Many forget the damaging effects that come from a life of staggering poverty. The innability for a country to lift itself out of poverty through development, production and real participation in the World market has lasting generational effects. Researchers at Cornell University in the field of epigenetics found that both racism and poverty can have traumatic consequences on the developmental capacity of youth. This means a child’s ability to reason, learn and eventually become a competent adult can be impacted by severe poverty in childhood.
This is a powerful point to understand in the ever confounding conversation about development in emerging economies. Such nations who have remained in a sustained state of under-development often neglect the imparative of ‘human development.’ This kind of education is vital to the growth and accomplishment of any nation. Serious thought and constructive action must be taken by the framers of any society to develop the psychosocial and developmental growth of its own citizens.
In the early days of the West, many such educational framers emerged to contribute to the orthodoxy of Western Education. Names like John Dewy, Jerome Bruner, or Maria Montessori are important figures in the formative state of education and human development in Western enclaves. Unfortunately, in developing economies that seem to be stunted, there remains a dearth of scholarship and focus toward improving human capital. There is an absence of understanding on the impact that a learned, capable mind has on the development of society, economy and infrastructure.
There is a reason why these states remain in poverty and subsistence from generation to generation, even after more than 50 years past Colonialism. The error is that the education of Colonialism was never replaced. Many states continue to teach from the British or American standards for Education. Many know more about the Anglo-Saxon hiatory than their own.
Many postulated that education is not taken seriously by leadership in developing economies because it makes controlling the masses more difficult. But this is only partially true and under very specific circumstances. People who are uneducated/undereducated, tribal and hungry can be easily manipulated by those three levers. But these levers can also be used by anyone (from the nation’s leader to even a covert destabilization group launched to depose that very leader). It leaves a major vulnerability.
These three levers are so basic that destabilizations and coups become turnkey. For literally anybody smarter than the general populace; change is quick and brutal. And this is a massive problem for developing economies who have not invested in the most important national infrastructure–their people! The people are unaware of their rights, the benefits of following rules, the value of participating in civic activities and enriching the nation; so these things never get done.
Citizens from these nations overlook the commonwealth of their own nation for greener pastures anywhere. They abandon precious minerals, oil, rich farmland and manufacturring capacities for a customer service job at a European sandwich shop and a cold water flat on the bad side of town. While this is understandable for refugees and persecuted ethnic groups, for average citizens from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, this is a problem. If the average citizen cannot get a job in his countey, this is a problem. Yet this is the case in many quandrants.
In fact in Kenya, one of Africa’s most advanced nations, only 9 percent of the population have full time jobs acording to a 2022 Business Daily Africa report. Just recently the PM of Germany promised Kenya TVET cooperations and a couple thousand international jobs in Deutchland according to a report for Africa News online. A pitance, when Kenya has a gigantic trade deficit with Germany that is nearly 300 million USD.
This deficit is evidence of the basic need for a viable education that goes beyond what is currently offered. It is a need for an education that builds men and women who can build Kenya. Kenyans don’t need jobs, they need reeducation. A non-colonial education, formulated by collaborations with diaspora, expats, local educators, historians and psychologists. A non-colonial education will help many “developing nations” truly develop into the societies they need to be to thrive.
The African intelligencia talks extensively of the “Africa We Want,” but the internal psychosocial vestiges of Colonialism keeps brilliant mechanisms like the AfCTA, EAC, and ECOWAS, even the African Union from making that happen. These wonderful organizations become nothing more than lovely acronyms for meetings that produce few tangible results. Local people are left rolling their eyes at these institutions and mechanisms because of how little they impact the lives of ordinary Africans. And how can African citizens know that they are the ones they have been waiting for, if no one teaches them how to be the ones they have been waiting for? This applies to many former colonies beyond the African continent that are in need of true human development.
Both India and China have put major influence on educating their populace. For India it has been in the area of tech development; for China a wide range of disciplines. These endeavors have been buttressed by their diaspora and expat classes who were sought out by government to help enrich the local populations along with experts worldwide. China went a step further and sought support from anyone willing to provide the knowledge.
Education goes beyond books and lessons to the develooment of the whole individual. An unsophisticated populace will not produce anything. And we see that in many developing countries who have remained resource colonies and vacation spots. Currently, Kenya has a trade deficit with Germany, but no major trade partners at the same level in Africa.
It may be mind-blowing to think that an African country is paying out more money to a Western European country, but that is the case with the Kenya-Germany Trade Deficit. But we mustn’t blame Kenya alone, it is the case with Ghana, Niger, South Africa and a host of others who trade more in West and Asia than regionally. This is because human development has been neglected.
Africa talks of brain drain, but why is that so easy to do with such a massive populations? Africa has 1.5 billion people according to 2023 Macrotrends reporting; and it is slated to grow by 2.5 percent annually, how can it run out of intelligent ‘brains?’ . . . It’s only brain drain, if you are not training more brains. Like most developing economies, Africa doesn’t have a population problem, it has a production problem. It is not producing at an adequate rate to support its population growth. That’s just basic math.
However, nations constantly embroiled in war, poverty, conflict, regime change, infrastructural calamities often produce populations fraught with generational trauma. That trauma gets passed down genetically, and has a negative impacts on future generations by creating a cyclical effect. A general sustained helplessness overtakes populations convinced change is not possible.
Human develop must be embarked upon in earnest to be effective. Einstein is quoted saying, “We can’t solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used to create them.” And the maxim holds true where former colonial states institute education and curricula from the same colonial systems that colonized them. It is simply not logical to imagine this will work, even if well-intintioned. This is evident in the last 50 years on the continent of Africa. And we cannot make a few disruptive thinkers and the divergent who excel, the norm–they are the exceprtional few that broke through due to other factors in their own psychosocial evolution and social environment.
But whether it is a nation in southeast Asia, the Middle East or Latin America, the need for human development with indigenous aspects remain. There’s no shame in not knowing, but only in willful ignorance and unwillingness to fix the problem.
Human development goes toward teaching populations how to respect cultures different from their own. It includes civics, appropriate and respectful behavior toward others, the value of production and easy interactions facilitated by rules and public coutesy. Rules and laws alone are not enough. They must be taught through both formal and informal education methods; from in-class and on-the job training to PSAs, communications outreach campaigns, town halls, and online engagement.
Human development creates ‘The Africa We Want.” “The Afganistan We Want,” the “Pakistan We Want,” the ‘Guatamala We Want.” It’s the key to creating citizens that care, that understand the fundementals of civics and their geopolitical position in the world. Without it, such countries will produce another batch of leaders that are good talkers, who become employees and undermanagers of former colonial states to manage local resources. The world will watch another generation of leaders willing to acquire debt without a domestic product capable of producing anything that could pay it back. Another generation of men more afraid of foreign bombs than the hungry traitors among them that have hamstrung their nation for generations. The cycle repeats without education and human development.
There has to be a move toward human development that includes an education that consistently produces capable citizens. A productive society doesn’t come from more investment and infrastructure alone–but educational and social investment in the people who must maintain, upgrade and improve that infrastructure and industry into the future.
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