Home » The urgent call to enrich school curricula in Africa 

The urgent call to enrich school curricula in Africa 

By Keshav Sreedharan, Regional Exams Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, British Council

by Tia

As education in Africa evolves, integrating instructional, social, emotional, and community aspects, there’s a growing emphasis on skills that transcend traditional learning. This includes nurturing multilingual capabilities, embracing technology, and focusing on creativity, adaptability, and transferable skills critical for the future. 

At the same time, digital technology and artificial intelligence are significantly transforming education, presenting opportunities and challenges like the digital divide and the need for online safeguarding, particularly in Africa. While educators are being required to navigate these changes and challenges, they also must ensure learners are prepared for a rapidly changing world. This underlines the urgent need for curricula to be ambitious and integrate local and global narratives that spark curiosity and inspire learners.

Acknowledging this, the British Council’s Partner Schools Programme is designed to enhance educational standards and promote international connections between schools worldwide. Through this programme, we provide a comprehensive package that includes professional development for educators, access to high-quality educational resources, and opportunities for quality assurance and improvement. This ensures that schools align with global educational standards, providing students with a competitive and internationally recognised education.

Beyond curriculum support, the programme emphasises the development of global citizenship and English language proficiency among students. It connects schools across different countries, facilitating cultural exchanges and collaborative learning projects that enrich the educational experience for both teachers and learners.

Through competitions, online resources, and events, students are encouraged to develop critical thinking, creativity, and an understanding of global issues. This network of partner schools is aimed at preparing students for success in a globalised world, emphasising the importance of cultural understanding and international cooperation in education.

Building an interconnected global educational community

Events like the British Council’s Schools Now!, a global conference dedicated to advancing educational innovation within the network of Partner Schools, brings together professionals to explore key facets of international education, share insights, and connect with peers.

Held this year in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time, the 2024 event, hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, showcased the region’s contributions to modern education and encouraged global exchange of best practices tailored to the African educational context. Such collaboration ensures that the curriculum is responsive to students’ needs, blending technological and face-to-face learning methods to overcome infrastructure challenges and create a learning environment that encourages critical thinking and adaptability.

Support for practical research projects
We also support educators on their professional journey with initiatives like the Action Research Grant. This allows teachers to conduct research projects aimed at refining teaching methods, evaluating curriculum improvements, and meeting students’ changing needs. Through action research, educators deepen their understanding of effective teaching strategies and add valuable knowledge to the wider educational community.

Recent grant winner Lydia Biama Quansah, Head of Academics at Dayspring International Academy in Ghana is conducting research to refine the school’s professional development approach, focusing on lesson planning and promoting 21st-century skills, and identifying gaps and opportunities for enhancement by examining the impact of various training modalities. This has the potential to serve as a model for schools across Ghana and the Partner Schools community.

Enobong Imaha, Head of Literacy at Pegasus Schools in Nigeria, is focusing on developing effective Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to enable school improvement. By comparing CPD effectiveness in Nigeria with global standards and exploring teacher attitudes towards CPD, the research seeks to identify strategies for maximising engagement and is driven by the urgent need to modernise teaching methods in Nigeria, 

The principal of Masuka Christian High School in Zimbabwe, Muridzo Benjamin, is focusing on developing leadership across all levels at the school and implementing a comprehensive training programme, to enhance operational coordination within the school. This is expected to improve the school’s performance and its standing in the community and contribute to a more engaged and participatory school environment. 

Knowledge exchange and international collaboration 

Our UK Study Tour is designed to offer educators, school leaders, and education professionals from around the world the opportunity to visit schools in the United Kingdom. This tour provides insights into the UK’s educational practices, innovative teaching methodologies, and school management strategies. Participants get to observe classrooms, meet with UK educators, and engage in workshops and discussions that focus on current trends in education, leadership, curriculum development, and student engagement strategies. By experiencing the UK education system first hand, participants gain valuable ideas and inspiration to implement in their own schools. 

Another innovative element of the British Council’s educational initiatives is the Your World video-making competition. This competition challenges students to harness their creativity, critical thinking, and digital literacy skills to create compelling videos on global issues. By engaging in this hands-on project, they not only deepen their understanding of complex global issues but also hone essential skills such as collaboration, communication, and media literacy.

Together, these comprehensive initiatives are having a transformative impact and contribute to an enriched curriculum that extends beyond the classroom. It’s an approach that cultivates a deep-rooted enthusiasm for continuous learning, and primes students to explore and realise their full potential outside academic confines. 

By equipping students with the skills necessary to tackle the challenges of the modern world, encouraging a lifelong passion for learning, and preparing them to follow their interests and ambitions outside of school, we can play a pivotal role in shaping well-rounded, adaptable, and inquisitive learners ready to contribute to the global community.

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