3 measurable ways to promote Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

2024 is Africa’s Year of Education! 3 powerful Data-led strategies to reduce Learning Poverty & Promote Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

On January 24, the world observed the International Day of Education. According to World Bank Statistics, 9 out of 10 children in Sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of Learning Poverty. Learning poverty can be defined as the inability in children under the age of 10 to read and understand a simple, age-appropriate passage.

Other indicators of learning poverty include foundational numerary, literacy and social emotional skills application in children under the age of 10 years. These numbers are hard to ignore, especially for Data practioners on a mission to promote inclusion across the African continent.

Based on our past research experience in markets such as Burundi and Rwanda in humanitarian and other development sectors, we feel the immense weight of responsibility to lend voice and value in how credible data can help shape evidence-based, actionable solutions to eradicate exclusion in education.

The following 3 research approaches can be a great starting point into understanding the magnitude, assessing specific landscape factors in each country context and designing measurable actions that promote inclusive learning outcomes for Africa’s children.

Education is an enormous ecosystem. Learning institutions and learners, teaching staff and communities, local and national leaders are all influential stakeholders within the ecosystem. It can be difficult to achieve unified actions that achieve positive outcomes for each stakeholder within the ecosystem. Therefore, our first powerful proposition to promote inclusive foundational learning for African children is Diagnostic Studies.  Diagnostic studies can be described as tests that are done to identify the presence [or absence] of specific attributes, characteristics or factors that have bearing on the health of a brand, business or sector -in this case education.

A good diagnostic study employs combined data collection methodologies to map positive and negative landscape factors. This mapping can even further support a ranking that explores how sensitive a specific factor is within a landscape and how specific factors are likely to affect certain desired outcomes.

The second approach that can support the adoption and acceleration of education in Africa is concept tests.  Innovation in education and technology portends tremendous potential for Africa’s youth. However, designing and deploying appropriate innovative solutions can prove to be challenging at best and a waste of resources at worst.  Testing concepts and models among the targeted users for whom such solutions are intended can help guide insight driven design, deployment, engagement and impact that is transformational.

Thirdly, impactful insights need to be measured and documented for the benefit of replicating and scaling future actions across the continent. Identifying suitable progress metrics at a granular level as a baseline of indicators, monitoring progressive interventions {or lack thereof}, measuring scale of impact and documenting outcomes through behaviorally curated case studies are key to supporting evidence-based advancements in foundational learning outcomes for the future prosperity of Africa’s children.



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