The Role of Education in Attaining Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan African Nations: Emphasis on Ethiopia

The Role of Education in Attaining Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan African Nations: Emphasis on Ethiopia

Desalegn Sherkabu Abadama (Ethiopian Civil Service University, Ethiopia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3247-7.ch006
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This chapter illuminates how education can be a game changer in the endeavor for attaining sustainable development in sub-Sahara Africa. Postmodern society is characterized by the quest for equity. Equity is an essential prerequisite to sustainable development which in turn necessitate lasting peace, economic and social well-being, among others. We need curricula responsive to postmodern society which would warrant socioeconomic and environmentally sustainable development. Today, there is a significant move towards educational expansion. There has been irregularity in success rates, however. Constituents of developing countries have been struggling to influence their government through the democratization process to open more schools and universities. Yet, accessibility has to be accompanied with quality. This can be achieved by enhancing privatization of education and the effectiveness of the regulatory role of responsible government. So, this chapter is a discourse extending beyond education for sustainable development in to education for sustainable life.
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This chapter is a blend of two crucial concepts education and sustainable development. Education refers to the process through which society passes its cumulated knowledge, traditions and cultural values, etc. from generation to generation. Sustainable development in itself is a blend of two concepts-development and sustainability. Development is a lucid concept which is often undeservingly determined by mere increase of economic wealth. It must rather be conceived with the related concept of sustainability. Accordingly, sustainable development refers to limits on societal, economic activity in the interest of preserving or protecting the environment in consideration of inter-generational and intra-generational equity-by giving priority to the disadvantaged and/or the poor. Sustainable development in this connection put in other words, is development that benefits the disadvantaged, without negatively affecting the needs of the future generation (UN, 1987 as cited in Emas, 2015; and WCED, 1987 as cited in Pearce & Atkinson, 2002).

It is this definition that forces us to question what the complex questions of early 21st century postmodern society are, on the one hand, and the abuse of natural resources here and there and its consequences throughout the world and more specifically in what are referred to as Sub-Saharan African countries to which Ethiopia is part. Therefore, the writer of this chapter being a teacher in the field of social science and with his background of Pedagogical science wants to call the attention of readers from across the world as to critically question what and how can education contribute to the cause of sustainable life. Here, it must also be noted that reversing complex situations of people of Sub-Saharan Africa cannot be left to these countries alone for at least three fundamental reasons. First, both the fight with environmental and Global incidents such as human trafficking cannot be effectively put under control by mere regional and/or national efforts. Second, there naturally exist a widely accepted interest of human beings across the glob which consistently show alliance for the overall prosperity of mankind. The preceding few lines have captured why we should rethink on the possible role of education in attaining sustainable development. Thirdly, the polluters as a matter of ethical responsibility have to compensate for the wrong they have caused in all its forms. Here, it is also worth mentioning what Sen and Stiglitz stipulate the moral dimension of debt relief and past over-lending (Sen,1999 and Stiglitz,2006 both in McGrith, 2010, p242). In accordance with this, this chapter from its inception can also be taken for a call for potential Global pressure groups to revisit their educational policies in general and their curricula at all levels, including for the practicality of what is already there or what would be included in the future curricula.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sub-Saharan Africa: The area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara which also includes the Horn of Africa and Southern Sudan.

Curriculum: Almost everything that goes in and outside the school which affects the education of students.

Economic Sustainability: The overall productivity of a certain group of human beings as expressed in terms of the aggregate products over a given period of time.

Postmodern Curricula: Type of curricula that fit the educational demands of postmodern society.

Genuine Saving: A saving orientation of a certain group of people that demonstrates a strong sense of doing the saving in a way it ensures sustainable development to which environmental, social, and economic sustainability are parts.

Green Economy: A type of economy that enable attain both economic development and environmental viability at a time.

Green Income: The type of earning that a group secures from environmentally friendly economic activities.

Social Sustainability: The sustenance of a certain group of human beings as protected from social evils of all kind including migration and human trafficking.

Education: The process through which society disseminates its worthwhile social experiences and achievements of every kind to the present and to the coming generation.

Carbon Footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Environmental Sustainability: The situation whereby the society or a certain group manages to conserve the natural physical potential for the wellbeing of nature itself for good life.

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