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Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Innovative Schools Clinches Microsoft Recognition

According to African census reports, about 1/3 of the Sub-Saharan African population consists of youths between the ages of 10 to 24. It is also projected that this number will double by the year 2050 according to World’s Youth 2013 Data Sheet’s projections. This presents an opportunity, in the sense that investing in the education of these youths will stimulate more economic growth and development driven by IT.

This is why Microsoft has taken the initiative of giving recognition to schools and educators around the world who are working towards achieving this goal. It is dubbed Microsoft’s 2014 class of Mentor Schools and the Inaugural Class of Expert Educators. Through this initiative, Microsoft identified four schools and eight teachers from sub-Saharan Africa countries who are doing a phenomenon job in incorporating IT in their teaching, thus improving their teaching effectiveness.

The selection was done from over 250 participants cutting across 80 countries. The schools that won this recognition had to meet certain criteria: They must have shown a commitment to innovation and incorporating technology in making their lessons more creative and inspiring to the students. Djam Bakhshandegi, the Director of Corporate Citizenship and Partners in Learning, West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, said “Over the years we’ve seen incredible advances in what educators are doing with technology. In the early years, using interactive whiteboards as teaching tool was ground-breaking, now we are using 1:1 interactive, online education programs through mobile devices.” Through this initiative, dubbed Microsoft Mentor Schools, the following schools from sub-Saharan Africa were given the highly esteemed recognition:

  • Gayaza High School in Uganda.
  • Government Secondary School Jabi in Nigeria.
  • SARM State Secondary School in Mauritius.
  • The Agha Khan Academy in Kenya.

The eight teachers, who were given the Expert Educator Status awards, are scheduled to attend this year’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum which will be held in Barcelona, Spain in March. They will be representing Kenyan, Senegal, Mauritius, Uganda and Nigeria. The names of the teachers who won this recognition are as listed below:

  • Chole Richard, Jinja, Uganda.
  • Papa Mamadou, Dakar, Senegal.
  • Anil Saccaram, Mauritius.
  • Hannington Ochieng, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • David Muya, Kisumu, Kenya.
  • Ayodele Odeogbola, Nigeria.
  • Veranique Obiakor, Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Ikechukwu Chukwu, Abuja, Nigeria.

Not only does this recognition comes as a major professional development experience to the teachers’ careers, but also it will enable the teachers to be involved in interacting with Microsoft. This will enable innovations and inventions that are all inclusive: since it will allow Microsoft to know what works effectively in class, what does not and come up with participatory forum to develop software where all stakeholders have a contribution.

In the past decade, Microsoft has been actively involved in providing schools and educators assistance under the Partners in Learning initiative, with over $750 million worth of investment in the initiative. The initiative has so far changed for the better, the operations of more than 12 million educators from 134 countries globally. Out of which more than 13 million students from sub-Saharan Africa have directly benefitted from this project.

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