Photo source: Google search results for "Malawi Youth"
I am sure you are doing great. I know this letter may sound stupid and common sense, but I will remind you anyways.
You remember when we were 6 years old, awaken by our mothers to hurry up and go to school at 5am. Walking a journey of about 10 km before getting to school and worse still on an empty stomach. By the time we are at school, we are exhausted and not able to pay attention? Ooh yeah, if you do, this letter is for you.
We were told "work hard, get good grades and then you will get a good Job all will be history". And we did it right?
And what now?
Here we are as Miserable as we were. So why this Misery?
Misery is when you wake up every morning for over 20 years being told to go to school, work hard, get good grades, go to college with the hope that one day you will get a good paying job, marry a beautiful spouse and all your problems will be history only to find out later that none of those things promised do not come easily and that you have to go back to school some few more years hoping that further investment into a masters degree is what will solve your dilemma.
Mates, let's face it with a sober mind here.
This is our story today. With a population of about 14 million, 75℅ youth, 4 public (theoretical) universities and an annual enrollment of less than 4,000 students per academic year, we still have more than 2,000 students graduating from universities in this country every year, from which less than 200 find jobs on annual basis straight from Uni. The rest of the graduates go back to staying with their parents or few lucky fortuantes go back to school to get the MA, as if the BA was not enough.
Why am I bugging you with all these time wasting statistics? I know you have Bae to text or a TurnUp and drink to attend. But listen good.
In the 21st century, we must know better than ever that doing the same thing all over again and expecting a different result is what has been defined as "Insanity". Tell me if this country is not insane.
Our current system can now be defined as an insane system. Every year, thousands of young people are graduating from primary schools and go to secondary/high schools; from high schools to colleges and universities and from there they are trying to make their way into what the "years in school" has programmed them to be their careers. No Jobs or employment opportunities created.
Now the job market is congested. Everyone today wants to become a CEO, doctor, a teacher, a bank manager, an engineer or an accountant (or in other words all the prestigious white color jobs). Not because that's what we really want but what the society has told us to be.
Our education system leaves a lot to be desired. Its one ready answer state and closed approach to learning is not serving our generation and will not serve the next generation either if you and me sit here phwii and hope a miracle will happen. What the world is failing to accept is that what worked 10 years ago is no longer working today for us. Look here, what our parents needed in their school days was to outclass the people in their class and they were on their way to the next level and consequently got the jobs they wanted. But for us, we are now in a global competitive village. We now have Chinese, Brits, Americans name them occupying the same jobs our parents got easily. From this paradigm shift that is sweeping across the world led by us "the Lost Generation", we must help the society to ask the question Why? And why Not?
Why should we still send our kids to traditional schools today? Why should they learn what we learned and we cant even use?
The questions we must ask ourselves is, "what does it mean to be educated? What is it that shapes us?" And what have we become from what we have called education the past 35 years?
The culture we are born in, dictates to us a way of thinking and doing things which is enhanced by our education system the azungu brought. Our culture is what has been termed "a therapy culture". This means a mind-set that is common in us that we are our past. So we hold on with a firm grip things that we think shaped us instead of focusing on what really will shape our future. (Our Imaginative Abilities)
But thus is not an issue of "Can any of us imagine better?" NO! But, "Can we all DO better?" What are we willing to do?
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we MUST RISE -- with the occasion. Trust my words peeps, our case is new, so we must think anew, and ACT anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
The creative use of our imagination is what we dearly need to solve these problems that we are faced with. But imagination alone is not enough; we need human resources to add value to these imaginations. Sadly,the type of education offered in our schools is educating young people out of their imaginative powers and abilities due to its rigidity and zero tolerance to independent thinking. It is instilling fear in us and encouraging us to be very risk averse. What we were meant to do naturally is what they are telling us is useless. My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as knowledge, and must be highly valuable and be treated as the core of the education system. Think about it.
If we all had a child's mindset, we could have prevented some of the challenges our parents have put us into and the school system has forced us to accept as a norm.
What is true is that as kids, we were not afraid to fail and we were always taking a chance. But the moment we started being judged by academic tests and exams as correct or wrong and grading us as dull, average or brilliant, we started thinking that whatever we do will be judged. What we do know now is that if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original. Let's take chances guys.
Now looking at our education system, we discover that it is based solely on academic brilliance.This current system was invented to meet industrialism needs which have by far now been totally replaced by technological revolution and globalization. Most of us today are probably being steered away from things we enjoy and are passionate about, on the basis that they will never get us a job. That's so silly. One could wonder where those who followed this advice are now. The problem with many people being frustrated today is that they do not know their reason for being in this world. So they simply exist and hate all the things they do. Let's change that.
Its almost 2016 and I don’t think we need to be surrounded by 4 walls to get knowledge; it is all over the place... it is in the air; at our fingertips, in our pockets, in our beds etc. But the question is "How are we using this knowledge?" Food for thought.
The 21st century thinking must be different from the 19th century way if we are to make meaningful changes in this country. It is therefore high time we reworked our systems and rethink our contribution to national building. This country needs a total revolution. And you must be a member of this revolution.
This revolution will start with you and me and the rest of our generation.
We must rise above Envy, jealousy, betrayal and hate.
We must rise above personal gains and tokenism.
we must put the plight of this nation first.
My fellow "Lost Generation members"
Drinking all weekend, watching EPL matches all the time, Series and Tv shows all day, playing FIFA all night will not move this country forward.
Owning the latest smartphones or cars does not add to the wealth of a nation that is never exporting anything.
Trying to look rich will not make us rich or happy. It will only make us more miserable.
Life is far more above beyond "Peace"
We must look at our challenges and develop local solutions while thinking of making global impact.
Posting on Twitter and Instagram for likes will not pay bills.
And paying bills through "body services" will only increase our population and the AIDS pandemic we are facing.
Its up to us to decide a direction for this country and for how we want this nation to be in the next few years.
Aid is gone. And we can not keep begging from our so called "Colonial masters"
We are future leaders? Yes! This is the future they told us about.
Long and boring Yes. But I have not even told you half of what I thought I could share with you.
I am sure you will share this with more of members of our generation as we share all the scandals that break.
Talk to you soon as you plan what to do for this country in the new year.
Take Action Mate!
See you on the ACTION FIELD.
Your fellow Millennial,
Dennis Imaan is a Global Citizen born and currently staying in Malawi. He loves to share his experiences and lessons with others. Travel, Tourism, Innovations, Media and Youth development are close to his heart.