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What govts must do to reduce crimes, political instability – Falana

Human rights activist Femi Falana has urged
governments in Africa to enroll more
children in schools as a means of getting
them off the streets where they are exposed
to crimes and other causes of political
Warning that Africa was being left behind in
the global educational revolution, Falana
argued that the main pillar of knowledge in
most emerging economies is to have access
to knowledge.
“These economies produce knowledge, use
knowledge to create innovations, and these
innovations finally become tradable goods,”
he said.
Falana made the comments in a paper titled
‘The Politics Of Education In The Developing
World: The African Perspective’ delivered
during the weekend at the 1st Convocation
Lecture Of The West African Union
University, Cotonou, Benin Republic.
According to him, “It is undoubtedly clear
that education in Africa has not benefited
the people due to a number of factors.
Educational authorities have failed to
decolonize the content of the syllabus of
education while the governments have
refused to give priority to education.
Consequently, there has been poor funding
of the education which has resulted in lack
of basic facilities and materials in schools.
“While the rich have continued to educate
their children in private schools at home and
abroad the children of the poor have been
left to attend public schools which are
poorly equipped and poorly staffed. Thus,
education is being used to widen the gap
between the rich and the poor. Governments
in Africa must remove children from the
streets and enroll them in schools.
Otherwise they will remain in the streets to
commit crimes and cause political

The paper read in part: “For Africa to
transform the neo-colonial and dependent
economy in each of the countries to
knowledge-based economy there has to be
massive investment in education. In
particular, the funding of science and
technology should be given special attention
while research should be well funded. The
laws which have made education free and
compulsory from primary ton secondary
schools should be enforced while tertiary
education should be subsidized by the
“Education is the cornerstone for Africa’s
development. In today’s world the training of
students in secondary education is vital for
both formal and informal education for the
onward transmission to building a
knowledge economy, new challenges in life
and for establishing a civic duty to society.
Scholars have realized the need to make
education relevant to Africa.
“Over one-fifth of children between the ages
of about 6 and 11 are out of school,
followed by one-third of youth between the
ages of about 12 and 14. According to UIS
data, almost 60% of youth between the ages
of about 15 and 17 are not in school.
“Tertiary education is critical for economic
growth and national development. Nations
all over the world have implemented
educational ideals relevant to their national
development needs. The increasing
importance a knowledge economy in today’s
world, and industrial change has made the
quest for knowledge a determinant of
economic and industrial growth.
“The growth of knowledge has become a
daily phenomenon. In discussing the politics
of education in Africa, particular reference
would be made broadly to Nigeria, and with
particular reference to Tanzania, South
Africa, Egypt and Benin considering, of
course that it is rather impossible to chart
this theme in respect of all African states—It
will be a daunting task—Africa is too wide.
“Education is both a human right in itself
and an indispensable means of realizing
other human rights. As an empowerment
right, education is the primary vehicle by
which economically and socially
marginalized adults and children can lift
themselves out of poverty and obtain the
means to participate fully in their
communities. Education has a vital role in
empowering women, safeguarding children
from exploitative and hazardous labour and
sexual exploitation, promoting human rights
and democracy, protecting the environment,
and controlling population growth.
“Increasingly, education is recognized as one
of the best financial investments States can
make. But the importance of education is
not just practical: a well-educated,
enlightened and active mind, able to wander
freely and widely, is one of the joys and
rewards of human existence. Knowledge and
robust education are critical determinants
for Africa’s socio-economic growth and
standard of living.
“It is also a perquisite the provision of
infrastructures such as services which are
needed for the development of national
capacity building in both public sector, and
private sectors. A vibrant tertiary
educational programme and curriculum with
an emphasis on research are needed for
Africa states to transform into self-reliant
nations and industrialized countries.
“It may be informative to note that higher
education is the main force shaping
globalization and at the same time higher
education is being remodelled by
globalization. Higher education and
knowledge are simultaneously leads to the
assimilation of the economies of the world,
and makes the nations of the world
interdependent and interconnected.
“Vibrant economies are usually not the
result of amassing capital or petrol dollars,
rather, they are a product of the foundation
of a knowledge-based economy. Thus, it may
now be clear that there is a new relationship
that has emerged between education and the
economy. The speed with which a nation
develops is linked to its economic base. The
underlying significance here is that all
developed nations and a few developing
nations are now talking of economic reforms
to reflect the new role of higher education
within the context of a knowledge-based
“With these few observations, it is worthy to
note that this involves exploring the major
issues related to economic development.
How can higher educational institutions and
systems transform technologies into new
multi-faceted systems? How is information
processed in an organized manner so as to
achieve best results using cost-effective
methods? How do our institutions of higher
learning achieve virtual academies for
imparting knowledge?
“Africa in general faces overwhelming
internal challenges compounded by the
knowledge and information revolution. To
overcome these challenges African
governments must take on a new role to
quickly exploit the knowledge revolution or
forever be left in a dark abyssal of a brain
drain generation with a strong army of
dysfunctional, unemployed, unemployable,
uneducated and confused population.
Therefore, there is a dire need to create an
economy that would cater for our ever
increasing population.”
“Most jobs for our graduates are for low-
skill industries. There has been a decline in
high productivity agriculture and industrial
advancement which is critical in knowledge-
based economies. It seems that the purport
and existence of oil producing countries in
Africa is solely determined by crude oil.
What happens when the world stops using
crude oil due to new advancements in bio-
fuels? What happens to the next generation?
One solution out of many is by taking
advantage of new knowledge. Before moving
further, it is trite to understand the concept
of education.
“International human rights law guarantees
individuals the right to education. The right
to education is legally guaranteed for all
individuals without any discrimination. The
right to education is a foundation for
building a knowledge economy. International
human rights law guarantees the right to
“The right to education is also extended to
women.The right to education for women is
both an intrinsic right and a critical lever to
reaching other development objectives. In
spite of international accord on the need for
the elimination of discrimination against
women in respect of education, an appraised
35 million girls unable to attain basic

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