The Open University

YAY! – Yebo Africa’s Youth, Let’s Get Learning!

Elementary and secondary education

A large-scale emergency education intervention supporting millions of adolescent youth in Sub-Saharan Africa to learn the essential skills they need to reach their true potential.

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Lead Organization

The Open University

Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom

http://www.open.ac.uk/ido

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

“Too many children…do not become confident readers and writers; indeed, they are denied the creativity that in turn denies the world the boldness of their ideas.” Nelson Mandela described the educational crisis of our time here. Half of youth in Sub-Saharan Africa(63m) are out of school; whether in or out-of-school, 80% cannot read, write, add or subtract.Teachers and community members are desperate to help, but do not know how. YAY! (YEBO=YES!) is an emergency education intervention giving 69,000 school and non-formal educators in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe the skills required to equip 5.2m adolescent youth (11-18) with foundational literacy, numeracy, English and digital skills. This work, driven by youth-led monitoring, will deliver transformative life-changing learning which will be deepened and sustained through peer and community support. In addition, a Digital Learning Gateway will bridge the digital divide and open up continued life-long learning opportunities for Africa’s adolescent youth.

Problem Statement

We face the greatest educational crisis of our time. There are 199m youth out of school [1]. The challenge is most severe in Sub-Saharan Africa where at least half of all youth (63 million) are not in school [2]. Those who do go on to secondary school often have not acquired basic foundational skills. A generation is missing out on skills that are critical for engaging in learning, and participating fully in society, which impacts every aspect of sustainable development[2].Many factors contribute: educators have little training in how to support young people to learn foundational skills; they lack quality learning materials and professional and emotional support; and large class sizes mean they don’t spot or support those struggling. Many adolescent youths drop-out of school due to distance from school, socio-cultural and cost barriers, but also as they lack the support, confidence and motivation to learn. Many initiatives tackle foundational skills at primary level, but secondary education is largely ignored, receiving 3% of OECD education funding[3]. Rapid population growth means today’s generation of youth will become 50% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s adults by 2075. Put simply, if we do not act now, an entire generation will lack the skills to lift themselves and their communities from poverty. Supportive adults, such as educators and community leaders, provide the key to catalyse sustainable change. A well-equipped educator can reach thousands of adolescent youth with improved learning over many years. With hope and confidence, youth are a formidable positive force.

Solution Overview

The Open University and World Vision will deliver a national-scale four-part emergency education intervention to respond to the foundational skills crisis among adolescent youth (11-18) throughout Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, countries where the crisis is greatest. YAY! will use a proven, school-based model of teacher development, working within the existing education systems, to equip 69,000 teachers and non-formal educators to measurably improve the foundational skills, confidence and agency of 5.2m youth. Over five years YAY! will: 1)train 45,000 teacher and school leaders in their own schools to support around 4.2m adolescent youth to improve their foundational literacy, numeracy, digital and English skills; 2)train 24,000 non-formal educators and leaders in their own communities to support over 1m out-of-school adolescent youth to improve their foundational skills;3)build teams of change agents in communities, including youth leadership clubs and supportive community leaders; and 4)create a Digital Learning Gateway to provide educators and youth with access to free, high quality learning resources and peer support, through technologies they already own to sustain life-long learning. We will track measurable gains in educators’ improved teaching methods and the literacy, numeracy, digital and leadership skills of youth as they participate in and out of school. Ultimately, adolescent youth will gain the competencies needed to access further learning and improved opportunities. The evidenced success of this model will be promoted for adaption and replication across Sub-Saharan Africa, including through the partners’ extensive Africa network of teacher educators.

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