Asante Africa contributes to Brookings Institution Panel on Innovation for Education

As one of the world’s leading think-tanks, The Brookings Institution has had a long history of conducting in-depth research that pave the way for ideas that have the potential to solve some of the thorniest problems in the world.

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“We need to focus on the pockets of neglect and exclusion [in education].” – Rebecca Winthrop, Director for CUE at The Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution hosted a session in December 2016 on Diversifying the Education Workforce and Promoting Innovation for the Learning Generation to share some of the most promising strategies and approaches in strengthening the teaching workforce including  panelists from esteemed organizations like PEAS Uganda, Teach for All and Asante Africa Foundation, and was moderated by Rebecca Winthrop, Director for CUE at Brookings Institute.

Asante Africa’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, Marie Bush, shared recent promising data and evidence from  Asante Africa’s Integrated Teachers Training (ITT) Program funded by Mastercard Foundation and an Anonymous Donor through the  PSIPSE Program. 

BrookingsBlog3.jpgMarie shared “Providing quality education through national strategies is a challenge in itself. But it’s made harder when implemented in rural school districts where a variety of factors from remote locations to the lack of resources come into play. Teaching critical thinking, problem solving, and effective communications are 21st century skills that are required from students today.” How are they to learn it in the current landscape?

The fact that you’re getting to the source of the issues is key. Students weren’t engaged because teachers weren’t trained to encourage participation. Focusing on teachers is innovative because it’s going to shape how they deal with their classrooms forever. It will make them more impactful.” Marie Bush shared.

Because evidence has demonstrated that teachers have a greater impact and influence on their students’ learning, their gains from development and access to the latest tools means gains for students as well. Not only have outcomes shown increased participation, performance, and confidence from both teachers and students, it has also resulted in students successfully demonstrating more of those 21st century skills that are held at such a premium today.

“Some times the best innovation comes from the need to be frugal and low cost. Frequently referred in the technology development world as frugal innovation.” –Erna Grasz, CEO Asante Africa Foundation

In the need to be cost effective, ITT made use of a “Train the Trainer “cascade model that allowed for larger scale and high penetration. “We were doing something elevated, low-cost, and scalable at the same time. We didn’t just make a bigger impact with limited resources, we changed the way teachers engaged with their students, and that’s something they’ll have in their toolkit forever.”

Being mindful to align with national education priorities also resulted in recognition from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and has opened the possibility of adopting the ITT Program for national implementation.

Marie’s thoughts about her participation say it best:  “The other panelists were representing organizations that were teaching a creative approach that were both innovative and impactful. It was an honor, and an extremely humbling experience, to be included and recognized for the caliber of our work amongst other high-caliber and super impactful organizations.”

To date, Asante Africa’s ITT program has brought learner-centered, participatory techniques to over 2,500 teachers, and has impacted over 25,000 students from 86 schools in rural Tanzania.

More About Marie Bush:

Marie Bush joined Asante Africa Foundation in 2016 after recently completing her advanced degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison – School of Business. Her passion for sustainable solutions, social enterprises and developing countries comes from her prior work experience with  World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), USAID, and International Rescue Committee.

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