Learning about education in Africa

I spent the day at a workshop on education in Africa, featuring a presentation by William Saint, lead Education Specialist, Africa region, The World Bank. His presentation was interesting, but it was quite evident that it’s next to impossible for an independent consultant to get the type of international development work that was described. The bank specifically finances:

  • strategy development
  • innovation funds
  • curriculum reforms
  • staff development
  • library & information access
  • system support units

If you’re interested in this kind of work, it’s best to get connected with a large contractor. There’s more information available on The Development Gateway and the UN Business Website (New Brunswick companies can access this database by contacting BNB).

The second session featured a case study of a new private university in Guinea. The founder, Dr. Malo, spent several years in developing the business model before launching UDECOM in 2004. The university is focusing on the transfer of theoretical knowledge into practice and uses the local community (a rural region of about 2.5 M people) as a test-bed for educational programs. Students get involved and take ownership of their communities and the inherent challenges. Given the African tradition of universities as training schools for the public service, UDECOM is a refreshing change. The UDECOM bootstrap financing model may be one that Canadian institutions could emulate as well.

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