The need to build African schools outside of Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, there are plenty of foreign schools where mostly children of diplomats, international civil servants and even some wealthy locals are found. But the observation is not the same when we turn to the West, Asia or America. It is difficult to identify African schools there [1] Designed to accommodate the children of civil servants or other Africans living in the region; However, the need is crying out because no nation in the world has developed with the culture of another country.

Aware of this, Africa will benefit not only through remittances, but also by strategically preparing its citizens for the development of their continent. One way would be to set up African schools outside of Africa. After presenting a short list, we will show why it is important to build African schools outside of Africa.

Why so many foreign schools in Africa?

After Africa’s independence, countries such as France or the United States maintained or built new schools in Africa to educate the children of their citizens (also called “expatriates”).

According to the self-published academic site, 163 of the 495 French high schools in the world are located in Africa. And there are French high schools in almost all major cities in French-speaking African countries. There are 36 names in Morocco, 23 in Madagascar, 13 in Senegal and 5 in Cameroon, but there are a few examples.

In Cameroon, more precisely in the capital Yaounde, there is Fustel-de-Coulanges French High School About 785 students participated, including 419 French students and the International School Flamboint With 151 students, including 58 French. Dual Dominic-Savio French High School has 1,119 students, of whom 598 are of French descent.

In the town of Garua, a French school Tingulin Welcoming 31 students, including 12 French nationals. The only school with only 4 French students is the French schoolFoolish Marua has a total enrollment of 14 students.

As we can see, these institutions welcome both French and citizens.

But France is not the only country in Africa that has built schools to train its citizens. “Everywhere in Africa, especially in Guinea, we see French, Chinese, Lebanese, Turkish, Arab, American schools to name a few,” Abubakar Soumah noted. Ghana, we can quote Lincoln Community SchoolAnd Mozambique, USInternational School of Mozambique Which are American schools.

These schools usually have a very good reputation. The main purpose is to allow the children of foreign nationals of this state to follow the same program who have remained on the mainland. This may seem contradictory to the colonial-derived systems practiced in these countries, but this potential paradox is justified.

Although most of the education system in French-speaking Africa was modeled on France and changed little after independence [2]In this African capital, French citizens prefer to use French high schools because the teaching methods and content used there encourage up-to-date, innovative and critical thinking, as opposed to methods that are primarily in favor of memorizing and retrieving knowledge.

Beyond the supposed “improved quality” of education, these foreign schools have the advantage of integrating their graduates into the professional environment of the country of origin. For example, it is easier to find a job in France through a French BAC than in Congolese or Burkinabè. Finally, these schools allow students to acquire other languages ​​and open up to other cultures And it’s a strategic concept in terms of cultural diplomacy with substantial economic benefits, one might wonder why African states don’t do the same for their citizens in the West or elsewhere.

Why so few African schools abroad?

Even if it is true that Western governments have laws that are rather in favor of integrating foreigners into their education system (this is the case in France, Spain and many other countries), it is not true that the absence of African schools or training structures for other African citizens is not limited to African diplomats. Due to the lack of vision of immigrants [3].

If we take the example of Cameroon, in 2019 the French development agency shows that more than 100,000 Cameroonians live in France. This is more than enough to create one Cameroonian school Or a Cameroonian Cultural Center Cameroonians to strengthen their ties of identity with their country of origin but to assert themselves as a sovereign country.

But for that, like other countries in Africa, Cameroon also has to do the necessary work. That is to redefine the education system and Invest more in cultural diplomacy Where education will be a central pillar of the Cameroonian government’s international relations strategic plan.

This cultural diplomacy can thus be implemented by creating Cameroonian schools or cultural centers in European and world capitals with a strong presence of Cameroonian expatriates. These schools, in addition to promoting a school program and curriculum rooted in Cameroonian values ​​and traditions, will also be a center for teaching Cameroonian and African languages ​​and cultures in general.

African countries are therefore keen to create an education system that is relevant to socio-political and economic realities. In Cameroon, for several years now, a bilingual system (French and English) has been felt, but this education system is fundamentally different from others in that it promotes bilingualism. It is important to develop an educational program that considers more Cameroonian historical and cultural heritage, Which can be a source of income and above all a means of strengthening the cultural anchor of the youth. Yet this is done in the Senegalese city of Tuba.

Tauba is the third largest city in Senegal in terms of population, with a population of about 875,000. It is one of the most developed cities, which distinguishes itself from others at the educational level where instructional languages ​​are Olof and Arabic. And professional training centers adapt their programs to local needs and the city also develops, mainly through internal solutions.

Why build African schools outside of Africa?

Young French and Americans in Africa are educated in their various education systems to facilitate their reintegration into the national economy and the professional world. This is an admirable approach and Africa will benefit by doing the same. African children should go to school that speaks to their reality: their culture, their heritage, their difficulties, their possibilities, and so on. Thus, they will not hesitate, once they become adults, to work for the improvement of living conditions in the country of their birth.

Otherwise, how can we expect a child educated in the French, Italian or Spanish education system, to be named, to be able to think passionately and practically about the development of Africa after spending 10 or even 20 years in these systems? And as mentioned above, it depends on the governments and citizens of different African communities The benefits of intercourse Not unnatural with foreign cultures and to prepare the children of citizens, often born in the West, for their mainland development challenges [4].

Capitalize on the potential of the African community abroad

Despite the presence of strong African communities in this part of the world, the absence of African schools in the West or outside Africa is a reality and several African countries will benefit from solving this problem. It is possible to reverse the trend. There will be no harm in imitating and improving the best practices learned from European and American schools in Africa.

Capitalizing on the potential of a strong African community abroad can be done through African schools or appropriate training centers that not only promote integration but also prepare students to meet the challenges of sustainable development in Africa.

References

[1] It is important to note that when we are talking about African schools, we are not talking about schools that bring all Africans together, but schools of different African countries, each country has its own reality.

[2] Roland Portier, “Education is a major problem in post-independence Africa. Fifty years of teaching in Africa: a mixed record, ” Contemporary Africa 235, no. 3 (2010): 101–14, https://doi.org/10.3917/afco.235.0101

[3] This is not the case with citizens of other continents. By way of example, China is building schools in Europe to continue training Chinese children. This is the case with the Chinese school in Paris.

[4] Many African children, once in Europe, drop out due to this lack of adequate passage or education system that takes into account their multicultural or intercultural realities.


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