Digital education to change the future of Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of primary school-aged children do not attend school. Today, on Africa Day, we want to tell you about some of the outstanding initiatives that are being developed in this continent to contribute to improving children’s education through new technologies. Digital libraries, mobile applications, solar-powered devices loaded with knowledge... This is how the transformation of education in Africa is taking shape.

Digital education to change the future of Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, 61 million children between the ages of 6 and 11 don’t go to school. The reasons are numerous: poverty, armed conflict, forced displacement… According to data from UNESCO, more than one-fifth of children aged 6 to 11 do not attend school. Often, those who are able to attend do so in very precarious conditions (lack of educational materials, electricity, access to technology…) which has a huge effect on their future opportunities.

The ProFuturo digital education programme is present in 18 countries in Africa (Angola, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe) where we implement our programme in collaboration with local partners and global allies.

Since 2016, ProFuturo has trained 31,538 teachers in Africa and contributed to improving the education of 984,546 children on the continent. In 2020, we intensified our support for education on the continent and trained more than 22,000 teachers, helping to improve the education of 792,593 children. This is 302% more than in 2019. To achieve this, we develop creative solutions to take education out of the classroom and narrow the digital gap.

ProFuturo shares its goals with many other organisations working on the ground to reverse the current situation and provide African children with better opportunities for the future through digital education. Today, on Africa Day, we would like to share some of the most interesting initiatives that have been implemented in Africa in recent years.

Bridge International Academies: high-performance education for vulnerable children.

Bridge International Academies is a chain of high-performing nursery and primary schools working to make the dreams of all children living below the international poverty line come true. On the African continent, they work in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria.

CyberSmart Africa: my school in a box that is powered by the sun.

To meet the major challenge of providing access to quality education in places which have low electricity coverage, CyberSmart Africa has designed a learning platform based on a mobile device that contains all the necessary learning materials (maps, photos, videos, texts, etc.) and which is powered by solar energy.

Fundza Mobi: the library in a mobile phone.

Fundza Mobi is an open reading platform, available through any internet-connected device, which provides access to reading resources for teenagers and adults. It also offers courses to improve vocabulary and reading comprehension and gives them the possibility to publish content.

IMlango: involving the whole community in the education of young people.

IMlango is a digital education programme developed for African schools (mostly located in rural or semi-urban environments) which aims to impact not only students and schools, but their entire community, creating positive synergies between these three elements and enhancing and developing an environment that is conducive to learning and which motivates children to come to school.

Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre: Female scientists in Nigeria.

This initiative seeks to contribute to building a society in which girls and women in Nigeria can create and use technology effectively for learning and entrepreneurship. It encourages girls and women to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers by introducing them to female role models, training and mentoring.

OLE Ghana Reads: book clubs to motivate.

One of the many educational challenges in Africa is the lack of quality reading and up-to-date educational materials which are aligned with each country’s curriculum. To meet this challenge, the Ghana Reads programme has been implemented which aims to encourage an interactive teaching process in schools by providing quality educational resources that build literacy skills for primary school students from low-income families. They use experienced coaches to train teachers in more interactive and motivating teaching methods for the youngsters and set up reading clubs to encourage them.

Eneza Education: My tutor is a robot!

Eneza Education is a virtual tutor that provides primary and secondary school students with access to content and material aligned to the school curriculum (via the Web and SMS). It currently operates in Ghana, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire and has made an impact on more than 10 million students (with its goal to reach 50 million).

Graphogame: teaching literacy with cutting-edge methods.

An initiative that, through research, teacher training and a technological tool based on a game, helps millions of children to learn and write. It has been used in Kenya (Kiswahili and Kikuyu), Namibia (Afrikaans), Tanzania (Kiswahili) and Zambia (Nyanja and Tonga).

KitKit School: learn through play in any context.

The initiative, winner of the Global Learning XPRIZE 2019, is an application that includes a series of mini-games, books, videos, songs and short quizzes that help children to practise reading and maths. The kit is designed to work even in low-resource and hard-to-reach communities and can be adapted to the particular needs of each user and community (e.g., children in refugee camps, children with hearing impairments, etc.). In Africa, it has been used in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

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