Thanks to innovation and technology, “education” as we once knew it is changing, creating countless opportunities for students, teachers and entrepreneurs, in Africa and beyond. This is one of my great passions as many of you know.
Over the past 22 years, my wife and I through our Higherlife Foundation have supported the education of about 250,000 learners and have helped another 4,897 to attend university in Africa, the US and UK (1,704 have graduated, 3,193 currently enrolled). In the process, we have partnered with academic institutions, tech innovators, international organisation’s and education experts across the world. I’ll be writing more about this in coming weeks.
Now for our second town hall in 2018, I’m excited to announce the topic is “The Power of Partnership: Strengthening Education.” It will be held on 13 March at the University of Ghana in Accra, and co-hosted by Yale University, the Higherlife Foundation and Kwese Inc. If you are able to attend in person, that is great. Please RSVP at this link as seating is limited: http://bit.ly/Accra2018_Townhall and don’t forget your ticket. We will also be broadcasting the Town Hall on Facebook Live.
Our town hall discussion will be chaired by Prof Ebenezer Owusu (Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana), in conversation with me, Peter Salovey (President of Yale University), Dr Patrick Awuah (President of Ashesi University), and Elizabeth Elango-Bintliff (CEO of Junior Achievement Africa).
We’ll discuss many education issues on Tuesday, but today let me share just one example of the power of partnership: the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS), a program my wife and I began to support about three year ago.
The idea all got started about five years ago, when several (entrepreneurial) African students at Yale designed a seven-day program to assist African secondary school students thinking of going to study overseas, to overcome challenges they themselves had faced as teenagers trying to get accepted into US universities, such as how to complete the application forms, understand admissions requirements, and apply for financial aid.
Yale first piloted this “pre-university prep program” in Ghana and Ethiopia in 2014. Now what started out as an entrepreneurial “student project” is celebrating its fifth year!
If you’d like to read some first-person stories written by a few scholars who attended YYAS in Zimbabwe last year go to: https://www.higherlifefoundation.com/?s=yale Here’s just one of the comments that made me smile:
“I wasn’t really thrilled spending a week with people I didn’t know especially from other countries; it was definitely going to be the worst 7 days of my summer holidays. . . little did I know that the next few seconds were going to change my life and the way I viewed Africa.”
So who are the key education partners working together to support this initiative which is offered to students free of charge?
# Yale University (The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Dr Ian Shapiro its director, plus faculty and students who develop curricula, teach and share their own experiences with the students).
# University admissions departments who send representatives to the seven-day sessions.
# Local partner organizations: Ahaspora Young Professionals (Ghana), Imbuto Foundation (Rwanda), and Education Matters (Zimbabwe) over the years have each hosted two-day educators’ conferences for local teachers, advisors and headmasters to help equip them to support students, and also assist with on-going mentorship.
Now at Tuesday’s town hall we’ll discuss education partnerships such as YYAS, as well as others in medicine, agriculture, technology and more. If you’re interested, please share your questions below and we’ll do our best to address a few during the discussion.
Remember, this FB platform is also an education partnership. I really value and learn from your comments here. Many of you are a great inspiration to me, and also inspire greatness in each other. That is what the best partnerships are all about.