On Malawian Education System and its Implications on Development
Here I have come, my martyrs, before your house, here in the rot of Nkhata-Bay Jetty. My mind is burdened, dear Martyrs, with the education status of this country. That education is a precursor to development in any country is very true, but how so seems to elude the reasoning capacity of most Malawians, even as highly educated as the first citizen himself. There is a very lame theory that is very popular in Malawian education system, a theory that is very deceptive, and very destructive as far as a nation’s development is concerned. The theory is: Read, memorise, pass with distinctions, and then get a good job. Period, it ends there. You see, my Martyrs, the whole essence of education is to secure a good job in the end, to win, through a mere paper filled with good grades, the heart of a capitalist who owns a company. That is all, nothing further than that. There you frown, oh Martyrs, but wait, I am still rambling, there is more.
This conception of education has really produced useless big heads rotting with grey hairs and dozing away in lecture rooms. They have nothing more to give the society that has educated them. Their dream has been fulfilled, the dream with which they spent sleepless nights for, memorizing huge volumes of books, and spitting the same on exam papers. You will meet them, if you are to rise today, my Martyrs, along college corridors, bearded chins and professorial spectacles up in the air, as if sniffing for something. You will surely not avoid giving them a beating of their lives. And how outrageous they become when they are reminded that they are supposed to contribute something to the society, that Professors before them had done a lot of research that had seen numerous developments that we have today in the world! Instead, all they give in turn to such reminder bells are series of Ad hominem counterarguments untypical of well learned scholars. I do not have to notify you of how remarks by the State President about Malawi University Lectures were met by the University Crew, for you cannot bear the pain, you can leap out of those dug up graves, and descend upon the living with vengeance.
When I interviewed one Professor of Economics, who heads the Economics Department at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, about why it is the case that Malawi is still in economic shambles despite numerous economists in the country, he was quick to blame the political machinery of the country, citing it as being hostile to the suggestions found in the research papers done by some of the economists. “Sometimes they call us names, you know”, he remarked, while laughing, and I laughed with him too, not because it was funny, but because he was funny. I hope you know what that means. If the political machinery is that hostile, they are the ones to take on the challenge of transforming it, just like you did during the independence struggle, since the taxpayers educated them for that purpose, making sure that the economic system is healthy, by whatever means it takes. They are the ones who understand the minute details of economics, and to pay respect to the taxpayers’ money which educated them, they should strive to challenge any economic ill, not just on paper, but also in action. You should stop me, oh my martyrs, or criticize me, if I am wrong.
But my dear Martyrs, what do we see in these economists instead? They, together with their friends in the Political Science and Law Departments, just go on making noises, selling their names, so long they get paid, and are happily arriving home with their kill. Nothing further than that. They don’t even care whether their noises are heeded or not, they are just happy when they are called names, since they know they will be selling hot, and will continue marketing their noises in the future. I am a media student, and I know noises like these matter most to Medias that have a specific agenda to achieve, especially in propaganda matters. So it is evident that the research the Professor was talking about here was a money chasing tool, not something to do with development. So long the paper is paid for, or wins a certain highly prized award, that’s all. Its practical success is not the concern of the researcher. Money silences all.
This breed of educated men and women, my Martyrs, find their parent in the same education theory I postulated earlier on. Education is a business, in which one invests his time and money, not for the profit of the society, but for the enrichment of his own pockets. This economic view of education breeds just few ingenious minds, the rest are just involved in a blind struggle of securing beautiful certificates and degrees in order to compete effectively in the race of winning an employer’s approval. After being recruited, they are at the mercy of this capitalist, since what he wants is for his workers to enrich his pockets, not the society. I remember one friend of mine, working as an accountant somewhere in Blantyre, told me how difficult and exhausting it is there, with issues of deadlines and all sorts of things. All in a blind rush of enriching a single person. I just felt sorry for him, for he does not know the reality of it all, and will never know, since his education was not an enlightenment, but a race towards securing a good job. And there it is, a good job, my martyrs, a good job.
I have rambled enough, my dear Martyrs, let me retire to my humble abode. At least I will make use of the little freedom that you died for. I am sorry if I irritate you for belittling what you fought for, but I wish you well anyway, my Martyrs, though you cannot talk to me. I will come again later, under the same wan sun, to explain to you the new developments that have hit the education sector, symptomatic of the same education theory I postulated earlier on. And wait, I forgot to tell you, the President is on a vacation to New York, a very expensive vacation, with 113 escorts. I hear millions of taxpayers’ money has gone into it, and back home a check has bounced, government account is empty. I hear sirens behind me, my martyrs, I must go. I remain:
PhD, Rambling and Whimpering (Chamisala College, Zomba).
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