Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s youngest region today with a good more than 60% of its population under the age of 25. In fact, given current projections, the continent will be home to more than 25% of the world’s under-25 population according to The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa Report by the World Economic Forum.
There is no doubt that a young, globally connected, and best-educated population of Africans will translate into an unprecedented demographic opportunity for the continent. However, to leverage this opportunity, there is an urgent need for this young demographic to be fully equipped with the skills and knowledge and availed the opportunities to best prepare them to be fully in-charge of the continent’s future. The role of education is therefore vital.
During the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, held from the 25-27 September in New York, the world adopted the post-2015 development agenda during a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly. Seventeen development goals were adopted and dubbed the Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs, with a determination to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet from degradation, ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda.
Quality education is one of the seventeen goals. It is SDG 4; ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. While significant progress was made, the world failed to fully meet the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015. The SDG 4 therefore seeks to capitalize on the progress of the MDGs and triumph over its shortcomings.
When Nelson Mandela proclaimed that education is the most powerful tool which can be used to change the world, he was advocating for expanded access to early childhood education, investment in developing and maintaining of professionalized teaching workforce, the future-readiness of curricula, early exposure to the workplace and realistic career guidance.
Growing up in Uganda and South Sudan, the Maarifasasa founders always yearned for this kind of education that Nelson Mandela spoke very highly about. It was indeed far from our reach! School was a place where thousands of students went and were kept indoors under adult supervision for the whole day with short breaks in between. That was it, and it was for a very long time. Learning hardly happened.
We are committed to leading a new education revolution in Africa, empowering every learner to achieve their greatest potential.
Robert Bob OkelloMaarifasasa
Robert Bob Okello is the founder and CEO of Maarifasasa, a cutting-edge Ugandan EdTech start-up committed to leading an education revolution in Uganda and across Africa. He is an Alumna of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme committed to creating life changing opportunities to empower fellow young people across Africa with skills to cope with a fastly unfolding era of the 4th industrial revolution. He fully believes that the greatest life lived is one lived for others.