"Africa doesn’t know all that Africa knows"

By Chris Foy

"Africa doesn’t know all that Africa knows" Photo: Sadu Vybz

Back from the Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, as a Board member of Education Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA), it is possible to reflect on the scale of the challenge facing educationalists across the continent; and the evidence of determined drive to make African youth justifiably proud of their educational attainments in a strikingly competitive world. 

The founding impulse of ESSA is aligned with this ambition, aiming to accelerate progress by focusing attention on themes and issues where the translation of insight into action can improve the effectiveness of investors in education - whether public authorities, donor partners, foundations or corporates.

Africa doesn’t know all that Africa knows. Part of the distinctive contribution ESSA is preparing to make is the creation of a knowledge hub where decision makers at all levels educational will be able to locate and interrogate data that better informs their practical choices towards incremental improvements in the use of the scarce resources available to educators.

The evident success of so many young people holding the stage in Kigali feeds our stream of confidence. High level research and achievement seen there in so many subject areas clearly engages the attention of specialists from all parts of the world.  The African diaspora makes its mark widely amongst the best universities in the world. We aim to be an additional resource fuelling this stream by researching, communicating and promoting game changing policies and practice for university faculty, school leaders and teachers, education policy makers and all those making investment choices. 

The number of young people to enter education in Africa over the next thirty years will force a huge bubble of demand onto a system not yet providing world standard outcomes for all the girls and boys from primary to tertiary levels.  Radical change will be needed to balance supply with the increased demand for high quality education at all stages. 

Social and economic development will depend on confident and capable work ready young people from suitably framed secondary programmes as well as appropriate proportions of youth flying high through higher education institutions that attract and retain faculty from amongst the best in the world.

ESSA will partner effectively with institutions across the continent and beyond as we make our contribution to better solutions and better outcomes for the youth on whom Africa depends. Kigali sent a signal. ESSA amplifies the stream of responses to the challenge.