13 Dec, 2022

New project announced to identify and connect Africa-based education researchers in improving foundational learning

Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA), and the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge, UK, are announcing a new project to identify and connect African education researchers who are working to improve the foundational learning of African primary school children. The grant funding for this work was received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This announcement comes at an opportune time when foundational learning is one of the top priorities for many African countries. According to the Spotlight on Basic Education Completion and Foundational Learning in Africa by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report, children living in the continent are five times less likely to reach the minimum level of proficiency in reading by the end of primary school, than children elsewhere.

To contribute to the improvement of the provision of high-quality foundational literacy and numeracy, this two-year project will focus on a mapping of education researchers, their institutions and the evidence they are producing in four countries: Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania.

‘‘Researchers in the region have expressed a desire for greater investment in, and visibility of their work. We are therefore delighted to deepen our support to African researchers working in the field of foundational learning,’’ said Dr Lucy Heady, ESSA’s Chief Executive Officer.

According to Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the REAL Centre, “African researchers and their research work must be at the forefront of informing improvements in foundational learning. ESSA and REAL Centre will continue to expand the online African Education Research Database. The database now contains over 5,000 peer-reviewed publications on education produced by African education researchers to increase the visibility of African research, including those specialising in foundational learning.”

‘‘Research by ESSA and its partners to unlock the potential of female leadership in African academia highlights the current lack of opportunities for many African female researchers and early career researchers in education. Therefore, this project will also focus on identifying and improving the visibility of female and early career African foundational literacy and numeracy researchers and promote the use of their work in education policy,’’ said Dr Pauline Essah, Director of Research and Programmes at ESSA.

The African Education Research Database is an important platform for raising awareness about African research and promoting African education researchers. If you are an African researcher working on foundational literacy and numeracy, please visit our website to submit your publications (if not already captured), access other publications and join the conversation.



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