December 10, 2011

Still a Need for HBCU’s in the 21st Century

Still a Need for HBCU’s in the 21st Century Part 1

“If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed
by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he
will never become strong enough to get out of
the ghetto.” Carter G. Woodson

Having graduated from an HBCU (South Carolina State
University) and now working at Edward Waters College,
the oldest HBCU in Florida, I learned from past and
current experience there still is a need for these
culturally diverse educational institutions.

HBCU’s are under attack it seems by the federal
government, state governments and none Black
institutions that see Black students only as
financial aid receipts not as potential scholars
and graduates.

The need for Historically Black Colleges and
Universities can be heard in media circles like
the Tom Joyner Morning Show,,, and that consistently
promote the benefits and societal contributions
of HBCU’s. The need for HBCU’s is evident in
the understanding that students that lack
exposure to advanced technology and technical
instruction still need traditional methods of
hands on learning and instructor led
discussion and dialogue; this is still available
at HBCU’s.

Higher education institutions embracing technology
lead the way for digital learning environments
(DLE) and online platforms that demand technical
skills. The unfortunate reality is not every
student graduating from high school has sufficient
technology knowledge to be successful in a high
tech classroom of the21st century. The cost of
technology implementation and supporting infra-
structure along with obtaining and keeping teachers
that use and can teach with technology are not
always available.

Those that have technical skills move to high
paid jobs or seek benefits from non Black insti-
tutions that may pay more, but do not support
students lacking technology skills.

Many high schools do not have the resources
to provide advanced technology instruction
especially in many urban environments. The
access to hardware and a sufficient ratio of
computers to students, again students in
particularly urban schools may have sporadic
use of computers for academic and research work.

Minority students more than their white counter
parts embrace mobile technology that is acquired
through cell and smart phones. This type of
access is not the same as with standard desktop
or laptop use and guided by an instructional
model that is created for urban students to
be successful. Mobile technology is the way most
youth communicate so instruction should be molded
to meet this need.

When transitioning from high school to higher
education HBCU’s serve a purpose in providing a
needed traditional approach to providing
educational services that many students still
need. Even non Black students from urban areas
benefit from attendance. Data shows that non
Black students are accepted at HBCU’s from urban
high schools have. They have lower opportunities
for entrance in traditional white universities
so enroll and graduate from HBCU’s where they
are embraced as “family”. This is seen as a
revere cultural discrimination as more white
students seek entrance into HBCU’s.

Critics of HBCU’s (mostly non Black) educational
institutions claim HBCU’s have “no legitimate
purpose” ( 2011), dispelling these
potentially racial statements, data shows 25%
and higher of Bachelor’s degrees of Blacks
come from HBCU’s and a large number of
advanced degrees are earned.

Instructors at HBCU’s encourage students to
seek advanced degrees because they understand
the challenges Blacks face even with earning
a Bachelor’s degree. HBCU’s although have
lower entrance standards this can be
justified because young adults and adults
are given opportunities to earn their degrees
and provided support in a nurturing
and culturally/ethnically familiar environment.

My experience as an instructor at EWC an HBCU
in Jacksonville, Florida is that students
are unique because of their age and maturity.
Many already have families, jobs and other
responsibilities; yes there are the “traditional”
freshmen, first generation students, challenged
students, those looking for a “second chance”
in society.

Many HBCU’s were founded after slavery and
based on doctrines of religious expression
and spiritual empowerment. Education for Blacks
began in the Bible, reading, literacy and
comprehension was started even before federal
and state mandates for instruction in public

Second chances were understood by Blacks when
slavery was abolished and learning opportunities
where welcomed even those that were elderly wanted
the oppourtunity to learn.

In biblical scriptures from Jesus to Mohammed
second chances are granted, how can educational
institutions deny those that make mistakes
in their youth continue to plague them into adulthood.
HBCU’s see the potential to grow, the ability of
students to mature and the possibility to be
productive in society if only people are given
a second chance.

A quote that has Islamic origins, “Whoever will
not endure the affliction of being taught, will
stay forever in the debasement of ignorance.”

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