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Africa’s youth need to be problem solvers, not part of the problem

Tatenda Magetsi's picture

The way schooling is mostly framed in Africa attracts people to employment especially conforming in few fields such as medicine, law, engineering, and accounting. There is little or no emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Noteworthy, these social dynamics have little to nothing to do with capital. With a mind that is taught only to obey the teacher, read books for regurgitation, pass examinations, graduate and look for employment subsequently (and call that a life’s success), Africa is just but a continent full of people whom a very few will make a cognitive difference and strike positive changes to our economies and countries for the better.

The system does not encourage innovation. Such observations towards the existing education systems explains my idea to create Open Minds Initiative Africa, a mission set to extend the current schooling to open minds wider and engage in groundbreaking exploits, so that people evolve with change and own up to the needs of the digital generation. As technology gets complex, expectations from employee become more intricate as well. The initiative will be a movement set to enhance personal competence by creating and promoting activities that foster critical reasoning, emotional hygiene, financial literacy, career and life planning etc. The mission is to research, enlighten, and equip African people to reason and explore life beyond the limitations of    basic education. To that end, extensive researches will be conducted on emotional intelligence and clinical psychology to determine learning opportunities unique to the problems African people face in a way that makes use of the exponentially expanding technological advancements. Thus, this initiative will focus on curating findings into online and field lectures, themed workshops and themed campaigns that aim at complex problem solving, teamwork and adaptability – to meet the increasing demand in the labor market.

Open Minds Initiative Africa will help create an African identity that directs the millennial to personal responsibility, achievement and innovation. Teaching techniques such as critical thinking and expanded reasoning and nurturing a new set of habits that guaranteed the rise of people like Elon Musk and Jack Ma who have impacted their countries and the world. This will be achieved through enlightening   the youths about the reality of life including the indispensable call to integrate technology in every aspect of life. Additionally, teaching financial and life planning for all will augment chances of creating cosmopolitan workers and individuals who are highly adaptive to the technological developments of the artificial intelligence era.

In conclusion therefore, education is not just for passing information (limited anyways) so that the growing youngsters know what a text book says and be awarded for regurgitating information. Instead it should be teaching the mind to reason aptly and think big according to its own unique capacity. Open Minds Initiative Africa will ensure that just as children start out naturally curious and experimental, such attributes should be maintained and guided in adulthood, as this helps enhance the skills needed to prepare Africa’s youth for the digital economy and the future of work.

Tatenda Magetsi, a Zimbabwean national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.

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