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COLLABORATION IN EDUCATION – how to think about it as a solution

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 21 November 2022, 11:55 SAST
Janice Scheckter photo

According to the World Bank, over the past decade, aid funding for education has declined to less than 10 percent of global official development assistance, leaving much of the financing to national governments strained by conflicting priorities.

Of course, we need to acknowledge that education in Africa is in dire need of that rerouted aid. But, to use a stupidly logical term, ‘it is what it is' and yes, we should all lobby for increased funding.

Having said that, education stakeholders are learning each day, which interventions work and which don’t. Having developed over seven years ago, we have come across programs delivering incredible work. The work is incredible because they keep learning and iteratively improving their programs.

In October 2022 African governments meet at the ADEA Triennale in Mauritius to discuss solutions as a new report shows that, while all children are born to learn, those in Africa are five times less likely to learn the basics than children elsewhere.

The report finds that, in addition to socioeconomic challenges, the limited availability of good quality textbooks, lack of proper teacher support, inadequate teacher training and provision of teacher guides, limited progress in the introduction of home languages in teaching, and insufficient school feeding program, are key factors that have resulted in poor learning outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa.

The African education problem is a crisis that will have far-reaching and generational results but while there is critical problem identification, so many organizations are working on developing solutions but not collaborating on where the solutions can be effectively shared and scaled.

This omission will result in a mass duplication of effort and pursuit of answers where answers may in fact exist. It is so important that true collaboration finds a place to thrive so that we start to better understand how to stop drop-out, engage the community in education, support educators, and more.

What appears to be essential to fast-track solutions is the following.

  1. Bring funders and programs together as there is a massive need for all, but share ideas so that wasted effort is eradicated and we can take lessons learned and actually progress the solution as a result of the learning.
  2. Open source the solutions so that smart solution providers can build on what has already been learned.
  3. Funders should be interrogating what they fund as it may already have been tried and either succeeded or not, and this will guide something new to fund - i.e. the next iteration.

Janice Scheckter is the CEO of and Indigo Africa where we are working on leveraging platform tech to scale solutions in education, economic development and health.

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