionary Danton said more than two centuries ago, "After bread, education." Education is the most basic necessity after those that are vital to life itself--food, clothing, and shelter. It is education that lifts people out of the state of chronic poverty in which they are constantly struggling to fulfil basic needs such as these.
The direct link between poverty and lack of educational opportunities has been demonstrated many times over. As Lyndon Johnson said during the War on Poverty in the 1960s, "Poverty has many roots, but the tap root is ignorance."
Education is also fundamental for democracy and liberty. Several great statesmen have recognized this importance. John Adams noted that "Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people," and John F. Kennedy echoed that sentiment when he said, "Liberty without learning is always in peril, and learning without liberty is always in vain." The connection was perhaps best summed up by political commentator Walter Lippman, who had this to say: "No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people."
Education in Africa
As stated in the Tony Blair’s Commission For Africa report, Education systems in Africa suffer a lack of relevant curricula. These Education systems are often based on inherited curriculum content that is limited to conventional academic subjects. Little weight tends to be given to teaching values or skills appropriate to a future society with the ability to compete in a changing global economy or cope with the current HIV pandemic. These are required if the quality of education is to be raised and completion rates improved.
Improving employability includes critical income-earning skills such as vocational, entrepreneurial, agricultural and computer skills as well as creative and analytical skills to provide flexible competencies to match changing market demands. But educational content is not just about delivering economic advancement: the rights and responsibilities of citizenship should also be taught. So should values of inclusion and challenges to stigma and discrimination. Conflict resolution and reconciliation techniques should be taught in education programmes
Curricula should be designed with regional histories, cultures and languages in mind. The main goal of Education in Africa should be to show African youth the way to sustainable development and tell them the truth about how the world works, about environment, globalisation, about the changes, about means and ways to develop.
South Cluster works to enhance Education in Africa, to lead it to take up these new challenges. In practice, South Cluster works to:
- Inform the general public to bring about a greater awareness of the new challenges of Education system in Africa. We intend to carry out that by publications, organization or participation to conferences, debates, forums that concern closely or by far Education in Africa.
- Improve/transform the school curricula in Africa by:
- The introduction of computer courses into the secondary schools and local associations in charge of education,
- Assistance to the development and introduction of new courses into the school syllabus, more relevant to development, globalisation, Environment, Citizenship, the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world.
Fighting for development
Fighting for the development of our continent requires a lot of means. And we clearly don’t have much. Therefore, we must choose our actions very carefully, taking into account the map of all development actors actions in Africa (Non-Profits, Governments, International Institutions, Civil Society).
Assuming that, we have first of all identified and chosen Education as the “Mother of the Battle”. Figures of recent years educational projects in Africa show that Primary Education is already “widely” financed as Millennium Development Goal number 2. About Universities, several strategies are currently elaborated to set up the so-called e-University that will allow African students to attain the same curricula as their counterparts in Northern countries.
The secondary Education seems to be “out of scope” of international funding. Therefore, the level of secondary education is inexorably going down in Africa, due to lack of means and infrastructure. Especially in the field of ICT and new technologies, the so-called “digital divide” is widening.
Our initiative “40 000 computers by 2020” aims to address this problem, while bringing a decisive logistical support to the secondary schools of the continent. The goal is to revitalize the declining secondary education and better prepare the youth to the university.
But this is only a first step. In the founding document of our NGO, we mentioned several projects that will be implemented in respect to the evolution of our activities.