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Shifting the education narrative

Image: Simi Nwogugu, CEO of Junior Achievement Africa (JA Africa

Distinguished leaders in education came together to deliberate on the need to revolutionize the narrative surrounding the educational ecosystem in Africa at the Catalyst 2030’s Africa Forward event on Thursday the 31st of August. 

Themed “Shifting the Education Narrative,” the event was hosted by Danielle Tsamo of Catalyst 2030 and featured prominent education advocates including Dr. Chizoba Imoka, Founder of Unveiling Africa; Simi Nwogugu, CEO of Junior Achievement Africa; and Dr. Joyce Malombe, Founder & Director of Collective Rising Leadership Institute, as panel speakers. 

Dr. Chizoba Imoka emphasized the need to move beyond discussions about education centred solely on access to learning and focusing instead on decolonizing Africa’s education systems. She passionately advocated for an African-centered approach to education, one that actively incorporates African history and its profound implications for the educational journey while cultivating inclusive leadership qualities among the youth in the continent. 

Using findings from recent research she conducted with young Africans, Dr. Imoka passionately stated, “We need an education narrative that enables us to support the emergence of an African-centred education system responds to our environment and still equips young people to contribute to a prosperous, inclusive, and dignified global community.” 

As an educator, researcher, and advocate, Dr. Imoka’s objective is to support education stakeholders to create more equitable learning spaces that lead to improved and holistic culturally responsive student outcomes. Within the Nigerian education context, her experience revolves around localizing and adapting the Sustainable Development Goals that relate to education (SDG 4.1a). Chizoba has received numerous awards including the 2021 Ernest D. Morrel African Diaspora Emerging Scholar Award, 2019 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, and 2018 African Scholars Emerging Award, amongst others. 

Simi Nwogugu, is the recent winner of the Africa Education Medal, launched by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Microsoft in 2022.  

Addressing the Catalyst 2030 event attendees, the JA Africa CEO highlighted the urgent need to cultivate a mindset and skill set conducive to the future success of African youth after school, given that millions enter the job market unprepared. Reflecting on discussions at the World Economic Forum about top 10 skills, she highlighted the gap between skills employers seek and those traditionally taught in African schools. 

Nwogugu advocated for education that imparts skills fostering positive outcomes for African youth, enabling them to excel not only locally but on a global scale. The communal nature of African societies was underscored, emphasizing the importance of programs that equip the youths to give back, remain globally relevant and drive community development. 

Dr. Joyce Malombe echoed her fellow speakers’ sentiments, emphasizing collective leadership as a means of effectively addressing community needs and engaging donors. She urged stakeholders to unite in prioritizing the needs of African children, calling for collaborative efforts to drive African society forward. 

Dr. Malombe emphasized that African social entrepreneurs should come together to identify shared challenges and define African values in education. The African child’s needs and solutions must be positioned at the forefront, to achieve education that aligns with their unique requirements. 

The event ended with a collective call for the need for an independent educational ecosystem in Africa that is self-sufficient, identifies the educational needs of the African child.  

About Catalyst 2030  
Catalyst 2030 is a fast-growing global movement of people and organizations committed to achieving the UN  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) by 2030. Joining forces with communities, governments, businesses and  others, Catalyst 2030 members are changing systems at all levels through collective action and bold new strategies.  See more here: https://catalyst2030.net/  

About Africa Forward  
Africa Forward, an initiative of Catalyst 2030’s African chapters seeks to rewrite the narrative about Africa. Our strategic shifts comprise of five Pillars: 

(1) Narrative Shift, (2) Ecosystem Development, (3) Funding, (4) Job Creation  and Career Counseling, and (5)Training and Capacity Development. 

See more here: https://catalyst2030.net/africa forward/  

This article has been adapted from JA Africa

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown
Lynn is a content marketer that focuses on brand storytelling through digital platforms. Skilled in a background of web development, search engine optimization and content production, Lynn is excited to utilize over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing to help grow the ecosystems that support Africa’s very young entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

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