The biggest failure of Africa after half a century of independence, is the complete collapse of its educational system. No African university, college, or school is listed in the World Top 100, or Top 500.
Everyone one is aware of the situation. Worried, parents try to find a place for their beloved kids in some colonial schools in Africa like the French colonial schools, the British colonial schools, or the American rich-dads-kids schools. Not all parents could afford the cost of these schools, and for Africa to build its own future, it’s not the best way to educate their future leaders by sending them to these colonial schools.
Less fortunate students frantically apply for scholarship or financial aids to join schools abroad. It works for few, but most of them end up in universities with very low reputation and status.
While waiting for better schools in Africa, I could only advise students and parents looking for universities abroad to do a little bit of homework:
1. Don’t be obsessed by western Europe or United states. You can have a better education and experience in computer sciences at low cost in India or Ukraine that in France or Germany. You’ll have the opportunity to work on huge city planning and architecture projects while studying Architecture in China or Dubai that in United States or United Kindgom.
2. Don’t lose your money in social sciences, psychology, arts or literature studies abroad. I believe that these studies are better done when they are grounded in a local culture, and relate to your people, not other cultures legacy and paradigm. Anyway, who need another Doctor in literature or sociology in Africa. We need engineers, scientists, mathematicians, designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, experienced managers.
3. Avoid educational institutions with a political agenda, like the ones which want to train other countries elite to be able to control them afterwards through alumni networks and secrets societies networks. You’ll find these kind of schools more in France, United Kingdom and some in the United states. Most of our current failed leaders have been trained through these institutions. Avoid them, if you want to be a new kind of leader for Africa. Your loyalty should be for your country, your continent, humanity. Unfortunately, they will the one who easily offer financial aids and scholarships for the best African students. The trap is there!
4. Don’t choose blindly or intuitively. Check online the ranking of the best universities in the world. You can find many list online. Here are few of them:
– World’s Best Universities: Top 400: http://www.usnews.com/education/worlds-best-universities-rankings/top-400-universities-in-the-world
– World’s top 100 universities 2012: their reputations ranked by Times Higher Education: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/mar/15/top-100-universities-times-higher-education
Your money and time deserve the best. Pick up carefully.
5. Avoid using studying abroad as an immigration scheme. It’s a trap. If your goal is to immigrate at any cost, you can go that path but believe me you’ll be traumatized by the experience. You’ll end up in the worst universities in the world, which are just hunting for penny students’ fees from desperate foreign students, or trying to fill some diversity quota.
6. Have a goal in mind before you live your country. Talk about this goal with your parents or friends. Dream to be the best of your class, see yourself at the top of your class, envision the kind of companies you want to work with after your studies, imagine yourself receiving an award of excellence, etc.
Without written goals you can lose yourself in sex and leisure pursuit and forget why your are there.
7. Commit to come back to Africa. No excuses! There are more opportunities in Africa now than anytime in history. Get your diploma from the best schools and get back home.
I’m sharing these lessons with you because I love you, and I know well how crazy is to leave family and friends behind and go to other countries to study, with the pervasive hate of black people in many countries without any reason, the condescending attitude of other students, and some teachers; the struggle to live on low budget, loneliness, the illusion of better life in the west, etc.
‘Don’t be encumbered by history; Go out and do something wonderful’
– Robert Noyce, who put ‘Silicon’ in the Valley, with Intel in 1968, going on to inspire Steve Jobs..