“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
Have you ever wondered what educational support classes look like around the world?
Asia, North America, Europe, South America and Africa…
By investigating, it becomes a good way to identify all the problems in the world of education.
With more than 1.2 billion inhabitants, Africa is rich in life lessons. So let’s take a trip down south across the beautiful Mediterranean sea and scorching Sahara desert to discover one of the most populated continents on the globe…
Is the African school system unknown to you?
Most would answer yes to this question, so let us describe to you the school system on the African continent by providing general details. You will see that after reading this article you will be unbeatable in this subject!
The question asked by most scholars is whether the African education system is a colonial legacy. The African continent has long been shared between the French, English and Belgian powers. The people have inherited the official languages of these three empires and their education systems have left an impact on the governments.
As a result, public primary schools have gradually replaced traditional education for their children and secondary schools have also been involved in these changes.
Ministeries and different governmental departments control and manage everything, as in our part of the world, with public spending on education being still less than 20% of a country’s expenditures.
The UN has implemented the EFA act to help families and children on the African continent get the help they deserve. Setbacks are common due to the many conflicts in African countries. (Source: Visual Hunt)
The current state of education in Africa is of significant concern. In the framework of the EFA (Education for All) 2015 program, UNESCO placed the African continent in the last place. The vast territory that the African continent covers is not without its strong regional disparities: no country in the sub-Saharan region has succeeded in achieving the objectives set by the United Nations in 2000 when the EFA program was initialized. At that time, in that area, the primary school enrolment rate was below 60%.
The 6 goals established by the Education for All program in 2000 are:
In theory and on paper these goals sound fantastic but in practice, it is another story. Many African countries were unable to achieve these goals due to serious conflicts in the area.
Nigeria faces significant difficulties, while Burundi, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Zambia and Tanzania are among the few winners. At a literacy-based level, Africa is emerging with the children of the Republic of South Africa, for example, viewed as good students.
School support on the African continent is not as popular as it is in Europe, North America and Asia for example. However, that doesn’t mean it is non-existent. Let us now take a look at academic support in Africa.
The level of public education systems in Africa is very poor and leaves a lot to be desired. The evidence of some countries declining in literacy levels proves this. Private schools are increasing, however, the tuition fees are often too expensive for most pupils and the teachers and private tutors are not always professionally qualified to teach.
And yes, giving private academic courses requires qualifications and specific skills. A positive school accompaniment reduces school failure and ensures the success and confidence of the pupils.
One on one private tutoring can help struggling students with core subjects from the curriculum such as math (algebra, calculus, trigonometry, geometry), sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) reading and writing and language skills (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation).
Supplemental instruction from private tutoring makes up for the failings of the national education systems. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Some schools are run by religious organizations and can provide extra remedial help during evening classes. These individualized private sessions are offered for an affordable price or sometimes even for free. It is not uncommon for NGOs to compensate for the errors of the national school system’s.
Humanitarian efforts have aided children with academic difficulties to get the help they deserve.
Apart from these philanthropic efforts, that is very much appreciated by poor families, financially well-off parents can offer their children personalized tutoring from a qualified home tutor.
The best tutors are passionate about academic coaching, offer suggestions to improve study skills and offer support in test prep and homework help.
For middle-class families, it is not uncommon to make sacrifices to finance supplemental instruction from a private tutor out of the classroom and in the comfort of the child’s home. These parents allocate a certain amount of money aside each month, hoping to see their daughter or son climb the social ladder in the future.
Overall, academic tutoring is mostly provided by independent associations or teachers, and rarely through online or commercial platforms.
Unfortunately, homework help is institutionalized and often flirts with corruption. For example, some teachers disguise the real grades of their students and threaten the parents that the learner needs academic support to overcome his academic difficulties.
This pedagogical corruption has made many parents discouraged and has given the idea of many governments in Africa to ban private tuition completely in order to prevent this fraud from occurring.
You will notice that most school deviations concern North Africa, and countries where the French system of education has long been in practice, such as Algeria and Morocco.
Where access to new technology allows, it is quite possible, especially for Anglophones and Francophones, to access online tutoring services such as Squla, LiveMentor and Chegg Tutors.
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It is remarkable to note that remedial teaching in Africa is quite similar to private tutoring sessions that are offered in South America.
Educational aids from the OECD to countries in extreme poverty are declining. Financial support had doubled during the first decade of the millennium but fall back from 4.99 billion pounds in 2010 to 4.1 billion pounds in 2012. Without these funds, many countries cannot continue to offer quality education to its students.
To overcome this educational deficit, many NGOs participate in offering small group, large group or at home tutoring classes. These humanitarian organizations provide homework help to students from volunteer tutors and sometimes offer financial aid to educational institutions. This assistance is largely thanks to the generosity of private donors from massive organizations but also at times from more local and humble associations.
There are many NGOs extending educational support to African students in need. Some of them are:
The countries that benefit most from these school support non-profit organizations are those in the region known as Black Africa (sub-Saharan Africa). In general, it can be observed that the former colonies often benefit from the presence of the individuals from their former empires (France, England, Belgium, Portugal).
Transfers of funds from charitable organizations in more developed nations compensate for the poverty of African countries, according to statistics from the United Nations.
In fact, Northern and Southern Africa manage to get by on their own, thanks to their own economic development which is a little bit better than countries in Black, Central and Western Africa.
The main component of educational aid from foreign humanitarian organizations are private teachers. Regions in Africa that are suffering from the most serious academic difficulties such as school dropout and illiteracy are surrounded by so many educational missions. Projects-Abroad offers young people in Senegal English classes in secondary school and university while students from Ethiopia can take advantage of school tutoring courses from a volunteer private tutor during the summer holidays.
The desire to volunteer and provide educational help during a “gap year” or the summer holidays has been growing in popularity among young people from the western world. If you want to become a tutor, there are many educational programs to chose from that assist African children in need. A notable one is The Say Yes to Education foundation makes sure that impoverished children receive the same opportunities to higher education.
Educational success for children in Africa can be attainable through charitable foundations and support organizations that offer volunteer private teachers.
Poor children who have been affected by health issues such as AIDS are often more vulnerable to school failure because they need to seek out medical attention. Personal tutoring is needed to assist these children to reach their academic goals.
School children with academic difficulties benefit from the help of NGOs. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Many NGOs do not just support children academically but take advantage of their presence in Africa to create better lives for children and stronger communities. In addition to distributing used textbooks and story books from around the world, they distribute second-hand clothing, shoes and toys to families in need. This saves many parents money and allows them to focus on providing the essentials for the sons and daughters (food, shelter, water, etc.).
Among the many good teachers and volunteers who work at the same level, the example of two French volunteers from the Catholic NGO Fidesco (170 volunteers in 28 countries!), who are assisting in Africa, really stands out as admirable. In 2016, two young adults from the South-West of France decided to fly to the African island of Madagascar to volunteer for 2 years.
Their humanitarian mission is mainly financed by the monetary gifts of their friends, neighbours and family members. They set out to help an organization called “Filles de la Charité de Farafangana” (or in English, Daughters of Charity of Farafangana).
Serena left home with the task of running the local school bookstore. Since arriving, her field of expertise has expanded drastically. She deals with the search for funds to construct a secondary school, the academic instruction of the children, the provision of school materials and educating school teachers to use the internet to search for additional academic resources and materials.
Vincent gives language classes to secondary school children, mainly in groups. He also acts as a private academic instructor, taking charge of tutoring secondary school students in their last year of school. In addition to tutoring history in secondary school, his academic advising continues during after school hours in study supervision at the library. This is a good time to offer homework help and individualized coaching throughout the school year.
The story of these two self-sacrificing volunteers is inspiring and just an example of the multitude of work that needs to be done in schools all over Africa. If these benevolent actions were reflected more often throughout the African continent, education would improve and students would receive the academic support they deserve.
There is a lot of work to be done!
In short, school support in Africa is made necessary by the failings of the national education systems.
Due to the limited financial resources of countries and individuals, the generosity of private donors and volunteer teachers is essential to increase the density of private tuition and homework help on the African continent. Education for All remains a work in progress that needs to be completed.
And what about you, dear reader, have you ever thought of participating, in one way or another, in this great gesture of volunteering abroad to promote education and literacy?
The blessings are worth way more than the sacrifices!