It was in honour of these brave youngsters who refused to be taught in a way that was not beneficial to them, that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) selected yesterday, June 16, to commemorate all African children engaged in the struggle to have quality education. It became a day when policy-makers and all concerned stakeholders are called upon to look into the education of the African child.
The theme for this year: “A child-friendly, quality, free, and compulsory education for all children in Africa” is reminiscent of the demands of the students of Soweto 38 years ago. The theme once again demands from each and every one a reflection as to how far we have come in providing the above thematic requirements for the African child and how to make headways in making it a reality. This is a moment to look back and see how far we have come, with regard to the establishment of a proper educational system to advance the learning abilities of our children.
The statistics don’t look very good when it comes to providing quality education for children across Africa. Millions of children throughout the continent especially sub-Saharan Africa continue to be without education of any sort. This is due to many factors ranging from poverty to gender issues. It is without doubt that before we can address the problem of child-friendly educational environments, we must first deal with the problem of putting children in schools.
In our drive to provide quality and child-friendly education, we must put into consideration the need to provide proper learning institutions for the disabled people especially the ones with hearing and speaking difficulties. It’s a sad fact that most of them pass their lives in illiteracy when they could have attain the highest levels of literacy. The fact that there is only one school for the deaf and hard of hearing in The Gambia , which can cater for only 25% of the deaf population in the country, should prompt the government and other stakeholders to partner in building more schools for our challenged sons and daughters. It must be remembered that it is every child’s right to have a decent and proper education no matter what. A society’s development is not to be measured by its many modern infrastructures or but in how it deals with its most vulnerable constituents.
In our agitation for sustainable development for the mother continent, whether home or abroad, we must always remember that development is the outcome of a mature and developed minds. However, we can never have those type of minds if we don’t invest in the holistic education of our children. All sectors of the society must work harmoniously for the production of such quality education that can put Africa on the right track towards that much-needed and cherished development
Finally as Africa commemorate this very significant day, we call on governments and all other stakeholders to make the dream of quality education for all a reality. Beyond the political rhetoric and polemics, the need for relevant quality education for each and every child is a demand that has to be fulfilled if we are to usher in a new Africa that is characterised by development and fully-fledged liberation from all forms of hegemony and control. This was the spirit that drove the children in South Africa to fight. This better be our high priority.]]>