The Mastercard Foundation’s latest report reveals that for every 100 young people that enter primary education, 9 will go on to tertiary education and 6 will complete it. What solutions can different stakeholders come up with to address this challenge and reimagine secondary education as a platform from which youth can transition directly into work?
As an educational institution on the African continent, it is our duty to continuously challenge ourselves and push pre-defined boundaries in order to meet the ever-changing educational needs of young people across the continent. In that light, August proved to be yet another exciting month of virtual events relating to the advancement of education on the continent.
On 14 August, ALA alumni Primrose Adjepong ’12 and Joseph Opoku ’11 took part in Mastercard Foundation’s Secondary Education in Africa Virtual Summit that saw remarks from Former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and educational leaders across the continent and beyond in response to the foundation’s latest report. Subtitled “Preparing Youth for the Future of Work”, the 276-page report features statistics, case studies, and recommendations that were unpacked by participants during the live event.
In a panel discussion about “Reimaging Secondary Education in the Post Pandemic Context” that featured education ministers of Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, Primrose Adjepong held her own as she spoke about the educational work she is doing through her organization, Butterfly Effect in Ghana. She challenged the audience to think more expansively about education, especially in light of the disruptions that have taken place because of COVID-19. “For our startup, one of our core values is the fact that anything can be a learning experience. It’s just having that conscious mind shift. You don’t need to be in the classroom to be educated. You could be a farmer’s kid and you could learn a lot of 21st-century skills. So moving forward we need to break down some of these boxes that we have put education in if we’re actually going to make sure that students who do not make it to tertiary education have all the skills that they need.”
Joseph Opoku, who is a Mastercard Foundation Youth Ambassador (and key member of the report team) shared his reflections on some lessons learnt during this time. “There is a new generation of young people who are passionate, driven and want a better education because they know that it is central to their lives going forward. in light of COVID-19 one thing that we’re beginning to see is that there have been complete disruptions. How do we ensure that we are putting in place the building blocks that will allow young people to succeed?”
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