Demographic Development vs Educational Needs In Africa
Overcoming these 3 Education Inequality Hurdles in Africa
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Education inequality is obvious. Not a fun fact but there are 128 million school-aged children in sub-Sahara Africa; of these, 17 million of them will never see a classroom, literary and hypothetically.
Here’s another education inequality fact: 37 million African children get a chance to attend school, but what they learn never gives them the right footing in today’s economy.
Riddled by poverty, overpopulation, linguistic hurdles, and lackadaisical governments, sub-Sahara Africa students find it hard to obtain the level of quality education carved by all.
If you are a student, teacher, or an educational professional in Africa – you probably have an inclination towards online courses – mobile learning (m-learning) and e-learning on how they have the power to pave the future of Africa.
That’s one of the reasons to promote distance education and enhance equality in education for Sub Saharan students.
What does “Access to Education in Africa” Mean?
Steady access to education in Africa depends on several factors.
These are factors to reduce inequality of education:
• Geographical location of the school
The location where the schools are situated depends on various factors. Some areas in Africa are densely populated, while others are not. With an effort by governments to start more schools in densely populated areas, there little to smile about. In lesser developed and lesser populated areas, schools are few and in between.
• The Aspect Ratio of Schools and Distance
The number of schools available per region and the distance children must travel to get to school must be considered. Children are forced to travel long distances to get to school for unfathomable hours with poor road infrastructure and insecurity in their Counties and communities.
• Reasonable fear of the high cost of school fees
How many parents can afford to send their children to school, pay hard-earned cash for school supplies in place of basic needs such as food and shelter?
• Parent’s and leaders’ attitude towards education
How many parents and leaders recognize education as a basic right for all? This socio-cultural issue stands at the root of children being pulled out of school and not enough thought put into their right for quality education.
More than 40% of children in seven sub-Saharan Africa countries including Nigeria, Zambia, and Ethiopia do not have the basic learning skills expected of a grade 5 student. Dropping out of school at secondary and even primary level is the order of the day in the most part of these regions.
Sadly without the right tools of education, half the children in sub-Sahara Africa will grow up without knowing how to read, write, or count. That causes education and income inequality.
Now, which are the hurdles to overcome the education inequality?
Education Inequality Hurdle #1: Educational System Presence in Africa
Even in regions where educational institutions are less compromised, the enrollment and progress statistics are not encouraging. Owing to the lack of quality teaching and consistency of teaching resources, there’s a great deal of grade repetition.
As a result, the number of children who successfully complete primary grades is few, which means primary schools are fuller than secondary schools.
Speaking of teaching staff, experienced teachers with belts of teaching experience under their tenures are paid more than their counterparts who are less experienced. What this translates to is that in schools where most of the staff is senior, the salary figures are high.
This causes schools to hire younger staff and retire the older educators sooner than necessary or expected.
All of these factors into the quality of education provided in these schools.
Given all these factors, the present educational system in Africa is not very effective when it comes to helping young people develop and progress into progressive careers.
Education Inequality Hurdle #2: Affordability of Education
Even though some government-sponsored schools are free, students in many African countries have to pay for school supplies and uniforms.
An average high-school education costs about $500 a year in most African countries. Only a low percentage of Africans who are employed in top industries such as mining, agriculture, and oil & gas where salaries are on the higher side are able to afford quality education for their children.
That’s where e-learning providers come in to bridge the education inequality and bring access to affordable education to many of the unschooled children in Africa.
Education Inequality Hurdle #3: Linguistic Hurdles
The medium of instruction used by educators is one of the major reasons for mass school dropouts. In a continent where children have to travel by foot and sometimes by bus or train into inconsiderable distances, given the sub-Sahara Africa’s cultural diversity, there’s always a dialect or language mismatch.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult for children to study in a language other than that of their own.
This can be a high fence for classical education tools based on printouts and face-to-face lessons. For Edtech based lessons with software, the linguistic challenges can be decreased with the help of translation programs, already installed in the e-learning products