In this day and age, we live in a world of global interconnectedness. In other words, countries on the globe operate in a goldfish bowl. The extreme decentralization of ethnic cultures, political attitudes and social behaviors is more of a truism than a mere assumption.
This global arrangement has prompted socio- economic shifts among world nations. However, there is a gnawing sense of urgency for swift, drastic social, economic and political reforms among countries. In recent years, human right abuses, constant acts of terrorism, major corporate scandals, political dictatorships, among others have dominated the global stage.
Apparently, there is a pressing need for actionable solutions to these multiple challenges worldwide, in the of spirit oneness and unity. When we talk of poor governance and lack of democratic leadership, Africa is the hardest hit.
Essentially, the major question is “How can education be a tool for creating inclusive and peaceful societies in Africa”?.Education is the premise of progress in most societies. Far from being a vehicle for imparting knowledge and skills, education demystifies the misconceptions laced with popular attitudes and activities that breed divisive tendencies.
Historical studies have revealed a new wave of regional conflict on the African continent. These conflicts are fuelled by numerous social, economic and political factors which have for years dealt a severe blow to emerging cultures, positive social attitudes and good governance. It is worth stating that national leaders, civil societies and other international bodies have made key efforts to salvage this situation but there is still much work to be done to ensure equitable, sustainable progress.
Societies are meant to stand together rather than being polarized by cultural and ethnic diversities .The constant clashes and political tensions on the African continent are precipitated by internal factors more than external factors. More often that not, these internal factors alternate between the citizenry and governments.
State leaders on the continent therefore have to foster strong bonds between universities and the societies they are an integral part given the fact that education strengthens popular support for democracy. Not only does it increase voter turn out during elections but also increases participation in political activities such as running for office and joining political parties.
Again, it helps citizens to engage in these activities in a well informed manner. In some cases, the democratic process might be cluttered up by mass indifference toward civic duties. Through mass sensitisation on civic duties, citizens can better appreciate the relevance of their civic duties and apply themselves diligently to fulfilling them. In light of this, universities must not only advocate democracy.
They must practice it by extending higher education to all segments of society. By so doing, universities will be in a better position to instill those values in their graduates.
Speaking of socialization,I believe the process of socialization in Africa has seen minimal progress. African teens are socialized to see aspects of their culture which differentiate them focusing on their shared ideals and values. Eventually, the African child grows up with a weird understanding of ethnic unity.
Values needed to harmonise African societies I believe must be integrated into the school curriculum in at all levels of education. This will ensure a basic approach to solving the core challenges posed by conflicts and ethnic clashes.
With education, young voters are well equipped to detect abuses of power, become less tolerant of corruption and partner with other stakeholders to let their voices be heard. Obviously, conflicts on the continent have fuelled mass migration of Africans to Europe, Americas and Asia. It displaces Africa’s active labour force- just to say the least. In the heightened moments of these conflicts human lives are lost even as properties are destroyed.I wish to see a significant progress in conflict ridden countries on the African continent.
In as much as governments have a much greater role to play in ensuring continuous peace, I believe civil societies also have a role to play in democratic governance.
By: Daniel Offei
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