The outlook for schooling in sub-Saharan Africa is more positive than it’s ever been, with the region having experienced a dramatic increase in access to all levels of education.
According to Caerus Capital’s report, “Business of education in Africa”, sub-Saharan Africa has the best record of improvement of any region since the Millennium Development Goals were established in 2000.
Although coming off of a low base, the statistics contained in the report are promising. Total enrolment of primary school-age children rose from 91-million in 2000 to 158-million in 2014.
Similarly, in secondary education, the number of pupils enrolled jumped from 24-million in 2000 to 56-million in 2014. Even more significant has been the growth in higher education, which has risen from 2,7-million in 2000 to around 7,8-million today.
There is still a long way to go. Findings from the report show that sub-Saharan Africa still has 30-million children who are not receiving any form of schooling at all. Access to education is a massive challenge as is consistency in the quality of education provided.
Crossing the digital divide
It’s been thought for a while now that digital solutions will go a long way to helping to alleviate Africa’s education challenges, and the rate at which digital penetration is taking place across Africa is promising.
According to the Business of education in Africa report, Africa’s international bandwidth increased 20-fold from 2009 to 2014. What’s more, there are around 445-million unique mobile subscribers in Africa today. This is up from 200-million in 2010. Mobile broadband connections are also set to increase to almost 60% by 2020.
On the flip side, though, government is still lacking in resources to address the scale of the challenges.