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school bus

We must remember not only where the bus is going, but who is on the bus

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Under the IROKO Project AGAG organized learning calls and meetings to bring together funders and other  stakeholders to discuss best pratices for supporting education in Africa. 




Summary Report of the IROKO Education Seminar

The Nexus of Information and Education in Africa

March 25, 2010



The seminar on “The Nexus of Information and Education” organized by the Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group on March 25, 2010 in New York was the culmination of the IROKO project to explore best practices in education in Africa.

The project began with the three part “Conversations With/Dialogues On” series of conference call discussions. The topics were: Connecting Information and Education; Formal Education; and Information Access. 

The goal of the IROKO Education Seminar was to bring together African development and knowledge management experts and funders to share with and learn from each other about effective approaches to supporting education access in Africa. The following is a summary of the discussions. 

Key discussion points...

  • Education is complex and broad. As a result, it is important to address the complexities with energy so as not to become discouraged.
  • The local, political and demographic environment must be considered when identifying how one practice became successfully implemented and how that same practice may be implemented in a context, country and location.
  • Start small and recognize each bias held before entering a project. This alone will lead to a higher level of success.
  • Address the expectations. Where is the bus going? Be clear if primary education is to lead to secondary education, and secondary education to jobs and higher education. The incentive for education must be clear or no one will “get on the bus.”
  • Partners must include the community, the parents, the government and other funders and donors.
  • Evaluation is critical to progress and to refocusing the work for success. Just as evaluation is a critical tool, it is also important to inform and teach practitioners about evaluation and how it benefits them.

Five essentials...

  1. Evaluating what is happening
  2. Knowing what makes the difference in the classroom for student learning
  3. Including reflective practitioners in the evaluation and planning
  4. Bringing a positive attitude of ownership
  5. Building a thinking system with strong governance by providing the technical support

Things to remember...

  • How we define “education,” is all inclusive and all encompassing. It includes formal and higher education, youth development, public affairs, human services, social services and employment.
  • The yellow bus is a symbol of many considerations, so we must remember not only where the bus is going, but who is on the bus.
  • Start small, recognize biases, engage the government and local community and remain positive about the outcomes.
  • A best or good practice has a framework and can be replicated.
  • Education can learn much from the goals and outcomes approach of the health sector.

Implications for supporting education...

  • Increased effectiveness means increased knowledge building through sharing.
  • Success is dependent upon partnerships and sharing information about what works most effectively.
  • Funders and donors tend to highlight and publicize how the money was spent, but not how effective their efforts were, how they increased opportunity and how effective the project was in addressing the stated goals.
   Copyright 2014 Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group, a project of the Tides Center