Our Education System And Its Effects On Technology Growth.
In the recent national economic summit, where major stakeholders and investors gathered to discuss issues around sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria economy. The major emphasis was on Nigeria technology uprising and why investors should be wise enough to see Nigeria and Africa tech ecosystem as the next holy grail for their investments.
While this is outrightly true, the big question should be how sustainable these technologies/startups are, to launch us through a sustainable economic growth.
A tweet by Mark Essien recently raged on how African promising startups who had received recognition and even fund in recent years have faded off like a cigarette smoke which only left their history to perceive. So, what’s really going on? of course, we do want a product like Facebook, Google, Twitter etc role out from Africa. But, can our ravaging ever growing entrepreneurship spirit achieve this alone? Napoleon Hill discussed in his book, #outwittingTheDevil, chapter 12a. how the environment can greatly influence success. Our own environment here is our educational system and it has its own fault, the competitive model. Have you ever wondered why an actively brilliant student in nursery school becomes highly despondent in high school? #Competition. Our education system is modeled to reward success and condemn failure in every right and this has become our lifestyle without considering the later consequences. The system is now in us rather than being in it. The few who triumph will likely become our next innovators, attempting to innovate by the same strategy of competition. Peter Thiel in his book #ZeroToOne, chapter 2, defines the differences between a competitive product and its innovative counterpart. Competition kills, but innovation brings about revolution. While few of our startups are doing great in an attempt to revolutionize their niches, lots are only concern about evolution, evolution by imitation. And if this is everybody’s way, the goal is survival and when the goal is survival, vision suffers.
Elon musk discussed in his biography book, Tesla, SpaceX and the quest for a fantastic future, how competition almost got the advantage of his then x.com and Thiel’s Paypal before their merger. If you can’t survive the competition, then just bend the knee.
Don’t get me wrong, competition is good but it shouldn’t be the sole purpose that drives our existence. You can compete on proprietary technology. Google, for example, is way ahead of its competitor mainly because of its proprietary search algorithm, way too complex to be imitated. Ben Horowitz in his book, the hard thing about hard things discussed on how Microsoft IIS out-competed their own web server being multiple times faster. If we want to compete, we should compete for what is right. If competition becomes the sole obsession, then death is not an abstraction. Winter is coming.
While our education system isn’t the only change required to shape our ecosystem, It is not a myth that it gives a realization of the world to come. More is expected.
Now, I see clearly why the advocacy for personalized learning and the quest to resuscitate the Montessori strategy of education is ever increasing.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, our action is driven by our experience, which defines our perspectives of things. In our case, the experience is the same, our competitive educational system, which drives our notion of building the next Africa. We need a change.
To be continued……