New Telegraph

African Students Want Curriculum Overhaul To Reflect ‘True Africanness’

All-Africa Students’ Union has called for a total overhaul of the continent’s education curriculum to reflect what it called “true Africanness.”

President of the union Osisiogu Osikenyi, at press conference in Abuja on Sunday, said this would “enhance access to skills by Africans with requisite skill-sets that will address Africa’s local demands such as processing our raw materials in Africa before export.”

Osisiogu also condemned attacks on education institutions in Africa, and called on the leadership of the African Union and various governments in the continent to implement the AU Agenda 2063, aimed at the economic progress of the continent, which he said, cannot be achieved without peace and security in the region.

He attributed this to over 100 million out-of-school-children in Africa “with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan and others topping the global figures.”

The AASU president noted that this was aggravated by armed conflicts, insecurity, and political instability across the continent.

“Armed conflict is robbing at least 28 million of these 100 children of an education by exposing them to widespread sexual violence, targeted attacks on schools and other abuses, and this situation under any guise is unacceptable to the All-Africa Students’ Union,” he stated.

Osisiogu called on more counties in Africa to endorse and respect the Safe Schools Declaration, presently supported by 108 countries, and to take concrete measures to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from attack during conflict, including refraining using schools for military purposes.

He requested the AU Commission to integrate Campus Safety into “Silencing the Guns Campaign” and other similar campaigns, as well as to develop a comprehensive policy on proactive campus safety support operations for Africa countries.

Equally worrisome to the students is high cost of learning and rampart fee hike by high institutions, and commended the Nigeria government for signing the Students Loan Bill into law, as well as decision to establish Education Bank by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

The student union leader regretted that although Africa has experienced sustained economic growth in recent years with GDP rising at an average of 4.3 per cent, education remains insufficiently financed by governments in most countries on the continent.

“While advocating for more efficient and equitable use of public expenditure on education to generate significant room for finding new funding source, we are confident that alternative solutions at the level of innovative financing tools could be found and implemented across the continent, particularly through the private economic sector, public-private partnerships who could also contribute to the financing of education by investing majority of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending on education.

“We would like to see the Africa’s private sector replicate the CSR4Education feat of the Dangote Group, Nigeria that is the second-largest contributor to education (after Nigeria’s Government) and largest private-sector employer in the largest country in Africa; investing an impressive $24 million annually into Nigeria’s educational sector, by providing a plethora of infrastructure support to the country’s tertiary institutions system,” he further demanded.

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