What’s the challenge?
Education systems in Africa face many challenges. First amongst them is low enrolment rates. For many families, education-related expenses are too costly, or the need for labour is prioritized over school. Second, even for enrolled children, gaps in school, teacher, and pedagogical quality mean that many children struggle to master the future-oriented skills that they will need to pursue productive lives. Third, even where access to quality education is available, it is often unaffordable. Fourth, despite massive gains in educational outcomes over the past couple of decades, pandemic-related disruptions to schooling have set a generation of African learners back. The World Bank looked at the participation rate of the share of households with children engaged in learning across Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda, before and after COVID. They compared it with the enrolment rate to measure the reduction in learning that could be attributed to pandemic-driven school closures. They found a substantial negative impact from the pandemic, with the differences ranging from 30 to 80 percentage points. With the world’s fastest-growing young population, empowering the next generation of Africans with a high-quality and affordable education is perhaps the most critical and urgent task on the continent today.
What we’re doing about it.
We are working towards our mission in two ways. First, at Pharo Schools, we are building and operating an international network of locally relevant and globally competitive schools, covering early childhood education (ECE), primary, and secondary school. The majority of Pharo Schools are private, but we also have partnerships to run programs in public schools. Our goal is to develop students and young adults who will be lifelong learners and locally rooted global citizens. In their pursuit of academic excellence, we encourage them to be curious, respectful, creative and responsible and prepare them to solve 21st century problems. Second, outside Pharo Schools, we are committed to increasing the quality and relevance of education in public schools. For instance, we co-created the Somaliland national curriculum for ECEs with the government of Somaliland. Similarly, our education acceleration programme for public schools in BGRS is introducing structured pedagogy and computer-assisted learning to these schools.