In many cases poorer countries have recklessly squandered their natural resources and manpower by indulging in murderous wars. It is the first step on the way to development to stop these wars. In many continents tribal wars have been endemic since the dawn of history, and they are made far worse by modern weapons. In many cases the infrastructure, the roads and communications, the buildings and transport systems that have been laboriously built over the decades are wantonly destroyed.
The situation in many African countries is sometimes blamed on colonialism. Undoubtedly many countries were cruelly exploited in the past, but it must be added that much was also done to support development. In any case, many years have now passed, and other countries, particularly in South-East Asia, which also suffered from colonialism, now have booming economies and great industrial strength.
The educational systems and policies in many countries are not conducive to development. There is a great demand for education as it is rightly seen as the way to a better future. However, education is often seen as following the European model with its emphasis on the liberal arts. No one would want to dispute the value of the liberal arts, but what is also needed is technically trained manpower to build and maintain the industrial base and the infrastructure that goes with it. The young men and women predominantly aspire to be lawyers, politicians and economists, and not medical doctors, scientists and technologists.
The educational situation in some countries is made worse by what is called preferential access. This means that in a country with several racial groups preference is given to members of the indigenous population rather than to those of immigrant groups that may have been in the country for hundreds of years. The result is that many highly qualified young men and women, seeing no future in their own country, are forced to emigrate to countries that offer more chance of employment, thus depriving their country of the skills that it so desperately needs. In one such country, the only professions in which applicants are judged by objective criteria are surgeons and airplane pilots. Not even the most fervid politician wants to be operated on by someone who does not know what he is doing or to fly in a plane with an unqualified pilot. Inevitably, the policy of preferential access leads to a gradual lowering of the standards of universities and other professional occupations.
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