Every day, the news is able to portray false information and fill the people with untrue facts and misleading knowledge. The way African education is conveyed in Western media news is beyond stereotypical and affects how people think of this continent. It is thought that students don’t have classrooms, that they are taught in terrible and uncomfortable conditions and that most of the children are not allowed to go to school, especially the girls. Although this may be true to a certain extent, there is so much more to the story and so many more positive aspects that are not even referred to in these articles.
According to various American newspapers like Global Citizen and The Economist, the worst places for education are all located in Africa. It is true that the continent might not have the best system in the world and some places are not able to access the best resources, however it is also true that most are trying to make a tremendous effort on discarding this label put on them and improving their educational system in order to provide a better life for their population.
Why is it that we only focus on the negative side of every situation and are not able to acknowledge that governments and the communities are doing so much to make their country a better and more developed place? Places like
Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, São Tomé, with the help of their community, foreign countries and associations, are not only improving their educational system but also the issue of gender gaps, socio-economic situations, etc. As you can see from these images, they not only support my point of view but also give the understanding of how much is being altered yet how little people are focusing on the positives.
I’ve lived in Mozambique for a year and I am currently living in Angola for four years now and I’ve been in three schools but visited many more. There’s a range and a variety of cultures and languages that are spoken and different systems like local schools, international schools, portuguese schools, french schools. It is acknowledged that Africa has its poor side and sometimes is not able to provide the best resources, however if we focus on the correct things and see the whole context, it is seen how both foreigners and natives are able to receive the same education quality/type.
Before even thinking of the fact that I would be moving to Angola or Mozambique I, also, was one of the people I am addressing to right now. I was manipulated and convinced to believe these so called “facts”, that now I know are stereotypes, were true and occurring all over this continent. I didn’t know that the information given to me was false however I also did nothing to find out more.
It is crucial that people start opening their eyes and not only paying attention to negatives, because it is as important to know what needs improvement and how we can have the mindset of helping, as well to focus on the positives recognizing that so much has developed and changed. It is understandable that newspapers are able to manipulate us to believe their perspective, however it is also critical that if we do not have a clear understanding or a lot of knowledge about such a big and important topic, that we are not gullible enough to the point that we are convinced by the first think that we read.
In order to avoid misconceptions and not knowing what the correct things to believe in are, the most trustworthy source is people with experiences and that have either lived in countries in Africa or that know what it is like. However quite a few don’t have the opportunity to know those with this lifestyle, therefore the best solution for avoiding stereotypes is traveling to this continent, eye-witness and leave with your own reliable opinion and perspectives.