THERE was a time when all African children were told that education is the key to success, that it would solve all their problems of poverty and put an end to the chaos ruining our world. During that time, every black child did their utmost to attend school and absorb all that the teachers were offering because by doing so, they believed, would make Lesotho better, make Nigeria better and make Sudan better. But this is our reality. More education made Nigeria corrupt, more education made the peaceful mountain kingdom corrupt and more education made Sudan to go hungry. What is it about education that seems to curse the dark plains of Africa?
In our long quest for education we made one mistake as Africans. Europeans and Americans made us believe that to see a brighter future we must learn and we thought that meant opening our books to read and read hard. But being educated is much more than that. We must learn to understand that which is written and make sense of it and turn it into reality. When Europeans encouraged us to learn, we jumped to books without first asking them “how must a man learn to be educated?”
When the Europeans visited Africa, they saw massive potential and colonised it. Africans did not care much about the outside world. To them, there was no world other than their own. As the first settlers arrived, Africans noticed there was a different world out there.
The foreigners made many Africans want to live like them. It was as if they prayed to a better god who answered promptly. So when the foreigners told them that they too could live like them, they jumped at the first chance.
Those Africans who set out to get education had a motive, and a dream for a better Africa, but upon their return greed had manifested Africans so much that the education was used to terrorize Africa. Because education was so rare in Africa, those who got it used it to change Africa and made it a dark and hideous place to live. Perhaps it’s not so wrong for one to blame all our problems on white settlers because indeed they too played a role. On Sunday 15th January 1956, shell Darcy discovered oil in Oloibiri, along the Niger delta in Nigeria. This discovery should have been a change to Africa and wealth in general. It is undeniable that Africa houses some of the world’s best minerals and this discovery was the beginning of an era and history in the making. Surely Nigeria would be a better place, alas 59 years later this great discovery has proven to be a curse to Nigeria. This black gold which should have changed Nigeria made it a devil’s den. People who live along the Niger delta lived peacefully before this great discovery was made. The rise of corruption only proved true the statement that Africans turned Africa into a dungeon as they tasted education. Long before they knew of oil in the Niger, there was no corruption and murder on the delta and the discovery was made by those who were educated. In the delta, birth place of oil itself, there is 90% unemployment rate. The very place that should be benefiting is suffering the most. The rest of Nigeria keeps succumbing to corruption so much that Nigerians are classified as crooks. What happens when education falls into the wrong hands? It destroys them! Many Africans sit still and watch the so called leaders and brave men destroy the world because there is so little that they can do. Many good people in Africa did not receive education because only the few were worthy of it. In Lesotho, only those who danced the most at political rallies would have their children granted bursaries to study overseas. That resulted in many incompetent doctors and improper health services. We have many economics who studied overseas, but they misuse the funds because they know nothing about implementing strategies that can change Lesotho. When someone is put in charge of finances in Lesotho, they do not use the money for good purposes but for themselves. Such a person, be he minister or C.E.O, draws up the country’s budget like month end budget for a family of two. The most important aspects are ignored and the rest used for personal gain. Lesotho has two types of people, those who are educated and those who have studied. Problem is those who are educated are not given a platform to lead and aid Lesotho into a better transition, while those who have simply studied think they are educated. As long as we don’t know the difference, we will never be a developed country. There are many doctors who struggle to diagnose a minor ailment like malaria until the patient dies. We have nurses who are disgusted at the sight of blood and sick people yet this very people were the first to be admitted into nursing colleges and those who really were passionate about nursing left out in the cold. Our system is so corrupt that it begins at the top and runs down in every department. Our ignorance is causing more and more problems. In our corruption, ignorant people are chosen and sent overseas to study. How can ignorant people lead Lesotho? Is there still any hope in this situation? At this point, many Basotho are beginning to doubt the importance of education. Instead of going to tertiary schools, many run off to join the armed forces. At least there they know they will be getting a guaranteed salary every month. Those who do go to tertiary end up regretting it because when they return with their certificates and expertise, they have no jobs while their peers enjoy monthly salaries. Why go to school then if one will suffer?
Joining the army is so much in fashion nowadays that when new recruits are called the whole of Lesotho gathers. Those who went to tertiary are mocked because they have no jobs and no chance in the army. Even those classy girls from tertiary choose to marry soldiers and police men because they know their high maintenance will be covered. When one looks closer, whenever there is a wedding, the groom is usually a soldier. Gone are the days when office guys in suits were the epitome of perfection because now their jobs are not guaranteed and the salary too low to maintain a family. Perhaps the only advantage of going to tertiary is the monthly stipend that if one saves well, he could open a business at the end, but then again tertiary life is so costly saving is a far fetched story. At the rate were are going, we are just a step from becoming Nigeria. Doing things the right way is no longer an option. Before one can apply for a job posted on a newspaper advertisement, he must make sure they know whoever is in the HR department or else they are wasting their last money. Since our problems started at the very beginning, when educated was first introduced, then our solution will also start there. Politicians were too busy educating the wrong people and putting them in charge. If this situation continues, Lesotho will become a country of ignorant people without any tertiary education because going to tertiary is summoning poverty. This disease is not only attacking Lesotho but many African countries. Every day people lose their jobs, every day the economy takes a step down, where will we be tomorrow? Lately we live in a time where degree holders sell fat cakes while standard seven holders have offices; corruption! Degree holders work at KFC, while people with junior certificates run projects; more corruption. Lesotho will be so corrupt that ministers will be people who used to sell cigars and plates and we will do nothing because we are so used to being silent. This education we sought so much destroyed us, now it must be our salvation, only we should learn to use it wisely.