Education is a global problem but in Africa it is more acute.
The stats speak that Africa’s nearly 128 million school-aged children, 17 million will never attend school. Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that another 37 million African children will learn so little while in they are in school that they will not be much better off than those kids who never attend school. As a consequence, the prognosis for Africa’s future economic growth and social development is poor.
These numbers come from the new Africa Learning Barometer created by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings. However, mobile communication has grown exponentially. According to a study, Africa is today the fastest growing and second largest mobile phone market in the world. This technology in the hands of Africans opens a lot of opportunities for them. And the best part is that it’s happening and it’s having a positive effect on learning goals for the continent. Edtech has been of great use to Africa and positive changes have been observed. This can be seen prominently as Africa is becoming one of the biggest and most important developing educational markets.
The Steps Taken:
Africa is being able to use the mobile technology for the educational needs. An increasing number of initiatives – some large-scale, some small – are using mobile technologies to distribute educational materials, support reading, and enable peer-to-peer learning and remote tutoring through social networking services. Mobiles are streamlining education administration and improving communication between schools, teachers and parents. The list goes on. Mobile learning, either alone or in combination with existing education approaches, is supporting or extending education in ways not possible before.
Understanding the edtech growth in Africa, one big green sign is The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) that has launched the first EdTech Open Innovation Cluster and incubator in Africa. The aim of the cluster is to collect as many of the best edtech startups and companies in one location to work on education problems.
The Investments& Other EdTech Companies Changing The Education Scenario:
Funds are being invested in the edtech sector in Africa to make education accessible to all. Prominent Edtech ventures that raised funding in Africa are SparkSchools and UNICEF.
Spark Schools an independent school network in South Africa raised USD9,000,000 and the investors include the Omidyar Network. UNICAF partners with UK, US, European and African universities to offer online, quality higher education degrees to students in Africa and the world. Current partners include the University of South Wales (UK), the Marymount California University (USA), the University of Nicosia (Europe) and Unicaf University (Africa). The amount raised was USD12,000,000 and the investors include University Ventures, CDC Group, and Savannah Fund .
To dig deep some of the edtech companies that are changing the education scenario in Africa are:
Obamiis a social learning platform that aims to create a bridge between educators and learners. It prides itself on being the first organization to digitize three years’ worth of past papers for South Africa’s Annual National Assessments and National Senior Certificate. Adaptive learning is the name of the game for Daptio. By tracking learners’ performance, the company’s software is able to curate content according to the students’ specific needs. It offers SaaS to publishers and other content creators.
Siyavula has been around since 2002. It is an online service that offers curriculum-aligned openly-licensed textbooks. This Nigerian startup, Tutor.ng describes itself as an online tutoring platform that provides the right tools for engaging and teaching learners.
Another post states the various projects that are being done in Africa to make the education scenario better for the continent. Below is an excerpt from the same:
“Pass.ngsetup a portal to help Nigerian students prepare for examinations to institutions of higher learning. Andela and CCHub are trying to change the investment story in Nigeria by collecting data and presenting the data to investors and the important stakeholders. CCHub particularly starts people on tests and tests them when they are done with the programs to track progress. There are also projects that help for parents and investors to see how well their programs work. SmartED is pushing for advocacy and proper branding so that the governments can jump in on the future of African education. Seeing as the government is inadequate in its ability to innovate and execute, there is a desperate need to interface with the government and its agencies.”
In a recent interview with IT News Africa Jamie Martin spoke of the need to change the mindsets of parents, teachers and students as well as the challenges facing edtech in Africa and the governments’ role in combating these challenges. Martin also spoke of the opportunities created by blended learning and cloud technologies in revolutionizing the education system on the African continent. Check out the complete post here.
Education in Africa was in a dark state until technology was integrated. Because of the adoption of innovative education technology the future seems promising bringing a ray of light for the youth.