Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'Engineering Change through Education'

Education, argues the honored Dr. Sarah E. Moten at todays luncheon with the National Academy of Public Administration's Africa Working Group, is the soundest investment a country can make it its future. It creates a mold for innovative, aware and confident leaders who will be able to creatively address future challenges. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), along with the Africa Education Initiative, aims to greatly increase the access, quality and longevity of education throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and has already made prominent strides in over 40 nations. Their efforts, coupled with funding and support from the private sector and host governments, are instrumental in the economic development and the social restructuring of the area.

The goals of the USAID programs in Sub-Saharan Africa can be classified into three categories:
  • Increasing Quantity: Maximizing the number of enrolled students (particularly among females and minorities often socially marginalized) and well-trained teachers and administrators, the duration of enrollment, and the accessibility of sufficient textbooks, well-constructed schools,
  • Improving Quality: Optimizing the quality of teachers and school materials.
  • Creative Lasting Sustainability: Creating within the programs a sound infrastructure and administration that will one day be able to stand on its own.

The dedicated efforts of USAID have resulted in the donation of more than 8.5 billion textbooks distributed over 22 countries. They have created effective training programs for teachers in Africa and have encouraged countless American Universities to finance the collegiate education of Africans, so that they might return to their countries to teach. So far, more than 700,000 teachers and administrators have been touched by USAID’s programs.

USAID is not only dramatically altering the accessibility and caliber of education within developing nations: it is redefining foreign investment in education. It respects and embraces the native cultures in which it operates. It creates textbooks with indigenous examples. It customizes the curriculum of each country. By preserving culture within each schools system, USAID smooths the transition to self-sustenance. It motivates children to understand their traditions and reevaluate cultural norms. Their futures, as well as those of children for countless generations to come, will be forever meliorated.

Sponsor: The National Academy of Public Administration
Date: June 6, 2008
Time: 1-3 pm
Representative Attending: Liz Caniano

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