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Young Africans face poor job prospects as education deteriorates: report

Africa/ 15.10.2019/ Source:


The quality of education and training provided by African countries has deteriorated since 2014, leaving many of the continent’s growing population of young people ill-prepared to enter the job market, an influential report said on Tuesday.

The African Governance Report 2019, which uses data from the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), the most comprehensive survey of its kind on the continent, found that enrolment and access to education was particularly low in the tertiary sector.

“This has resulted in the burgeoning youth population being faced with increasing struggles when entering the job market,” researchers at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation wrote ahead of a full report due to be published next year. Under 15s now made up the majority age group in Africa, the authors added.

The index rates 54 African nations on criteria such as security, human rights, economic stability, just laws, free elections, corruption, infrastructure, poverty, health and education.

Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese telecoms tycoon who launched the foundation, said it was down to Africans to confront the issue.

“When it comes to education, really we have a problem,” Ibrahim told Reuters. “When you look at the demographics, and you look at the economic growth, you see that we’re actually falling behind.”

Demographic developments are a hot topic in Africa, which, according to United Nations data, is expected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth between 2015 and 2050. The continent’s population is projected to double by 2050, and could double again by 2100, the U.N. has said.

“If you manage to take care of your young people, that is a wealth. If you fail to do that, it is a burden, a threat,” Ibrahim added.

The report said that while African governments had made some progress in improving infrastructure since 2014, on average they were lagging well behind their ambitions.

“African governments have on average not managed to translate GDP growth into economic opportunities for citizens,” it said. “Progress since 2014 runs behind the rapidly growing working age population.”

The report noted more progress in health and nutrition, saying countries were making strong strides in combating communicable diseases and child and maternal mortality rates.

However, providing affordable quality healthcare for all was still far off and the rising spread of undernourishment was a major area of concern, it added.

Researchers also criticized the lack of key data across the continent, which impedes the ability of policymakers to monitor progress, saying vital population statistics had deteriorated significantly in recent years.

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Using Tech to Improve Education in Indonesia

Asia/ Indonesia/ 08.09.2019/ Source:


Indonesia’s students are one of the highest groups of technology users according to Cambridge International’s Global Education census. These students are using more technology in the classrooms than in many countries including those that are more developed countries. As a result, they have the highest usage of IT and computer rooms globally at 40 percent. To leverage this growing trend, Australia’s Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) program has launched multiple technological programs to boost the quality of education across the country.

While Indonesia does have the largest number of technology users, the quality of education is still lacking compared to other countries around the world. Education reform programs run into issues when children are located in remote areas with limited access to newer technologies and when a different language is spoken at home than the one used in the national curriculum. The country also has a massive number of students compared to the number of teachers available, with 50 million students and 3 million teachers located in Indonesia. Education technology would take some strain off of educators and allow more students to be reached using computer programs.

Australia has partnered with Indonesia for several programs to improve education in Indonesia. Along with the INOVASI program, Australia has also funded the Technical Assistance for Education System Strengthening (TASS) program, which helps to increase educator’s knowledge of learning techniques and teaching methods to improve reading comprehension for students. Another platform that is currently pushing for more usage of education technology is Bizcom Indonesia. This article will discuss all three programs to explain the progress that the initiatives have made in Indonesian classrooms.


INOVASI works with both Indonesian students and teachers to build the quality of education found throughout the country. The initiative received $49 million from the Australian government and the program will run from 2016 through 2019. The program is currently being implemented in 17 districts across four provinces of Indonesia: West Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara and East Java. INOVASI helps to increase the level of education for teachers to create a common standard for education materials around the country. One of the target goals involves developing a problem-driven iterative adaptation, or PDIA, mindset for the teachers. This method helps teachers make learning a more personal experience and reach kids using different methods. The program also incorporates the usage of ebooks so that more children can have access to textbooks in rural areas.

TASS Program

Technical Assistance for Education System Strengthening is a $12 million program being implemented from 2015 to 2020. TASS helps provide aid to the government of Indonesia to focus on improving the educational systems around the country. The program supports legislation that helps to address the lack of quality education in rural areas and the lack of qualified teachers in the country. TASS also works with the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of National Development Planning to increase the rigor and success of education in Indonesia.

Bizcom Indonesia

Bizcom Indonesia, an initiative for businessmen and businesswomen to increase technological innovation, hosted a conference to discuss the progress of education technology in early 2019. The conference focused on the success of EdTech in recent years for the school system, with the main presentation highlighting how the increase in technology is helping to reach more students than before. The main presentation also discussed how some schools were beginning to adopt a “bring your own device” rule, allowing more students to have access to technology in the classroom. Indonesia has one of the fastest-growing markets for EdTech, and the spread of technology will continue to make education more accessible to the masses.

All three of these initiatives help to improve education in Indonesia. With a highly adaptable market for electronics, the country has an easy pathway for including more education technology in schools. As technology usage increases throughout classrooms, the level of education will increase and allow Indonesian job markets to flourish.

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Technological innovations have improved quality of education

By: Louis Fourie.


History has proven that education is one of the most powerful tools to drive positive social, economical and technological change, and, therefore, create a more prosperous future for a country.

In South Africa many approaches to enhance the educational experience and quality have been tried in the past, but none of them were dramatically successful in improving the results of students, giving them greater access to post-school studies or enhance their employability.

There is a constant drive for educational policy change at national level, yet the attempts generally seem to be perennially futile. We have tried the appointment of more teachers, pedagogical methodologies that did not work elsewhere, and instructional designs that are outdated in the Fourth Industrial Era.

Perhaps the answer (partly) lies in technology. In our endeavours to increase the access and quality of education in South Africa, the Internet of Educational Things (IoET) may provide the much needed support. Historically, technological innovations and enhancements have improved the quality of and access to education all over the world.

In particular the Internet has had a profound impact on teaching and learning. Due to the many free online resources such as Massive Open Online Courses from leading institutions such as Harvard and MIT it is possible to take a class at home.

High school learners can access the rich sources of the Khan Academy and digital encyclopedias. Almost any skill or theory can be learned via YouTube and TED.

It is possible to find an online tutor for a child in any subject for a reasonable amount and children can even (illicitly) outsource their mathematics homework and other assignments to an unknown person on the Web.

But the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has not left education untouched. The Internet of Things (IoT), one of the building blocks of the 4IR, is an important innovation to create smart learning environments in schools and universities.

The IoT can improve the education system and can also add value to the face-to-face teaching environment and to structured learning.

The IoT makes it possible for schools to implement an unparalleled number of systems and methods that could enhance the abilities of students. It also revolutionises classroom dynamics, from primary school to university education.

The IoT, with its inherent connection of numerous devices and people to the Internet, will significantly transform our learning processes, as is evident from recent research that confirmed the educational potential at lower grade levels of the IoET devices.

Dr Jim Ang and his team from Kent University in the UK investigated how IoET technology could be effectively designed and used to support education in primary schools in rural Northern Thailand.

They developed a bespoke IoET platform called “Observation Learning System” (Obsy) that made the learning process more “real, local and fun”.

The toy-like Obsy device was based on the inexpensive Raspberry Pi mini computer and had several ports to which the learners could connect environmental sensors to measure ambient light and temperature. The recorded data was then transferred wirelessly to the tablets of the children. The Obsy was specifically designed to look like a toy to rouse the curiosity of the children and to minimise any possible technology anxiety or distrust.

At the back-end the system consisted of an IoET platform, which processed the context of learning activities, how the experiments have been carried out, as well as the results, allowing for improvements.

The children had to undertake three science-based learning activities with the aim of improving their understanding of certain science processes while simultaneously learning to work in teams.

They had to study the growth of mould in different conditions; learn about the factors that influence the growth of mushrooms; and determine how much light can pass through different objects by taking photos or videos, monitoring temperature changes, and measuring the amount of light with the Obsy device.

All the information that was wirelessly transmitted to their tablets, visualised in the form of graphs to assist the learners in making comparisons of the results and also in understanding how different conditions can lead to different results.

The device not only encouraged observation, but also invited students to share their results with the rest of their classmates.

From the research in Thailand, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the children using the IoET device had a significant higher learning engagement and obtained better scores than a control class that undertook the same experiments without the use of the Obsy device.

The current growth in the IoT has the potential to cause a move towards a new class of ubiquitous learning applications that rely on inexpensive sensors, edge devices, IoT middleware, and web-based protocols like HTTP to enable innovative ubiquitous and personalised learning designs in language and social sciences learning, science and technology learning, and domain independent learning.

Through the confluence of physical objects with the digital world, IoT allows the development of new hybrid systems. One solution is the powerful combination between Virtual Reality (VR) and IoT that was researched by Mohamed Fahim and others in Morocco.

IoT makes physical objects part of the virtual and digital environment, while VR makes digital environments seem realistic. Due to the increase in learners and shortage of physical resources in Morocco, the researchers resorted to VR and the IoT to create a credible virtual learning space where the learners could perform practical activities like in the real world – in this case the measurement of ultrasonic velocity in the air.

Thirty students were randomly divided into an experimental and a control group. A post-test revealed that the experimental group using the learning system based on IoT and VR were significantly better than the control group who only had a theoretical course.

Fourteen learners in the experimental group averaged 93.3percent, while the control group averaged between 46.7 and 53.3percent in the test.

The study indeed indicated that IoT and VR could widen the possibility for innovations in the teaching and learning, especially by creating a virtual environment where the learner is an active participant that can “learn by doing”, through the interaction with the 3D virtual objects.

An educational environment based on VR and IoT can further solve the problem of the equipment/product insufficiency often experienced by institutions. Such an environment can provide learners with a rich, interactive learning experience where they can perform tasks safely; participate in learning situations that require repetition; and participate in learning situations that are too expensive to implement in the real world.

It is evident that IoET technology in the classroom can bring major educational benefits. It can significantly improve learning outcomes and participation and allows learners to grasp more complex concepts.

Given the high percentage of children and students with smart phones in South Africa, the smart phones with their various sensors could easily be integrated into the learning activities of schools.

Learners live in a world where digital devices constitute a vital part of their daily lives.

It is time that the educational system harnesses this proficiency of students in the use of modern tools in order to stimulate their appetite for learning and their understanding of complex concepts.

Educational institutions can benefit greatly by using IoT in their regular educational activities. Perhaps the biggest problem is not the readiness of the students, but the readiness of the teachers.

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Nigeria’s state schools need 6,000 teachers amid Boko Haram insurgency

Africa/ Nigeria/ 10.06.2018/ Source:


About 6,000 additional teachers are required to improve the quality of education in northeast Nigeria’s state of Borno, an official said Sunday.

«The government is building a state of the art schools with a decent environment, but our teachers lack motivation,» Jibril Muhammed, chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) said in Maiduguri, the state capital.

«It is my firm belief that with the necessary motivations for our teachers, the problems in our education sector will be solved.»

He spoke against the backdrop of 40 mega schools constructed by the government to cater for the education of 53,000 children orphaned by Boko Haram insurgency in the state.

Borno state in northeast Nigeria has been devastated by the insurgency.

Muhammed said at least 5,000 teachers are required for primary schools while additional 1,000 be deployed to secondary schools to boost teaching and learning.

He commended the government for prioritizing education in the state but said it should also accord priority to teachers welfare.

The teachers union chief said that teachers were among the worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, with about 530 killed and 32,000 displaced.

Teachers are some of the lowest paid public sector employees in the oil-rich West African country.

About 27,000 people have been killed in Borno and two neighboring states since 2009, in one of the world’s most violent conflicts that have destroyed homes and infrastructure.


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Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest: Pakistan’s education system based on injustice: Shafqat

Asia/ Pakistan/ 15.01.2019/ Source:

The government is trying to mobilise graduates across the country to improve literacy ratio from 58 per cent to 70 per cent and working to create national curriculum to remove the disparity in education system as the present education system is based on injustice.

Shafqat Mahmood Federal Minister for Education and National Heritage said this while opening the third edition of Information Technology University (ITU) Centre for Governance and Policy’s Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest two-day conference here on Saturday.

The minister said, “Education provides frame of reference and perception while we practice different streams of educational institutes, including madrasas, government and private schools, which create different minds and classes, which never helped in the making of a nation.” Our society has decided that only English medium would go forward,” he added.

He stated that improving quality of education had been taken as a challenge by the government through broadening the pool and resolving serious economic issues. In his welcome message, read by ITU Registrar Zaheer Sarwar, ITU acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar underlined the objectives of the conference initiated in 2016 and said that it provided creation of newer spaces and opportunities for flourishing new thoughts and ideas to bridge the gap between the academia and society, providing academic discourse in an accessible yet robust manner and to engage with leading scholars from around the world.

Discussing the topic of “Future of Democracy in Pakistan,” Aqil Shah from Oklahoma University, USA, said that democracy ensured freedom of expression. Hussain Nadim from Sydney discussed the Economists Democracy Index, which revealed that only 19 countries were considered democratic, 57 with flawed democracy, including US, 39 hybrid regimes and 52 authoritarian regimes.

Deliberating on the “Types of Populism Nationalism, Demography and Authoritarianism,” Dr Christophe Jaffrelot from Paris said that parliaments had lost their powers and the role of media was the only space for free media.

Najam Sethi, chairman of the organising committee of the conference, highlighted the areas of interest, including history, olitics and international relations and said that Lahore was fertile with ideas.

Dr Yaqoob Khan Bangash appreciated the idea of organising such literature festivals. On Sunday, the second day of the ThinkFest, will have Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary and Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Bakht.

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Quality of Education in Africa (Video)

By: Book in Africa/09-01-2019

Africa is the most youthful continent in the world with more than 200 million youth aged 15 to 24, and creating productive employment options for all these young people is essential for the future of the continent.

A well-educated and skilled workforce is essential to many investors and employers, and we’ve seen that several employers across the African continent have been highly critical of the fact that there’s an absolute lack of basic and technical education and the skills of graduates.

Just like in the rest of the world, a robust education system is key for economic development and growth in nations across the continent.

The basic quality of primary, secondary, technical, vocational, higher, and post-graduate education is generally measured by workers’ performance on the labor market, and this means that the education system across Africa need to be strengthened to be able to absorb the millions of young people in Africa into the regional, national, or global workforce.

The working age population in Africa (15 to 64 year old’s) is continuing to grow rapidly, and by the year 2040, the African workforce is estimated to be over one billion.

The education system in Africa has come to a crossroad, and throughout history, we’ve never seen more students enrolled in schools across Africa. As such, that’s good news, but the education infrastructure, available study materials, and the number of well-trained and qualified teachers have in no way kept pace with the rapidly growing demand.

Increased student numbers have outpaced education funding by far, resulting in a drastic overuse of available facilities, extreme shortage of instructional supplies, and poorly equipped libraries across Africa.

But while we see many more students in the classrooms, but there’s a major and much deeper learning crisis going on: though they’re attending school, many students do not receive basic training at school, and many students are actually are not better off in school the children who are not going to school at all. This means that the quality of the education system in Africa is dangerously poor, and we can see more and more private institutions stepping in to fill these gaps.

In 2015, the average student-teacher ratio in Africa’s primary schools was 40:1, and this statistic hasn’t changed in almost twenty years. We all know that the quality of the education system in a country strongly predicts its economic growth capacity, and African nations have a better chance to benefit not only economically, but also in a broader sense, if their workforce is better educated and have well-rounded skills and knowledge so they are able to compete in today’s knowledge-driven global economy.

In Africa, we see that the increase in the number and quality of private schools, though as such not a negative development and a viable alternative, has come from terribly failing public education systems across the continent. Investing in public education is crucial for building a well-trained and highly skilled workforce and to grow Africa’s progress and prosperity.

Because they recognized the correlation between socio-economic development and the quality of their educational systems, several sub-Saharan countries have finally decided to gradually increase their public spending for educational purposes by over 6 percent annually, and in general we can see that African countries are devoting larger and substantial portions of their government budgets to their education sectors, despite often relatively modest GDP’s and many other developmental issues.

Often we see, though, that the increase in government spending on education is by far not enough to reach essential education levels and to provide decent education opportunities for their young people. Despite all these problems we also are convinced a change for the better will arise as the African countries, on average, are allocating the largest portion of their governments’ expenditure to their education systems (some 18.5 percent)

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India needs to re-engineer its education system, says vice president

Asia/ India/ 19.11.2018/ Source:

Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that there was a need to re-engineer the country’s entire education system, and that the same education could not suit each and every individual.

He said that the country’s current education system failed to recognize the innate potential that exists within each student, and also failed to nurture and develop these unique qualities and capabilities.

The youths should be allowed to think freely in order to ensure a balanced education, added Naidu.

«There is a need to re-engineer our entire education system. The ‘one size fits all’ approach followed by us so far will not take us anywhere,» said Naidu while speaking at the annual convocation of the University of Delhi.

«We cannot keep forcing the same syllabus on a student who excels in science stream and a student who is a savant in music,» he said.

He also said that only half of the school hours should be spent in classrooms, and the rest should be spent in the community, in the playground, in nature and in open air to ensure balanced education.

The vice president expressed his deep concern over the fact that the rise in the number of educational institutions in the country «had not led to corresponding improvement in the quality of education» granted in the country.

On the occasion, he urged the students to not let their degrees and mark lists limit themselves. Degrees were just foundations and it depended on students, on what built from there, what they choose to be and do in life, he added.

According to the vice president, India presently has more than 33,000 colleges and 659 universities. The world has realized that the economic success of any nation is directly determined by their education systems. Education is a nation’s power, he added.

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