Africa is on the move: the continent has some of the fastest-expanding economies in the world with a rapidly growing young population.
Despite recent political upheaval, Guinea-Bissau achieved economic growth of nearly 6 per cent in 2017,1 indicating that the government’s efforts to decrease poverty and boost economic growth are showing signs of success. This small country has a rapidly growing youth population, with nearly two thirds of its 1.8 million people under the age of 24.2 This presents a unique opportunity to leverage the skills, resources and capacities of millions of children and adolescents to support even greater progress and new growth opportunities for them and the societies in which they live. With investments, policies and support, young people can yield a ‘demographic dividend’ at scale and contribute to this national vision. With “Schools for Africa” the Peter Krämer Foundation ensures that all children, including the most remote and marginalized children, are learning and gaining the skills to succeed in life and work. SFA convenes businesses, governments and individuals and has a proven track record in partnering with the private sector to achieve education results for children.
Despite overall stability and economic improvement, Guinea-Bissau still needs to address some key challenges:
• Poor early learning opportunities – nearly half the country’s children aged 6 to 11 years (44 per cent) are out of school and less than three quarters of those go on to secondary school;
• Weak capacity of the education system – children need to receive quality and age-appropriate education, which will require a revision and update of the curriculum, better trained teachers and better equipped schools;
• Access and equity – the majority of children do not have access to pre-school programmes that are critical to school readiness and success. Marginalized groups such as children with disabilities face challenges attending school, as do girls. An estimated 7 per cent of girls under 15 and 37 per cent of those under 18 are married and most likely raising children of their own.
A key educational policy element is the promotion and support of girls. Especially, the school context is called upon to participate in school life and to motivate the children to go to school and not to cease school. So-called “School Management Committees” are actively involved in school life in cooperation with the school directors. The priorities of national education policy are clearly defined: Access to education for children under the age of six and education for girls.
The Peter Krämer Foundation along with its partnres follows children along their entire educational pathway, identifying three critical junctures, or opportunities, for partner investment. This holistic approach to education begins at early learning – the critical preparatory period before primary school begins – then moves to quality primary education – the first few grades where children begin accumulating significant skills – and then continues through adolescence for success, where the goal is to adequately equip adolescents for adulthood. Schools for Africa also spotlights adolescent girls and children with disabilities, who experience significant barriers to attending and staying in school.