Lessons from Rio 2016 – Quality Education will bring out the excellence in Africa

For the past 10 days, the flames of excitement have been consistently fanned by enthusiasm, energy and panache in the midst of the most colourful city in South America: Rio de Janeiro, where more than 11,000 athletes have assembled to engage in the world’s biggest sporting event – Olympics.

images(2)

A lucid representation of excellence is perceptible with a quick glance at the medals table.

http://m.bbc.com/sport/olympics/rio-2016/medals/countries

Perhaps, there is a correlation between the strongest economies of the world and the nations that jumped to the top five positions on the medals table. Maybe, they are just popular names we hear everyday.

images(4)
Michael Phelps: Passion – Humility – Education – Love – Practice – Success.

The top five nations on the medals table in ascending order are: Germany, Russia, China, Great Britain and United States. According to an economic report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – a ranking of the world’s largest economies which is usually updated twice annually with the latest one released in April 2016; four countries among the five at the top of the medals table occupy the top five spots in the ranking. In descending order, the world’s largest economies are: United States, China, Japan, Germany, and United Kingdom. This only portends that these countries understood the nitty-gritty of excellence; they paid the price of preparation and harnessed all the resources at their disposal to achieve their goals.
With just a couple days to the closure of the 2016 Summer Olympics, some countries are yet to win any medal and only one African nation is in the top 30 on the medals table:

2016-08-15-Athletics-800m-Men-thumbnail
David Rudisha, the giant among the giants.
105797442-Jemima_Sumgong-SPORT-medium_trans++MkNVuEiQYtpaGCtNshjkEJtBu2E67FtUeM1MhJ1wctc
Jemima Jelagat Sumbong, the future is brilliant. 

Kenya (19)

Brilliant performance of the athletes can be linked to the state of development in their countries. The underdevelopment in Africa can be associated with the poor quality of education available. One of Africa’s brightest leaders, Nelson Mandela, is the author of one of the world’s most powerful quotes on education; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Africa needs to morph into a conglomerate of developed nations. This change can only be realized when education is given top priority in decision making and financial appropriations. A change that heralds rapid development can be initiated when quality education is fully embraced.
Africa is one of the world’s richest continents in terms of natural and human resources. In the pursuit of quality education and higher standard of living, best brains from Africa have migrated to other countries. Migrations to developed nations imply that they contribute immensely to the economy of their new countries. This is one of the reasons why developed nations with favourable immigration policies will always top the chart when it comes to the rankings.
A sneak peak at the best universities in the world can give an idea of where the best of educational facilities and resources are obtainable. According to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2015/2016, the United States serves as home to six universities that are among the top 10 in the world. China has two universities in the top 50, Japan has two universities in the top 100, Germany hosts nine universities in the top 100 and United Kingdom has three post-secondary institutions in the top 10 in the world. The depth of qualitative education in these countries may be one of the factors that have enabled them to be in control of the world’s largest economies. Perhaps, they invested heavily in education because they have a perfect understanding of the words of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle; “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
Quality education in Africa needs a surge aided by financial commitments from private donors and government agencies. South Africa and Egypt are two African countries that have found their spots on the world map, because they paid attention to quality education. South Africa is a home to six universities that comfortably occupy the top 800 in the world with University of Cape Town in position 120. Egypt also has three universities in the top 800 while Nigeria can only make boast of one university in the top 800 in the world.

Conclusively, Africa is a name that resonates with excellence and brilliance; a habitat for great minds that can truly change the world. For the excellence in the loins of African youths to reach the continental stage, qualitative and standardized education must be made available to all and sundry. This will strengthen our economy, prepare us for the future and birth more athletes worthy of Olympic medals in Tokyo 2020.

IMG-20160820-WA000
Let us keep in mind that all is possible under the control of the Almighty.

Osho Samuel Adetunji