The advent of COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges in Africa’s education and training systems and reinforce the need for innovative solutions that are fit for context, and can be scaled up sustainably to meet the continually evolving context of education and training.
Although the education deficit in Africa is large, significant progress has been made over the past decade. About a fifth of children between the ages of 6-11 are out of school, whereas for children between 12-14 exclusion is about 33%; and an estimated 60% of youth between the ages of 15-17 not in school, with girls more negatively affected. Thus, access remains a challenge at different levels.
Innovating Education in Africa (IEA) was established in 2018 by the African Union (AU) with the aim of identifying, promoting and supporting the systemic adoption and replication of education innovations in all aspects of education and training in Africa. The event showcased 50 education innovations selected from across Africa and held policy dialogues with policy makers and development stakeholders to make the case for embedding innovation in education systems in Africa, and endorsing the implementation of the continental programme.
In 2019 the event was held on a much larger scale with strengthening of partnerships with key education development organisations across Africa, such as EU, GIZ, ADEA, Mastercard Foundation, ONE, GeSCI, UNICEF and Ashoka.
In 2020, Innovating Education in Africa was held as a series of virtual activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 300 submissions received from 31 African countries.
Since the inception of the program, over 1,500 education stakeholders have been engaged, 140 innovations have been promoted, and 24 organisations implementing innovations have been supported with grants of 423,000 USD.
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Applications will be accepted from AU Member State citizens who lead an organisation that meets the following criteria:
1. Implementing or piloting an education innovation in one or more AU Member States;
2. Legally registered and operational for not less than 1 year;
3. Directly responsible for the implementation and management of the innovation, i.e., not acting as an intermediary;
4. Should not have been a previous grant recipient under Innovating Education in Africa.
Successful applicants will benefit from one or more of the following:
a) Receive grants of up to 100,000 USD to implement pilot projects in collaboration with AU Member States.
b) Promotion and publicity of Innovation to AU Member States and Development Partners, including publication in the Africa Education Innovations Handbook 2021 and future invitation to participate in AU events and programs.
c) Certificate of recognition from the African Union Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Organisations applying for the Innovating Education in Africa 2021 awards will undergo a four-stage review process.
Stage 1 submissions should be made online in English or French until 25th June 2021 by 23:00 (GMT+3).
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