Forces and factors that account for similarities and difference between systems of education in Africa

Also Read

Forces and factors that account for similarities and difference between systems of education in Africa

Different systems of education are often defined from the perspective of formal education system. This includes institutionalized formal education from early childhood education, secondary education, tertiary education and university education. Behind every system of education, there are factors or forces that determine or influence hence shape each one of them creating difference and similarities in most cases these factors are national and they include the following.

1. Geographical factors

The geography of the area is often natural which means that it is undefined by man. In this regard, the education system of this country is influenced by the geography of a particular region. The geography of the area dictates, for example, the type of buildings and equipment means and methods of transporting children to school, school going age among others. There are three major geographical aspects that influence education systems namely; climate, land configuration and population distribution. Example as result of climate influence students in the north-eastern part of Kenya which is very hot and dry students learn early in the morning and during the mid-day, they break. This brings a difference in terms of the systems of learning. Also those who learn in urban schools are accessible to learning equipment and facilities.

2. Economic factor

The type of education system in a country in the world depends on the economic strength of that particular country. Also the economic factor determines the content and method of an education system. If the economic condition is poor education becomes backward in many aspects while if the economy of a country is strong the educational aims and the curriculum are given a special direction for making the country prosperous and this brings a difference or similarity in education system in different countries in the world. Example the school drop out of children is high in under developed countries s such as Kenya, Rwanda among others as a result of lack of enough funds to accommodate free primary and secondary education. In developed countries such as South Africa the completion rate is high since teachers and learners have enough resources and facilities and also teachers are paid well and motivation

3. Social and cultural forces

Schools at large often and closely reflect the social pattern prevailing in a particular country .Thus education system is usually seen as a social factor which must reflect the the ethos of the people that it serves. The culture of the people often changes at slow pace. In each culture there are certain values which are not affected by time and place example faith in God, love for truth and non-violence and universal motherhood and justice. In many countries in Africa for example various projects for educational reform does not indicate that there has been basic cultural charges in the life of people from the colonial period into post independent period for instance educating a girl child was not mandatory among some communities in Kenya but today education is universal for every girl child .In many countries of the world today changes have occurred bringing about similarities and differences in the system of education for example respecting teachers among others .This makes it necessary to inculcate love for the country’s culture.

4. The historical factor

Each country in the world has its own history that shapes the nations aims aspirations, activities and destiny .This is often reflected in the education system. Example in Africa it is manifested when attempts were made to try and bring together groups within close geographical boundaries for example east Africa, South Africa, West Africa and North Africa. These groups of countries tend to have similar features in terms of their education system. Missionaries also have influenced greatly the development of education system in Africa .for instance their concepts have been inculcated into Kenyan curriculum such as in writing religious education books.

5. Political factor and forces.

The political factor dictates the kind of administration the system of education will have and this differs greatly among countries in Africa. Example the fundamental ideas of socialism as a political philosophy were about the exploitation of labour by capital and this resulted in class mass among many African countries e.g. Tanzania, socialization advocates for the nationalization of the means of production where owners of means of production do not work and workers who work do not own anything .A change of such order can be changed with reforms in education .This would be through a state mechanism with full control of education and curriculum. There is close relationship between national character and national system of education. Nationalism could be defined as psychological feeling within a group which believes they have common outlook and traditional based on myth of common ancestry including language, religion and territory .Generally education system in African countries is low due to poor governance and hence little is invested education for instance in Kenya education is expensive and requires resource from the government which in most cases government leaders are unable to fulfil hence bringing a different in education system with countries which have democratic leaders in the government

6. Language factor

Language in itself is a symbol of people .Each community or group has an original language of its own which often suits its environment and stage of cultural development .in east Africa Kiswahili has slowly influenced features in the education systems in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania Rwanda and Burundi. In Tanzania Kiswahili used as a method of instruction in primary schools. In South Africa there are two linguistic groups. The English speaking and African speaking groups. The inhabitants spoke Afrikaans and had been used to Dutch school system. French colonies in African also use French such countries include Cameroon, Tunisia Senegal among others. This has an impact in the education system as it determines the language of instruction and curriculum writing.

7. Rigorous factor

Religious also indicate aims and content and even methods of instruction in education which differs from one country to other .in Africa European Christian missionaries continues to influence the education system. The initiative taken by Christian churches to extend education and their power to control development often explain many of the common elements which can be found in education system in countries that were colonized by the European example many school day in Africa is from Monday to Friday and resting days are Saturday and Sunday. There is also development of institution as a result of religion example is the catholic university of Kenya.

From the above points it is true that the similarities and differences in education systems in the world can be greatly achieved.


Sifuna Daniel, development of education in Africa. The Kenyan experience.(Nairobi initiative limited( 1990).

Srivastava Prachi and walford Geoffrey(eds).Private schooling in less economically developed countries (oxford symposium books 2007).

Crossley,M.(1999).reconceptualising comparative and international education campare 29(3),pp.249-267.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post