African Union (AU) has awarded grants of $60,000, $40,000 and $20,000 to three educational innovators that produced Building A Generation, Learnable, and Chalkboard Education.

While Building A Generation is a gamified platform that offers real-time access to experience-based learning for university students, Learnable allows teachers to compose and distribute lessons via a dedicated mobile app and WhatsApp.

Chalkboard Education, on the other hand, is a remote teaching and learning toolkit designed to help teachers and parents during the Covid-19 crisis.

The continental body awarded the grants at the Innovating Education in Africa (IEA) Pitch Event 2020.

AU said in a statement that the grants will be used to undertake pilot projects in collaboration with its member states.

Development Diaries understands that IEA is a flagship programme of the AU Commission and partners designed to identify and promote practical social and technological innovations.

The aim of the programme, according to the union, is to enhance access, quality, relevance, and inclusion in education in order to release the potential for empowerment, employability, and inventiveness.

‘One of the critical challenges of our time is the imbalance that exists between skills offered in the education and training institutions and the skills needed in the world of work – often referred to as the skills mismatch’, the statement read.

‘The high and persistent levels of unemployment together with job vacancies that remain unfilled could be addressed through adopting innovative approaches in education and training’.

The World Bank said in a report that 87 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa are ‘learning poor’ and lack foundational skills they need for the 21st century and a dynamic labour market.

It is understood that governments in Africa and key education stakeholders have instituted measures to promote the continuity of education from home.

These strategies have been successful in some ways, but challenges remain as the poor marginalised children do not have access to mobile phones, TV, or even radios.

The IEA event, tagged, ‘Building Innovative Education and Training Systems to Create Impact at Scale’, was supported by AU’s key partners such as EU, GIZ, Mastercard Foundation, UNESCO, UNICEF, AfDB, Ashoka, ADEA, and GeSCI.

The educational innovators have been connected to the Africa Education Innovators Network to facilitate experience sharing and partnerships for sustainability and resilience of their innovations.

Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Agbor, urged all the stakeholders to build education, training, and innovative ecosystems that have local relevance, global competitiveness, and mutual recognition.

Other innovations pitched at the event included AI/VR Solar lab cases, BrainShare, Class Quiz, If-Tech, M-Lugha App, Padziwe Ecosystem for Digital Education, and TextSchool.

Source: African Union

Photo source: UNICEF

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