Monday, June 14, 2010

Africa's Leaders of Tomorrow School (ALTS)


Everyday I read stories about the economic growth of China. I read about Germany's solutions, clean energy in particular, aimed at solving global challenges. I read about a student in a Tanzanian village who uses an oil lamp with a small floating wick, and that 60% of African population is living without electricity. I read that while two out of five Africans lack clean water supplies and Africa's economy is greatly reliant on international aid, the African population will double by 2030.

Some challenges are old. Some are new. I ask myself many questions. Some are: For countries to reaclh or maintain global leadership, should they focus on global solutions? Because global solutions are always also local while local solutions cannot always be global. If the correct answer is yes, then, is it the likeliest situation that an African country will never become a super power?

Obviously, we are living at a time when all agents of development, across all age ranges and professions, must work together to solve these challenges. Since life is only a choice that must have a purpose to be lived well; for Africa, I would propose a leadership school, Africa's Leaders of Tomorrow School (ALTS) that would involve young African students at the earliest time possible in solving African challenges.

ALTS would be a social business, and would place education at the service of the society. Interested mid-school students who are top in their classes, and who have demonstrated great leadership and risk taking skills in their communities would be admitted. They would be brought together and shown the greatest challenges that the continent faces in preparation for tomorrow's leadership. I am mindful that we learn best from the people who surround us. That's why guest speakers who are themselves entrepreneurs, policy makers, government leaders and infuential people would be invited to talk with the students.

The core subject, 'Africa and the World' would guide students through the history of Africa after independence, the challenges it faces and its e orts to solve them. An emphasis would be on why the continent is the poorest despite the great natural endowment it possesses. It would encourage debates and discussions, to emphasize on the development of leadership skills, entrepreneurial skills and global citizenship. It would be discussed on how leaders can play a greater role to improve the life of an African. The students will be required to write a project on a topic of their own choice but related to Africa and the World. An example of such a topic would be 'Africa, what is the missing link? a look at African governance.'

Not until we are aware of the challenges our small communities face, can we dream of solutions to national, continental or global problems. ALTS students would have to complete a minimum number of hours of community service in preparation for leading an interesting life in which serving others is the greatest character.

The major feature of ALTS curriculum would be to train young great minds to understand how every discipline has and can be used to solve the challenges humankind faces. I see this being met through talks by guest speakers and mandatory class discussions with course instructors.

I see graduates from the school become CEO's, politicians, activists, scientists, policy makers and economists of tomorrow, to mention but a few examples. ALTS students would become global citizens. They would not be fatalistics but able to embark on meaningful and unprecedented projects that would change the way Africa and the world operates. They would be able to integrate into the ever changing world in terms of technology, culture, science and politics while devising methods to integrate with solutions that aim at making Africa a bigger economy. With an emphasis on creativity, they would gain problem solving skills rather than mere knowledge accumulation. They would therefore be equipped with an ability to apply knowledge obtained in class to nd answers to the the problems of the society.

I would envision a family of such schools all over Africa under the social business concept that would prepare students to become leaders of tomorrow who would change Africa and the world at large.

BK, a guest columnist, is a senior at Jacobs University Bremen (in Germany) pursuing a B.Sc degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He hails from Mwanza, Tanzania.


  1. Interesting ideas. However, how different will this be from ALA (African Leadership Academy)?

    or they stole your idea :)

  2. the fundamental difference between ALA and ALTS is: ALTS is a social business whose income would be used to expand the business...! It targets mid school students who would be trained to become leaders of tomorrow. ALA is an A level school, which means it prepares students for studies in different colleges around the world. Those colleges might not necessarily aim at producing Africa's leaders of tomorrow. Also, ALTS would be for everyone..that's why it's a social business. The major idea is based on Mohamed Yunus's definition of a social business

    Anyone can go to ALTS, poor or rich



  3. @ June 14, 2010 5:11 AM anonymous.

    The fundamental feature of ALTS is, it would be a social business (as defined by the Nobel
    laureate, Mohammed Yunus, in "Creating a World Without Poverty") whose income would be used to expand the business thus reaching more and more people. It would target mid school students who would be trained to become leaders of tomorrow. It would be for everyone: rich or poor. More importantly it would be a family of schools (from mid schools to university), all located in Africa, aiming at producing leaders of tomorrow.

    ALA is an A level school, which means it prepares potential student leaders for studies in different colleges around the world. Those colleges might not necessarily aim at producing Africa's leaders of tomorrow


  4. Just curious, have you approached anyone re: starting up this project? Or still looking for ppl to back you up?

    I posted a talk sometime ago of a similar project that is proving to be a success in Ghana. Check it out:

  5. SN:
    Dogo atakujibu, kwa sasa yupo safarini. Ila hii pitch yake alii'submit chuoni mwake kama project proposal. Mpango ulikuwa chuo anachosomea kiwe kama major partner wa ALTS. Ila he still needs people to back him up, hasa hasa on the field Africa. Yupo serious, and I admire his ambition.

  6. @ SN.
    I started thinking about ALTS in summer 2009. I wrote the proposal in April 2010. I decided to test the idea by raising funds, and running a
    one month-variant of the school over some years. Instructors would be trained Jacobs University students and qualified instructors from Tanzania. The long term goal was to become a self-supporting business by having funds from external donors reduced every year. However, due
    to demanding academic work I was not able to do so. I am still hopeful, though, that I will start ALTS in the near future.

    Hiyo post ya kufundisha viongozi hiyo video nimeshaiona. thanks


  7. Safi kijana. We will support you!

    Tutajitahidi ili tupate maujuzi na maujanja; hapo baadae tuwe "invited speakers"..LOL

  8. BK - I like your ideas, and encourage you to submit something to Echoing Green:

    I am particularly impressed with your desire to run this as a business. Certainly, there are benefits to running a non-profit. But for our side of the world, I think for-profits infuse a stronger mindset of sustainability and results-oriented work.

    Please let us know how we can support you further here at Vijana FM. I look forward to seeing more posts from you soon.

  9. @ ak- thanks a lot for the nice complements and motivations. I will surely let you know when your support is needed. I will also look into Echoing Green