Recently, I found myself in a discussion about what ideologies were sold to us back when we were in high school. The over emphasis on sciences as the baseline for intelligence and success in the real world stood out.
We all scrambled to pursue a course in a science related field even if we didn’t like it. There was and I believe is, still a famous notion that people who go to campus or college to pursue humanities have so much time to spare because they are taking an easy course and do into need to study much. They are also not considered to contribute to society in any transformative ways.
This is far from the truth.
Scientific research and technological advancements continue to improve livelihoods and create an efficient world. The scientific researches, including the still hovering COVID-19 pandemic, find us solutions to diseases and environmental problems like pollution. Technology keeps proving that the future really full of possibilities. It takes embracing research and science, for schools to build experts who create the future.
Social Sciences and Humanities encompass a broad range of subjects. They include history, languages, philosophy, sociology, psychology, economics, and political science. Literature and poetry have over the years, documented the human experience. Psychology keeps revealing ourselves to us in ways that enable us to be better human beings in social set ups. The connection established by these subjects play a huge role in the functioning of the larger world.
Euromed University in Morocco gave me a glimpse into what a wholesome education looks like.The university ensures the students take a social science course and a foreign language of their choice, out of the ones the university offers. The president explains that they don’t want to produce just scientific geniuses but scientific geniuses who can interact with the world with kindness and compassion. While you can learn how to heal diseases in a lab, you cannot learn to heal yourself, or the people around you.
History holds a mirror to our faces, except, it shows us everything we have been through to get where we are. As a continent, we especially owe it ourselves to embrace art in all its forms. If we all went into sciences, we would miss out in the beauty of language we see in Toni Morrison’s work. We would miss out on Okot p’bitek’s poetry. The story of Africa has for a long time, been written by visitors who have no real experience of what it means to be from here. We need to encourage our students to read and write proudly, to document and share their experiences, to study art, literature, and history so that we can have a solid foundation for the Africa we are working towards. We need the innovations and researches as well to elevate the continent.
The notion that one gets a job faster when they study science is a long-standing fallacy in our high school narratives. It is not a matter of which subject is better. It is about being so good at whatever we choose to do, that we create impact. If half of the students go into science and the other half picks social sciences, we will establish a balanced world that heals physically and emotionally. There is no less course when it comes to building a future.
We should encourage our students to seek their hearts and souls, and follow that which fires it.The stress of having to go through years of college just to meet unwarranted societal standards is unnecessary. Our job is to guide our children to find their purpose, not create a purpose for them, and then force them to fit into it. We can encourage mutual respect for whatever fields one undertakes. To do that, we should create an environment in which they can seek knowledge broadly, learn as much as they can about as many fields as possible. The power of education is not its ability to get is jobs that pay our bills; it is its ability to make us respectful, understanding people who possess leadership qualities and can be trusted.