Accessible, high-quality, relevant secondary education will enable Africa’s youth to profoundly contribute to the prosperity of the continent. With the rising demand for secondary education and the changing needs of the labour market, there is an opportunity to identify and foster innovative ways of preparing young people for the workforce in Africa.
Innovations in Secondary Education (ISE) advances new approaches to achieve equitable and high-quality secondary education, with a focus on marginalized and disadvantaged youth. Projects in this initiative work to increase access to secondary education and aim to elevate employability and entrepreneurial skills. ISE also supports innovative projects that seek to improve the motivation and professional development of teachers, and that integrate technology into secondary school curricula.
The initiative takes a test, expand, and scale approach to the introduction of innovations in secondary education.
Core to many of the projects supported under this area of work is the creation of meaningful linkages to the labour market — demonstrated through improved teaching methods, technology-enhanced student learning, internships, job placements, volunteering, and mentorship. Project-based learning brings young people in touch with their community and the resources within their reach, and widens their perspective and outlook.
A core component of this initiative is our participation in the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE). This collaborative funding partnership works to address barriers to participation and achievement in secondary education, facilitates the scale-up of effective interventions through systematic change in target countries, and promotes efforts to expand the evidence base. Projects the Foundation has supported as part of this partnership have tested innovative approaches to making improvements to secondary education the ultimate goal of influencing education practices and system reform.
The Foundation has supported a number of innovative models to expand at scale and across different contexts. Examples include: expanding a STIR teacher change-maker project to test across Uganda; extending the African Digital Schools Initiative with GESCI in Kenya, Tanzania, and Côte d’Ivoire; and adopting the EDC Youth Work Readiness Program from Rwanda to Senegal.