RETHINKING EDUCATION IN AFRICA
By Paul Ndiho
Education has the power to transform people worldwide. But some argue the effectiveness of current African educational systems are outdated, and governments need to rethink how to make programs more competitive.
A UNICEF report titled “Education Under Threat in West and Central Africa”, warns that deliberate targeting of schools, students and teachers is sweeping across the region. More than 1.9 million children have been forced out of school due to an upsurge in attacks and threats of violence against education facilities.
“There are so many children and young people who give up on education because of violence. I can tell you all those children are so inspiring and so courageous, and they deserve to go to school because they know education is the lifeline which can help them and protect them of so many problems such as abuse and sexual exploitation.”
Education remains a fundamental tool to alleviate poverty in most African communities. Educational systems worldwide are undergoing massive transformation and development. For example, In Ghana, Tech-Aide has developed a different solution to deliver informative content to rural schools using new technology. Tech-Aide has developed E-solutions to tackle some of the country’s challenges by building a network over 70 education labs in rural areas. Kafui Prebbie is one of the founders of Tech-Aide.
“We have developed products specifically for education. And ‘we’ve been in the space for close to ten years delivering technology solutions in education and supporting rural development. And two of our core products that ‘we’ve developed over the period is EduLab, which is an education computing solution for schools and the latest one which is Asanka, which is our content delivery system.”
Kenya’s “Discovery Center,” a social enterprise, is also trying to change how kids learn in schools. They’ve developed creative ways to make science, math, and technology exciting and interactive. Daniel Gichuki Muhoro is the Chief Executive Officer.
“We make science and technology fun for children of all ages. Our mission is to star innovation, and we believe ‘children’s innovation and inquisitive nature need to be natural.”
A World Bank Study says education in Africa is under-developed and has been a low priority for decades — despite a tremendous increase in student enrollment at all levels. Dr. Lawrence Muganga, the author of “You ‘Can’t Make “Fish Climb Trees,” is proposing to overhaul the current educational system, across the board and perhaps adopt the authentic learning education model.
In Cameroon, Sophie Ngassa has created a curriculum based on Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math. She says targeting students as young as eight years old with digital skills prepares them for relevant career opportunities in the future.
“You have students with a lot of theory and little practical, and this limits them a lot, so they go to school and finally graduate, and they can’t practice, and they are not able to be competitive in the job market, which keeps them behind especially in the world platform,”
Students learn how to develop websites, programs, apps, games, and how to code — all for only two dollars a month. And they appear genuinely excited to learn about science and technology.
I’m interested in the computer world. My dream is to become a web developer, and I think STEM is going to get me to where I want to go to.” “What we are doing here is very important most jobs now need computer literacy, so what I’m doing here, I need it.”
Ghanaian teacher Sackey Percy, who wants to make school more appealing to students, has created an unconventional method.
“I found that the interaction between the kids and the teachers, which is the teacher-pupil relationship was very low. I decided to come out with a dance which builds this great companionship between the teachers and the kids. It also builds up their self-confidence in class as well.”
Perhaps Africa needs more people like Percy, who are thinking outside of the box, changing their communities and inspiring a whole new generation of young students.