African governments stepping up collaboration to improve children’s learning

The report makes the following recommendations:

  1. Give all children a textbook: Ensure that all children have research-based and locally developed learning materials. Each textbook is shared by an average of 3 students and yet owning their textbook can increase children’s literacy scores by up to 20%. from Senegal Conference for all the project ensured that the manuals were of high quality. Benin is famous for its system-wide curriculum and textbook reform that provided more explicit and direct instruction to teachers, as well as efforts to reduce the cost of textbooks to less than US$1.
  2. Teach all children in their mother tongue: Give all children the opportunity to learn to read in the language they understand. Only one in five pupils receive instruction in their mother tongue. The recent expansion of bilingual education in Mozambique covers around a quarter of primary schools, with children learning the new approach achieving 15% better results than those studying the monolingual curriculum.
  3. Provide all children with a school meal: Give all children the minimum conditions to learn: zero hungry pupils in school. Today, only one in three primary school students in Africa receives a school meal. Rwanda pledged to provide school meals to all children from pre-primary to lower secondary and offered to cover 40% of the costs.
  4. Develop a clear plan to improve learning: Set learning standards, set targets and track results to inform the national vision. There is no information on the learning levels of two thirds of the children in the region. This represents 140 million students. The Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes project is working on a framework for learning accountability, which includes the development of standardized national assessment tests at levels 2 and 4.
  5. Develop teacher capacity: Ensure that all teachers use class time effectively through training and instructional guides. A recent study of 13 countries, including 8 in sub-Saharan Africa, found that projects with instructional guides significantly increased reading fluency.
  6. Preparing educational leaders: Restructure the support mechanisms offered to teachers and schools. The Read in Kenya, which combined school support and monitoring with effective leadership, saw improvements equivalent to an extra year of schooling for children.
  7. Learn from your peers: Reinvigorate mechanisms for countries to share experiences in basic literacy and numeracy.
  8. Focus aid on institution building: Moving from projects to providing public goods that support foundational learning

The report was launched with a #BorntoLearn campaign with the support of the First Lady of Malawi, HE Monica Chakwera and the First Lady and Minister of Education of Uganda HE Janet Kainembabazi Museveni, alongside six other ministers of education: Ghana, Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zanzibar.


Note to Editors

About the Spotlight report

The Spotlight on Primary Education and Foundational Learning in Africa, Born to Learn report is the result of a partnership between the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa ( ADEA) and the African Union. The report, which was launched alongside the #BorntoLearn campaign, analyzes the current state of basic learning, recognizes current challenges and identifies key policy solutions to improve education access and quality in Africa.

The Spotlight series aims to inspire national and continental dialogue on foundational learning. Three cycles are envisaged between 2022 and 2025, each covering a dozen countries. Of these, five countries will be examined in detail, resulting in a national report prepared in consultation with national stakeholders and ministries of education.

The focus countries for the Spotlight 2022 report were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal.

The countries targeted for the Spotlight 2023 report will be Angola, Mauritania, Niger, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

Media contacts:

Kate Redman, UNESCO. Tel: +33 671786234

Gina Dafalia, UNESCO. Tel: +447375318760