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Fundi CEO launches inaugural Education Forum

Fundi CEO launches inaugural Education Forum

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Quality education is a powerful enabler for economic growth; more so in Africa which has six of the world’s fastest-growing economies. These were the sentiments shared at the launch of Fundi Capital’s inaugural Education Forum in Johannesburg recently.

Chaired by Milpark MBA alumnus, Amasi Mwela, the chief executive officer of Fundi Capital, the gathering saw eight former heads of states from across Africa and over 600 business leaders and academics converge to discuss a crucial topic: the state of education and funding in Africa.

The former heads of states included Frederick Sumaye, former Prime Minister of Tanzania; Amani Abeid Karume, former President of Zanzibar; Karl Offman, former President of Mauritius; Rupiah Banda, former President of Zambia; Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria; and John Mahama, former President of Ghana.

The Forum’s aim of transforming the African education landscape “will require changes in policy, and it, therefore, seeks to leverage the experience of past African Presidents to influence the debate, and in so doing, Fundi hopes to make a positive contribution to the education landscape in Africa.”

During his opening address, Amasi Mwela said: “The difference is education. My mission was quite simple. We’re dedicating our time to liberate people. My challenge to you is quite simple […] How many liberators are we creating each? How many people are we able to impact? What’s your story?” he then invited the panellists to share their ideas.

Fatima Habib, Fundi board member, shared that while university education is important and necessary for successful economic and personal growth, it’s not realistic and reachable for all people in South Africa. Not only is it not realistic, but it’s also not suited to each individual. She applauded government’s drive in encouraging the ‘practically-gifted’ to pursue vocation training by studying at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

As demonstrated by students recently with the #FeesMustFall movement, funding is a major concern for many students in South Africa. Former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, said: “The government must provide funds, infrastructure and training for teachers. […] However, government alone can no longer fund education.”

Former Ghanaian president, John Mahama emphasised the importance of having an education system that is current and responsive to technological advancements. “Society is changing so fast and education needs to be able to reform itself to change with society and provide the human resource that society needs,” he said.

Frederick Sumaye, former Tanzanian Prime Minister, added that providing an education, particularly at universities, in native languages has proven challenging. “University education is still mainly done in English and there has been a lot of debates asking why we can’t give a university education in our national language, Swahili. We have inherited this education system from Britain so to get the proper materials, particularly in the technical subjects is a challenge. But people are still working on it.”

Other issues discussed included the need for African institutions to modernise and catch up with the digital evolution and that both the government and the private sector need to collaborate, using their combined experience and knowledge to find innovative solutions. 

30 Nov 2017