Pilot Scholarship Impact Hub
Pilot Scholarship Impact Hub
Scholarships can be an immense liberator from poverty, give personal success and social progression. Significant funds are invested supporting African scholarships by governments, foundation, corporates, NGOs and individuals.
Scholarships are also cited as a key component to achieving the United Nations Strategic Development Goal (SDG 4).
Yet it can be difficult for scholarship providers to access potential scholars with the desired profile in a cost-effective way, and even harder for potential scholars to access the right scholarships. Many deserving students struggle to put together a range of scholarships to undertake and complete their courses. With a surging demand for university places these frustrations will amplify in the years ahead.
It feels right, given the wide variety of contexts they serve, that there are multiple models for scholarship programmes. However, not all are evidence based or impact driven and there seems little visibility on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to measure impact.
Frequently, funds tend to be tactically deployed rather than strategically invested. For example, there is no ‘joining up’ in areas of key skills shortages due to very few effective mechanisms for sharing best practice or connecting stake-holders.
Our experience with learners, schools and universities in sub-Saharan African countries and scholarship providers suggests that there is an opportunity for Africa to ‘leapfrog’ global thinking and practice in this space.
By piloting a ‘Scholarship Impact Hub’ ESSA’s role will help to turn this opportunity into a reality, focussing on what we believe is a major strategic issue for the Higher Education sector as well as schools and funders.
Increase impact on current spending, attracting more investment into scholarships in sub-Saharan Africa with the ultimate objective to improve educational outcomes
Prove the model and produce an investment proposal for a major funder to help us take the pilot to scale and sustain it.
The pilot will focus on three concepts relating to Scholarships in sub-Saharan Africa:
Collate: “Prove the need and opportunity with hard evidence”
Our work will concentrate on Under and Post graduate scholarships.
We will identify the most effective programmes, look at their models in detail and identify their key success factors from scholarship selection to graduation and beyond.
We want to produce hard compelling evidence to use to start developing practical ways to help change.
Create – “Resources, Relationships and Credibility”
Our aim is to create useful resources, build relationships and communities of interest in the space and establish the necessary credibility to mobilise and influence change.
One example of this will be to produce a set of scholarship impact metrics incorporating scholar, funder and deliverer success as well as effectiveness and social impact. We also will highlight examples of best practice, exemplars and key trends along with new thinking ideas. Early on, we aim to give scholars a “voice” and involve them actively in all we do. We also see building a corporate community of interest as another important step.
We will reinforce this with practical resources, including digital toolkits and learning resources for students, funders and deliverers at all stages of the process – from application, to study, to finding decent work as well as starting up/managing a scholarship programme.
Building the knowledge and capabilities to do this and delivering at small scale is an important step towards creating a sustainable Scholarship Impact Hub.
Communicate – “Start to mobilise and change the discourse”
The early reactions to the idea of creating the Scholarship Impact Hub from a range of stakeholders have been highly encouraging.
During the pilot we want to initiate change and begin to alter the discourse with the evidence of best practice and the highest return models playing a central role in achieving this. Engaging currently fragmented groups will be another. We will produce a range of multi-way communications and opportunities for those in the space to engage on both strategic and operational issues.
This project perfectly aligns with our purpose to “Join up, inform. Inspire and increase impact for everyone investing in education outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa.”