Four schools and eight teachers from across sub-Saharan Africa have been nominated amongst the world’s best as part of Microsoft’s 2014 class of Mentor Schools and the Inaugural Class of Expert Educators.
The schools include the Government Secondary School Jabi in Nigeria, the Agha Khan Academy in Kenya, Gayaza High School in Uganda and SARM State Secondary School in Mauritius. The four were chosen from over 250 global applicants in 80 countries to participate in the one year programme which recognise visionary educators using technology to improve student outcomes and equip them with 21st century skills.
According to Djam Bakhshandegi, Director of Corporate Citizenship and Partners in Learning, West East, Central Africa & Indian Ocean Islands,“At Microsoft, we strongly believe in the role that well-prepared educators play in helping today’s youth overcome the emerging opportunity divide and guiding them toward the education, skills and opportunities they need to prosper in the hyper-connected era.”
Microsoft believes that investing in education of youth in Africa will improve the potential for economic growth and development as nearly one in three people in sub-Saharan Africa are between the ages of 10 and 24 and would double by 2050, according to the World’s Youth 2013 Data Sheet.
Teachers had to be creative to be selected. Microsoft in the early years picked teachers who were using interactive whiteboards as a teaching tool but at the moment the firm is using 1:1 interactive, online education programs through mobile devices.
Representing Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal and Mauritius, the eight teachers that were awarded Expert Educator status will attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain, in March next year. Winners will be able to collaborate with other leaders and ultimately create a vision for their school community. They will also give their feedback to Microsoft on innovation in education, provide insights on new products and tools, and help the firm understand how technology works – or doesn’t work – in real-life classrooms.
This is nott he first time Microsoft is doing this.
The firm has been offering educator and school programmes for 10 years via its education initiative, Partners in Learning, (Global YouthSpark initiative, Imagine Cup, DigiGirlz, and DreamSpark) which helps teachers and schools around the world improve students’ experiences and skills through technology. In sub-Saharan Africa over 13 million students have benefitted from the programme to date.
The company has also signed an agreement with the University of the People to offer 1, 000 free scholarships to Africans as part of the 4Afrika Initiative.
“At Microsoft we are deeply committed to doing whatever it takes to effect a holistic transformation of learning. This isn’t transformation for the sake of change. Rather, it’s about making a real impact on educational outcomes and offering young people – regardless of circumstance — a chance at a promising future.”
List of teachers awarded Expert Educator status in sub-Saharan Africa
· Ikechukwu Chukwu, Abuja, Nigeria
· Veranique Obiakor, Abuja, Nigeria
· Ayodele Odeogbola, Nigeria
· David Muya, Kismumu, Kenya
· Hannington Ochieng, Nairobi, Kenya
· Papa Mamadou, Dakar, Senegal
· Anil Saccaram, Mauritius
· Chole Richard, Jinja, Uganda