Tanzanian professor urges Africans to focus more on societal needs

Prof. Elifas Bisanda, the Vice-Chancellor, Open University of Tanzania (OUT), has called for the rejigging of educational curriculum in Africa, to focus on core societal needs, rather than western culture. Bisanda said this on Friday while delivering the 13th Convocation Lecture of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja, with the theme 'Is Western Education still Relevant for Africa?'. He said that the theme of the convocation lecture was borne out of several questions on the minds of Africans, if the current trend in education was still beneficial to the continent. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convocation lecture is part of activities lined up for the 13th convocation of NOUN and the investiture of the third Chancellor of the university, Ewuare II, The Oba of Benin. Bisanda, who is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said it was time for Africa to put behind it the shackles of colonialism and move into the present realm of education that guarantees skills develop ment. Citing examples with some African and European countries, Bisanda noted that what distinguished the education in Africa from the West was the skills acquisition. 'Skill acquisition is absent in our education in Africa, but it is present at every level of education in advance countries. 'Our education should focus on societal needs so that our youths would be prepared to participate in the local economy when they leave schools. 'Those who graduated previously from colleges and universities but cannot gain employment must be encouraged to go back to undertake technical and vocational education in order to gain new skills that are relevant for this age,' he said. The Tanzanian highlighted the lesson's and the experiences of COVID-19 many people died in Europe and America, while many survived in Africa because of herbs prepared by herbalists. 'We survived in Africa because local herbalists produced a lot of concoctions out of ginger, onions, garlic and many other herbs that killed the COVID-19 virus. ' But the World Health Organisation (WHO) did not recognise those concoctions and hence were not prescribed and administered by doctors in some hospitals. 'Some rich people went to hospitals that were admitting western drugs and perished there; meanwhile, poor people who used traditional concoctions, including steam infusion, survived. I salute all our traditional herbalists for saving our continent,' he said. According to Bisanda, there seems to be a conspiracy theory by the West against Africa to ensure that development is stunted. He pointed out that the skills possessed by Africans were destroyed by the western world when they came to colonise Africa. 'While the West is determined to keep us Africans where we are, we must take affirmative action to get out of this mess they have imposed on us, while our resources are being taken away. 'Our forefathers could make canoes and boats for fishing and water transport, but when the colonialists came, they did everything they could to kill our indigenous skills . 'In Uganda, they cut off the thumbs of all blacksmiths so that they could not forge or cast tools as their thumbs were the main actor in the process of blowing air in the furnace.' He added that learning no longer take place in the classrooms, but on the fields and by practical experiences since the advent of iinternet and the fourth industrial revolution. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng) Source: News Agency of Nigeria