We must promote African research on education
Samuel Asare is a Research Manager at ESSA who manages our African Education Research Database (AERD).
It is hard to find African research on education and even harder for African researchers to get their work published and to achieve influence.
I realized this during my postgraduate education at the University of Otago, New Zealand. It became difficult to find research papers about the topic I was researching in Ghana, as a result I ended up using publications about other countries and contexts.
Solving education challenges in Africa requires the use of evidence that has been generated within the continent. That is why a platform of academic research within Africa is important as it serves many purposes. Primarily, it is essential for academics who need to use up-to-date evidence and knowledge in their work.
Students can also use a database of education research in their learning. When we created the African Research Education Database with the REAL Centre at the University of Cambridge, the goal was to support student learning and academic research. More importantly, to identify African experts who are conducting research in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, we have over 3,500 high quality publications by scholars in Africa in the database. We have proven that there is good quality research coming from Africa.
However, what remains a challenge is access to funding for African researchers to conduct research. We had a workshop for African researchers in Ethiopia and one of the key issues they spoke about was that they don’t have access to funding. If we want to generate evidence through research, then we should invest in research. Research is expensive; travelling to rural areas to interview and to survey people is expensive, so funding is key.
As researchers, we need to collaborate more with our fellow African researchers to promote our work. We have the expertise. It is not always the case that huge sums of money are required to conduct research. All research can have an impact.
Samuel's story also features in our 5th Anniversary Report