The World Bank and the government of Rwanda recently hosted a forum on higher education in science and technology in Africa. Economic growth in the region over the last few years, driven largely by global demand for raw materials, presents an opportunity for the continent to capitalize on development opportunities this has presented. Conference documentation notes that increasing the number of trained scientists will be crucial to success. The World Bank says that engineers, scientists and health care professionals would add enormous value and help to produce homegrown solutions to ongoing problems such as poverty, food security, climate change, urbanization and health.
Makhtar Diop, World Bank’s Vice President for the Africa Region, emphasizes the importance of promoting the sciences at the primary and secondary levels to ensure that children become proficient in basic skills. Current results, he says, are below international standards. Investments in teacher training and national policies to promote science and technology are needed to overcome this difference.
In 2014, the 60 million girls Foundation will continue funding the Oleleshwa Secondary School in Kenya, part of a total $300,000 investment. We are partnering with Free The Children to give girls in the Maasai Mara region the opportunity to attain an education beyond the primary level. We have also put in place a pilot project in Sierra Leone with our partner, CAUSE Canada. This self-directed computer-based learning project offers math and science tutorials to high school students in rural areas.