For three days, Sterling One Foundation and other key stakeholders in the African educational system converged on Mauritius to deliberate on issues affecting learning in Africa with a view to charting a way forward for education in the continent. It was at a roundtable of the 2022 Triennale of Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
The three-day event provided the opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the effects or impact of COVID-19 on education in Africa, among other challenges. The 2022 Triennale primarily offered Ministers of Education, policymakers, education project leaders and impact investors in the African education system the opportunity to highlight the next steps for youth in Africa to get the right education they need.
Setting the tone of the discourse, the Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), Albert Nsengiyumva, highlighted the importance of the various sessions at the summit geared towards proffering solutions to the challenges facing Africa’s youth and their education. In her presentation, which dwelt on “Impact of COVID-19 in African Educational Systems,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Sterling One Foundation, Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, recalled that the pandemic had changed a lot of things.
On what Sterling One Foundation, a private sector-led non-profit organisation has done, she stated that while education stakeholders wait for things to get back to normal, they must embrace new approaches in building a more resilient education system.
Mrs. Ibekwe said: “There is more that we can do, but we have laid the foundation for a new era of learning by launching technology tools such as our platform – Unify, which is giving institutions the tools to quickly transition to e-learning, while committing to interventions in underserved areas of Nigeria where access to quality education has further diminished by equipping more teachers, funding more students to stay in school (retention), and providing on-thego learning that comes to the people in cases where they can’t go to school.”
The session featured other stakeholders, including the Islamic Development Bank, Knowledge, and Innovation Exchange (KIX), IDRC, and the University of Auckland, whose presentations focused on COVID-19 and some of the beneficial innovations it has brought to the education system. Other sessions focused on conversations around school leadership, technical and vocational skills development, and foundational learning.
Speaking on ways to improve foundational learning, Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, however, stressed the need for urgent action on numeracy and literacy inefficiencies with a focus on improving teacher capacity. She underscored the correlation between both areas, saying: “When we begin to implement some of the interventions discussed, such as giving teachers the necessary training, and helping them with the design of their lesson plans, you can actually know whether the children are learning.”
This position was further echoed by other speakers, including the Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology of the host country, Mauritius, Mrs. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the keynote speaker and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Uganda, Dr. Monica Musenero; and the Minister of Education of Côté d’Ivoire, Prof. Mariatou Kone