A History of Change
Africa: a continent with so many natural resources. The natural richness of Africa makes it impossible to believe this massive continent is home to most of the poorest countries in the world. Despite the economic and social disparities Africa faces, Africans carry the everlasting spirit of warriors. These warriors have fought social and economic injustice, and their culture is rooted in the stories of African slave trade, Apartheid, and the decolonization of African countries. During my visit at @InnovationAfric, Africa’s Ministerial Official Summit, it was apparent that the diaspora is still fighting the same injustices of the past.
At the Innovation Africa Summit, decolonization is apparent in the faces of the people in power. It was amazing to me that 99% of African ministers are of African descent. But the fight did not stop when Africans were placed in power; the fight continues through the messages delivered at the summit’s panels. There was one clear message that resonated with me after sitting in some of the panels: “Education has the power to change social and economic injustice.” This message is the reason I studied education in college. I was delighted to share this message with the African people, and I felt empowered to join them on the journey to change education in Africa.
Learning about Africa’s Challenges
As one of Genius Plaza’s representatives, I was on a mission to find out what part Genius Plaza can play in Africa’s educational revolution. Unesco estimates between 30-70 million children are without access to education. They also reported between 40 and 90% of schools – depending on their location in Africa – don’t have access to internet, technology, and resources (books, decolonized literature). So the question that arose was, how does an educational technology company help countries with such challenges?
Genius Plaza’s Role in Changing Education
Below, I listed some ways educational technology companies can help Africa’s educational revolution. The first area where Genius Plaza can help is in providing good quality, culturally relevant resources (eBooks, games, videos, exercises) to each unique country in Africa. Genius Plaza has provided their users with a game-changing tool called “Re-teach.” Teachers and students from around the world are empowered to create content unique to the user. Re-teach can help in the decolonization process, because it gives people tools to tell their stories using their personal experiences, culture, and mother tongues.
For example, Uganda’s representative, Okaka Opio Bokotum, also an Associate Professor at Lira University in Uganda, shared with us his country’s fight and struggle for decolonization. During the summit, I noticed most African representatives have a common problem – truly teaching their students how to become bilingual. In most African countries, students are taught in their mother tongue until the first grade. In the second and third grade, students begin learning in the national languages (English, Portuguese, French), which vary from country to country. It is a struggle to raise bilingual students because there aren’t many resources created in their mother tongues, making it difficult for teachers to show students the value of learning, using, and celebrating their native language. Professor Okaka expressed this same concern. He was delighted to learn how Genius Plaza’s Re-teach tool can be used to show students the value of their mother tongue. With Genius Plaza, Uganda can begin creating resources (eBooks, videos, exercises, games) in fifty-two different languages. This is truly revolutionary – it can change how Africans see themselves, their cultures, and it can change how the rest of the world sees and what the rest of the world knows about Africa.
Secondly, providing African schools with access to Genius Plaza platform and apps. By developing an offline platform and apps, we can welcome students from around the world access to good quality resources, regardless of internet access.
Lastly, working closely and building relationships with governments and ministers to help provide funding for schools, internet, and technology for schools that still need it.
The time for change is now! Africa is a market looking for revolutionary change to allow their future children to compete with the rest of the world.