By TATENDA MAGETSI
WHEN I was in the Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe, I asked one legislator “does our educational system teach us to be problem solvers or to be part of the problem?”
I wasn’t given an answer.
See, the way schooling is mostly framed in Africa, or at least where I come from in Zimbabwe, attracts people to conform to employment-based, lifelong professions in typical academia led fields such as medicine, law, engineering, social work and accountancy.
There is little or no emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, leaving little room for cognitive difference or debate of matter, to stress test thinking.
I grew up in a poor high-density area of Harare, cared for by my mother, after my father left home.
Having gone through this educational system feeling as if I were being churned out like a sausage — reading books for regurgitation, passing examinations, graduating and looking for employment.
I had little hope of being an entrepreneur or innovator — just a follower and not a creator.
The educational system has shaped minds to ask, “what is the answer?” and this doesn’t provoke critical thinking, “Why is that the answer?”
To address this divide, Herbert Chakurangeyi, Jockoniah Delani and I created Open Minds Initiative Africa whose mission is to research, enlighten, and equip our home community, to reason and explore life beyond the limitations of basic education.
We plan to involve our peers in extensive online researches on Emotional Intelligence and Critical Psychology to determine learning opportunities unique to the problems African people face.
We can leverage technology to broaden this movement and reach other African countries.
Open Minds Initiative Africa will focus on curating findings into online and field lectures, themed workshops and themed campaigns that aim at complex questioning, problem solving, teamwork and adaptability — to help young Africans solve their own problems, meet their own increasing demand in the labour market and create markets.
Using the available social media platforms to gather and dispense information we are set to extend the current schooling to open minds-based curriculum, widen and engage in ground breaking creatives, so that people evolve and match the expansive needs of informal markets whose opportunity can be harnessed by the digital generation.
Starting with secondary school kids, we will create an African identity that directs the millennial to personal responsibility, achievement and innovation.
Teaching techniques and nurturing a new set of habits that guarantee adaptation to the technological developments of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) era and give rise of people like Strive Masiyiwa and other global examples, Elon Musk and Jack Ma.
We will do this through adaptation to the technological developments of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) era.
In conclusion therefore, Open Minds Initiative Africa will ensure that just as children start out naturally curious and experimental, such attributes are maintained and guided in adulthood.
This will enhance the skills needed to prepare Africa’s youth for the digital economy and the future of work. If we can’t critique, how can we create?
Magetsi is among three young Zimbabweans selected to begin studies at Oxford University this year under the 2019 Zimbabwe Rhodes Scholarship. He had the Zimbabwe-winning entry in the World Bank 2019 Blog4Dev competition that invites young people to write a blog to share their views and solutions to challenges facing Africa’s development.
Source Daily News