CAFOR is working with its partners to improve education in 10 selected African countries for the most vulnerable children scattered across the five regions of the continent by creating a safe environment for up to 2,000,000 children and improving the teaching skills of 2,000 teachers. The project will have a strong communication dimension from the bottom-up, with progressive community leaders, local partners, and others. Each school formulates and enforces a code of conduct, and the children participate in decision-making via a child-led council.
CAFOR will liaise closely with the Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the African Union Commission and the selected member governments of the African Union to provide suitable learning materials, train teachers in innovative teaching and learning methods that would enable children to learn to read better and increasing parental and community involvement in the education of their children. The project will also give teachers and trainers refresher training to monitor learning outcomes. Significantly more children will be able to read fluently, the project will better monitor pupils’ and teachers’ presence, and the number of violent students will decrease.
Since the 1960s, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced rapid population growth, conflicts, and economic stagnation that have impacted educational services. These economical, security and demographic trends erode the quality of education. The goals of schooling encompass, however, more than just academic achievement. Quality also pertains to how well the school or school system prepares students to become responsible citizens who are also well designed for the labour market. It instils attitudes and values relevant to modern-day African society. Quality also encompasses how well the education system accommodates modern, market-oriented skills to traditional, home-based values and needs. Enhancing quality in human capital also means equity, which requires improving and sustaining progress on gender parity at all levels of education, emphasizing secondary and tertiary education.
Governments and institutions must enhance the capacity of the teacher training system in Africa to provide a large number of qualified teachers necessary for the significantly increased enrolment and improve the quality of education. As teachers’ effectiveness directly reflects the quality of training they receive in tertiary institutions, sufficient priority must be given to ensure the quality of teacher education and produce qualified, competent, and motivated teachers.
Another vital input into quality education is good quality textbooks and other teaching/learning materials. There is strong evidence that increasing instructional materials, mainly books, is among the most effective ways to raise primary education quality.
CAFOR will work with all its members and partners at the regional, country, and sub-national levels to make a strong case for quality education at the continental level. CAFOR will ensure adequate communication with governments of the member states of the African Union, Civil Society Organizations, NGOs, and the private sector in Africa to ensure that there is an adequate understanding of all the issues about quality education for the continent, using the policy frameworks related to the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CAFOR will call for practical action to ensure lasting solutions to these problems.
Through its information and communication strategies and working mainly with the international and African media, CAFOR will work with many of its partners (through workshops, seminars, organized debates and symposiums and special media events) to advocate for quality education.
The safest investment in educational quality in most countries is to secure adequate books and supplies. These effectively raise test scores and, almost invariably, have suffered from underinvestment in teachers’ investments. Other areas that appear to have potential include:
- school feeding and health and nutrition programmes,
- the intensive use of radio (“interactive radio”),
- teachers’ in-service education in subject matter skills, and
- strengthened inspection and supervision systems.
Besides, beneficial strategies that would improve quality in educational provision include regular professional development through brief pieces of training, with follow-up and refresher meetings, changing mindsets from traditional teaching to more active, student-focused approaches, accurate distribution of classroom materials to schools based on school enrolment data and planning and a sophisticated distribution network.
CAFOR’s view is that educational outcomes will continually improve if teachers are effective. Effective school organization, community involvement, district support and monitoring should support the teaching and learning environments.
CAFOR will implement this project for four years at USD 5.2 million.
As CAFOR endeavors to do considerable advocacy work with all its media partners to ensure that governments and African institutions pay more attention to quality education, we urge all partners and stakeholders to invest more and better in education.
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