WhatsApp Image 2022 10 14 at 1.16.52 PM

The importance of Culturally Relevant Content on Education

Culturally relevant teaching, is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning.

Culture is a condition for educational success. Without it, education does not fully meet its objectives. Lack of cultural content reduces the effectiveness of educational action and, on the contrary, a culturally relevant content allows a better use of resources and pedagogical methods.

Children reading

The importance of culture in education lies in the fact that it can become a powerful tool to reach the maximum potential of children.

Heritage is one of the elements of identity construction in early childhood. Country of birth, family customs, social dynamics and practices of the region in which they live form the encyclopedia of knowledge from which children construct their thoughts, character and expectations.

Thus, education, while providing the tools to introduce students to global knowledge, must develop and maintain local knowledge.

Educating globally, but also nationally and locally, is relevant when we speak of the meaning of education and when we affirm that we must guide our education towards cultural development.

Literacy programs have a challenge in providing global content for children in remote areas without losing the essence of their native culture. Likewise, the educational process is more fluid when students have material within their reach that allows them to feel identified.

Boy reading on tablet

At Sun Books we understand the importance of maintaining customs and generating identity from the content that children consume in our digital library. That’s why we work hand in hand with volunteers, teachers, and students to  generate culturally relevant content in both mother tongue ​​and english.

Each of the countries where we are present has its own local content library, so children can find material that allows them to learn how to read and write while strengthening and maintaining their cultural heritage.

Solar panel

Solar energy: a solution for Africa’s chronic power problems

Currently, in Sub-Saharan Africa, just one person in five has access to electricity. Those who do have it, on average pay almost twice as much as in other parts of the world. Energy shortages cost Africa between 2% and 4% of GDP per year.

More than 30 African countries are now experiencing power shortages and regular interruptions in service. Leading to problems for schools to develop consistent activities.

Electricity is an important step toward enhancing people’s opportunities and choices. Solar and wind energy are more promising for large-scale power generation. Furthermore, conditions for solar power are excellent in Africa, where sunlight is plentiful and much more reliable than elsewhere.

As part of Sun Books actions, we installed a solar panel in BOJED Primary School, positively impacting more than 50 pupils, teachers and families.

Sun Books teacher

” I, Mrs. Oluwagbemiga Evelyn, the Head of School of BOJED Primary School, Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria wishes to express my gratitude to you for solving the problem of blackout in our school. Before you installed the solar, we were having challenges with charging the tabs you gave us due to the problem of electricity in our community. This problem has persisted for years and ages in our society and in the country at large. We are so glad that we can now use the tabs everyday and any time without waiting for days until power is installed. Moreover, the pupils are eager to learn and the parents are excited about it. There is now literacy improvement among the students. The solar installation will further help to fast track the learning speed and literacy development of the learners. Power is light and light is joy. With a joyful heart, education is easier. Thank you so much for making learning easy for us”.


Literacy Can Improve Life

Literacy Can Improve Your Quality Of Life

Vice Chair Sabree Education Services Gambia

Literacy is the ability to read and write in one’s native tongue. However, many people are not able to read and write in their native language. Reading and writing is critical for living in the 21st century and beyond. Which is why we must tackle Illiteracy, a huge problem in the Black community including people of African descent around the world.

In a modern context, we must recognize that literacy, reading and writing, is one of the many ways we can liberate ourselves as Africans and become self-determining people. When we write our own stories we’ll tell the truth about our histories, and our children will be able to read about the greatness of our ancestors – told from our perspective. When people are able to read and write it helps them to reason, think critically and problem solve among other things. When our people are able to read and write they can develop a love of self and not spend millions on bleaching creams, instead investing their money in our continent for its development, for its future. When will policy makers on our continent start looking towards the future and investing in human capital when it comes to literacy?

Literacy Can Improve Life1200x300Illiteracy is defined as not knowing how to read or write beyond a basic level, understanding directions, or having the capacity to complete tasks in a timely manner.

A person can either be purely or functionally illiterate. Purely illiterate individuals cannot read or write in any capacity for all practical purposes. In contrast, functionally illiterate individuals can read and potentially write simple sentences with a limited vocabulary, but cannot read or write well enough to handle the daily requirements of life in their own society.

Many young children on our continent enter school speaking their native tongue  however, do not experience any continuity with that language – instead being taught in Arabic or a European language. This process of language learning might be disruptive to our young learners, as research shows that when young children have the foundation of literacy in their native tongue it is easier for them to transition to another language.

According to the Global Education Monitoring Report, at least 14% of adults across the world are illiterate. In 2015, 58 million children and 63 million teenagers did not have access to basic and secondary education and were not able to learn how to read or write; with women representing two thirds of 781 million illiterates worldwide. The report also cites that 9 out of 10 countries with the highest illiteracy rate are African countries! (For more details see Global Education Monitoring Report.)

According to an infograph released by the Unesco Institute for Statistics on Literacy as of 2015, sub-Saharan Africa has a 64% literacy rate. South Sudan ranks lowest of them all, with a literacy rate of just 27%,  Burkina Faso at 28.7%, Niger at 28.7%, Mali at 33.4%, Chad at 35.4%, Somalia at 37.8%, Ethiopia at 39%, Guinea at 41% and Benin at 42.4%. This same research  found that of the 774 million illiterate adults recorded in 2013, two thirds of these, or about 493 million, are women who are unable or have difficulties reading text messages, filling out forms and reading their doctor’s prescription. Additionally, there are 123 million people between 15 and 24 years of age who cannot read or write. Of these illiterate youth, 76 million are women and 54 million of them are based in only nine countries: IndiaPakistanNigeria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of TanzaniaEgypt and Burkina Faso.

Currently The Gambia has a 36% literacy rate. Statistics also show that the median age of the population in the Gambia from 1950 to 2050* is 17.5 years old. With a strong youth population, Gambia must take seriously the cause of literacy and recognize the need to educate young boys and girls.

These statistics are mind blowing considering our continent has the youngest population on the planet. With this knowledge, when will policy makers begin to do long term planning for the next 100 years by investing in our infants and toddlers? What is the plan to increase literacy? What is the plan for our youth population? Will we allow them all to flee their communities to Europe or South America on makeshift boats?

Educating your youth population is crucial for our continent’s continued positive growth, and development. When we invest in literacy, we will also see the results in our people. Among the several benefits of literacy in an individual, the ability to read and write helps to build self-esteem and self confidence in citizens.

Part of this self-confidence comes from one’s ability to express oneself with an extensive vocabulary. The inability to express yourself through writing or speaking can be frustrating. This can lead to anxiety, depression, or other issues that impact the overall quality of life. The more able a person is to express themselves, the greater their confidence, their self-esteem, and their chance at living a happy, healthy life.

Many of our young children (0-5yrs) on the continent do not have access to books.These early years are critical for brain development, as the architecture of the brain is being formed. Not having access to books the young brain is missing out on valuable experiences  that young children need,we call them life skills.

Having access to books expands the knowledge of young children, allowing them to learn about other children’s culture and beliefs. Books allow children to enhance their communication skills and learn how to make decisions and have choices. When reading, books can transport them to new places, and help them learn, creative out of the box thinking.

The World Literacy Foundation reported that illiteracy and low levels of literacy estimated costs total approximately £800 billion to the global economy annually. Global economies are moving towards a knowledge-based economy, to adequately prepare our communities, literacy will be an essential skill to compete in the global economy. With the high proportion of illiterate adults on the continent so many opportunities remain inaccessible as individuals are not adequately skilled to participate in this growing global economy. This results in slower GDP growth in the long term.

As an educator, I have observed that investing in infants and toddlers gives our society a 100% Return on Investment (ROI). When children get to kindergarten with pre-literacy skills, they will begin a journey of lifelong learning and grow up to be positive contributors to our continent. Investing in the early years will help prepare the next generation of African leaders and citizens. When we encourage children in this way, we help develop children’s brains, so they grow up to become adults who are able to use their executive functioning.

I hope that policy makers on the African continent will begin to understand the many  benefits of having a literate continent. When we invest in literacy during the first 2000 days we will have a literate continent. When we invest in the future now, our continent will be able to compete in the global economy in the future. Let’s get our children ready to participate in 21st and 22nd century markets.

Daseta Gray

Vice Chair,  Sabree Education Services Gambia

Edited by: Nyasha Franklin


  • Basit, Nimra. “15 Reasons Why Reading Is Important.” Curious Desire, 26 Oct. 2021, https://curiousdesire.com/reasons-why-reading-is-important/#5_Reading_Expands_Horizons. 
  • Dirie, Waris. “Africa Has the Highest Illiteracy Rate Worldwide.” Save a Little Desert Flower, 29 Mar. 2016, https://www.desertflowerfoundation.org/en/news-detail/africa-has-the-highest-illiteracy-rate-worldwide.html. 
  • Giovetti, Olivia. “6 Benefits of Literacy in the Fight against Poverty.” Concern Worldwide, 27 Apr. 2020, https://www.concernusa.org/story/benefits-of-literacy-against-poverty/#: 
  • Cago, Lanessa. “25 Most Illiterate Countries.” WorldAtlas, WorldAtlas, 25 Apr. 2017, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-lowest-literacy-rates-in-the-world.html. 
  • Low, Amanda, and Nicola Miranda. “The Impact of Illiteracy and the Importance of Early Intervention.” World Literacy Foundation, 23 July 2021, https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/early-intervention-reduces-illiteracy. 
  • “Why Literacy?” World Literacy Foundation, 3 June 2022, https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/why-literacy/.
blog sunbooks

Shifting perspectives on using communication devices as learning tools can increase access to education and support learning in low resource contexts

Using devices like smartphones as learning tools can be a low-cost, high impact method of increasing access to education, especially for hard-to-reach learners

Around the world, crises are increasing the number of children who are losing access to education. Conflict in Ukraine, militias in eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, gang violence in Central America, and the growing food crisis in the eastern Africa are adding to already staggering numbers of children who are displaced and falling behind in education. By the end of 2021, children and families displaced by war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses stood at 89.3 million, up eight per cent from a year earlier and well over double the figure of 10 years ago, according to UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report.

Providing quality education in low resource countries is difficult enough without the added challenges associated with crises, especially for migrants and refugee children who lose access to  traditional school environments. In addition, crises are not monolithic; contexts are different in each one, adding to the challenges of finding ways to keep children accessing education and learning as they travel from country to country. What works in one situation may not work in another.

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) believes education technology can continue children’s learning when access to traditional education environments is limited. With devices as simple as a mobile or smartphone, children, parents and their teachers can access evidence-based literacy and learning applications and thousands of high-quality digital books in languages they use and understand–whether they are at home, on the move, in refugee camps, migrant settlements, reading clubs, or host-country schools and libraries.

With devices as simple as a mobile or smartphone, children, parents and their teachers can access evidence-based literacy and learning applications and thousands of high-quality digital books in languages they use and understand….

Shifting perspectives

Smartphone with a screen shot of Feed the Monster, an app to help increase foundational literacyInnovators like Curious Learning are shifting perspectives on using devices like smartphones from communication tools to learning tools, especially for hard to reach learners. The organization localizes, distributes and measures use of digital learning software, including Feed the Monster–a literacy app created through the ACR GCD EduApp4Syria competition in 2016–which is now available in more than 50 languages with 600,000+ users globally. Most recently, the organization created a Ukrainian version of the app, which reached over 100,000 downloads within two months.

“The traditional model views schools as the single entry point to children’s learning,” says Creesen Naicker, Curious Learning’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, “but we take a ‘fit for purpose’ approach.”

EdTech enables literacy content to be easily adapted to different situations, explains Naicker. Giving children access to learning through apps like Feed the Monster can fill gaps in support of traditional education–or the absence of it–and high-quality content featured in Feed the Monster, digital libraries and other learning applications don’t need to be delivered by a trained facilitator and can be used alone, in groups or in school, Naicker points out.

But EdTech faces challenges in getting into the hands of children. Naicker says there’s a need to shift paradigms in the education sector. “There are several limiting beliefs that hold individuals and institutions back from pursuing innovative and potentially game changing solutions using new mediums like smartphones,” he says.

Naicker and other innovators often find themselves mythbusting misconceptions about EdTech, like it’s too expensive, it isolates children, children don’t have access to devices, or that it has little educational value or just doesn’t work–the last being a misconception too often encountered by Rama Kayyali of Little Thinking Minds and Nedjma Koval of INTEGRATEDACR GCD grant awardees in 2014.

“There are so many naysayers out there, which is shocking in the post-COVID environment,” reflects Koval, who says the issue is compounded by the wide range of EdTech available, some of which does not work, and the need to help people distinguish between those and evidence-based and tested EdTech that is extremely effective in improving reading and learning.

Below are several key concepts and examples around when and how EdTech can provide access to education and support continued learning for children in low-resource contexts, including crisis and conflict situations.

Edtech is a game changer when appropriately applied 

Over the past 10 years, ACR GCD has compiled a range of research and resources showing that EdTech with high-quality content, when applied appropriately, enables access to learning for marginalized populations, significantly lowers the cost of providing reading content and exponentially improves reading outcomes. Our technology-based literacy projects have not only effectively disseminated new or existing learning materials to underserved populations in languages they use and understand but also enabled equitable access to teaching and learning materials for children with disabilities.

In particular, EdTech with high-quality content can be a game changer in contexts where it provides access to education and learning materials for a child who previously did not have access, where it significantly lowers the cost of providing access as compared to the status quo, and where it can significantly increase relevant learning outcomes as compared to current programs.

Increasing inclusive access

When applied appropriately, EdTech can be an equalizer for access to literacy, particularly for girls and children with disabilities.

For example, digital literacy games and apps can increase reading outcomes in out of school settings for girls, particularly those who are denied other educational opportunities. When evaluating the impact of two of the literacy apps created through the EduApp4Syria Prize, Feed the Monster and Antura and the Lettersdata on both apps show girls making gains, particularly in oral reading fluency, which is a strong predictor of reading comprehension. A recent World Bank study that distributed $40 cell phones preloaded with Feed the Monster and the Global Digital Library to 3,000 children in Northern Nigeria indicates that literacy apps in homes have a spillover effect, increasing literacy skills in siblings (including sisters) at a just slightly lower percentage than the main child using the app.

Screenshot of the World Around You platformProducing high-quality digital books with accessible formats and features–like text highlighting, audio, eBraille, large print and sign language–ensures children with disabilities have the same opportunities to participate in education. The World Around You platform, created with funding awarded through the ACR GCD Sign on For Literacy Prize, includes an online library of digital sign language storybooks as well as open source software that enables communities to create literacy content in local and national sign languages. These storybooks are easily accessed on smartphones, tablets and computers in homes, classrooms and other settings, and can be downloaded as ePubs and used offline. In Malawi, ACR GCD innovator eKitabu is creating 220 eBraille storybooks, which can be uploaded on Orbit readers (a refreshable braille display and stand-alone reader device). With funding from ACR GCD, Benetech’s human narrated stories on Bookshare provide students who are blind and low vision with accessible educational content to listen to on low-cost audio devices while simultaneously reading braille. (Learn more about reading materials for children who are blind and low vision.)

EdTech grounded in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles is particularly effective in advancing inclusive learning with accessible digital content. UDL is a theoretical framework that focuses on assisting teachers in planning to meet students’ diverse needs and developing flexible learning environments and learning spaces that can accommodate individual learning differences. Last year, ACR GCD awardee eKitabu trained teachers in the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps how to apply the three UDL principles through the use of hands-on examples using the android tablets provided by Humanity and Inclusion and loaded with accessible digital content.

Improving psychosocial outcomes and social connections

EdTech can also impact a child’s emotional and psychological well-being as well as build connections in communities.

Feed the Monster and Antura and the Letters were designed to not only build foundational literacy but also improve the psychosocial well-being for Syrian refugee children. Parents of children using the apps reported that their children were not only improving their reading skills by using the app but were happy afterwards.

In 2018, Little Thinking Minds implemented the Live in Harmony multimedia project in 100 public schools in Jordan as part of the Ministry of Education’s work to provide an innovative approach to educational needs of children, with a focus on instilling social values and improving social cohesion through multimedia learning. The project not only resulted in an increase in literacy performance and awareness of social cohesion vocabulary, but also an increase in social and collaborative behavior among Syrians and Jordanians children attending double-shifted schools.

According to the World Bank, EdTech can also create new connections between teachers, students, parents and broader communities to reform and reimagine the way education is delivered.

Taking advantage of growing mobile phone ownership and use

Estimates of how much of the world’s population own smart or mobile phones ranges from 50% to more than 80%, and the number is growing. Smartphones and the ability to access social media platforms through them are now an essential part of a refugee’s toolkit. In 2016, UNHCR reported that 71% of the world’s refugee households at that time owned a mobile phone, and 93% of all refugees lived in areas covered by either 2G or 3G networks, representing a potential way to communicate with and provide resources to these populations.

And, according to Curious Learning’s data, children are using their parents’ phones. “Either millions of adults are playing our early learning apps, or their children are,” says Naicker.

Making a low-cost, big impact

A cell phone with a screenshot of the online digital platform, Global Digital LibraryA substantial amount of evidence-based, effective EdTech reading and learning material is available for free use, adaptation and distribution. For example, online libraries like the Global Digital LibraryBloomLet’s Read Asia and others house thousands of free high-quality, accessible digital reading and learning materials that are available online and offline, downloadable, adaptable and able to be translated online as well, making reading material easily–and cheaply– accessible in languages children use and understand.

Social media has proven to be a powerful tool in promoting high-quality digital apps and games. “We’ve been able to put apps in the hands of children at very low costs,” says Naicker. In Nepal, Curious Learning spent $10,000 on Facebook promotion and reached 135,000 children. During their promotional push to Ukrainian refugees, Naicker reports that the average advertising cost per download was 15 cents.

Innovators, humanitarian organizations and others serving populations where smartphones and digital devices are scarce might consider whether programs that distribute devices preloaded with literacy and learning apps may be effective. The World Bank study that distributed inexpensive cell phones preloaded with Feed the Monster and the Global Digital Library to children in Northern Nigeria provides compelling evidence that high-quality EdTech can improve reading outcomes in as little as five days, with learning outcomes continuing to improve one month out–leading researchers to recommend similar EdTech interventions to address literacy and education.

The World Bank study that distributed inexpensive cell phones preloaded with Feed the Monster and the Global Digital Library to children in Northern Nigeria provides compelling evidence that high-quality EdTech can improve reading outcomes in as little as five days, with learning outcomes continuing to improve one month out–leading researchers to recommend similar EdTech interventions to address literacy and education.

Thinking beyond 1:1 child/device ratio to increase access and impact–and address the digital divide 

To increase impact and usage of digital books and content–and address the digital divide, educators and innovators should also consider thinking beyond the one-to-one child-to-device paradigm.

For example, using digital, open source and accessible teaching and learning materials on smartphones connected to PICO projectors can turn any environment into a learning environment, complementing printed books, when they are available, and extending access to  reading materials especially for children who use underserved languages and children with disabilities.

In contexts with no functioning community or school libraries, an e-library with collections of as few as 5 tablets that can be lent out to or used by children in community centers, reading camps and child friendly spaces. This type of lending library is attractive to children, provides personalized learning and ICT skills acquisition.

Both of the above strategies not only increase impact and usage but also address barriers to using digital learning materials and books.

Be part of the solution

Be part of the solution for the more than 584 million children globally waiting for the opportunity to learn to read.

Together, we can advance EdTech solutions to improve reading outcomes for marginalized children across the world.

Author: All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge For Development


Reading Day with UP, Sun Books and WLF

Reading Day to Encourage Children to Read More

The Reading Day event that took place at Confidence College in the Pretoria CBD on Friday, 15 October, was aimed at inspiring learners to read and add meaning to text in an interactive, fun, and creative way. This event was organized by our partner in South Africa, Dr. Mia le Roux (Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria), the board member of the Gauteng branch of the Literacy Association of South Africa (Litasa) in collaboration with Mrs Anélize van Eeden (principal of Confidence College) and Dr. Renata Eccles (fourth-year Speech-Language Pathology practical module coordinator in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, UP). Dr. Le Roux and Dr. Bernice Badal (English Department, UNISA, and chair of the Gauteng branch of Litasa), attended the event at the school and took part in the activities.

Reading Day with UP, Sun Books and WLF


The students of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, UP, facilitated the activities with the grade RR to grade 7 classes. The events per class started with a song, a rhyme or a brief game focused on the story followed by the story being read. The learners then had the opportunity to do various fun educational activities relating to the different stories read.

Reading Day

The characters in the stories came alive amongst drawings, crowns, cowboy hats, hen- and goat masks, spiderwebs, and many more. In turn, the school came alive with splashes of color in different hues flashing by as busy feet, minds, ears, and hands moved to the rhythm and rhyme of the words making them come alive in a memorable way.

 The principal, Mrs. Van Eeden, said that “the atmosphere was loaded with excitement since the Monday prior to the actual event”. On Friday, she was wearing a story character dress with drawings made by herself and painted by the learners. The staff and learners dressed up in various costumes each relating to a specific story being read per class. Everybody involved felt that it was a highly successful event. Dr. Badal offered special thanks to the principal and staff “who showed us that growing up does not mean that we need to forget that learning is fun”. She continued to thank the students from the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, UP, who prepared and executed all the activities with passion and dedication.  She concluded by thanking the sponsors of the event, the World Literacy Foundation (WLF), Sun Books, and Tobias, saying that the Gauteng branch of Litasa is grateful to all the key players that made this day possible and hope that many similar events will take place in future.


Dr. Le Roux mentioned that fostering lifelong literacy is often forgotten in the drive to improve the literacy skills of Foundation Phase learners. However, the need to be competent readers never stops; in fact, it becomesReading aloud at the classroom more important as learners enter higher grades and the need for reading and understanding complex academic text increases. This event by the Gauteng branch of Litasa is therefore seen as the first of many, especially as the principal of the school expressed the hope that the Reading Day will be repeated on a yearly basis.

The students involved stated that one must never forget that literacy forms the foundation of academic success. They mentioned that participating in the Reading Day at Confidence College was a privilege and working with the learners was extremely exciting and rewarding. The final year Speech-Language Pathology students also conducted hearing screening on 33 children with the support of a Master’s audiology student. There are plans to conduct hearing screening on more children from Confidence College next year. This community engagement project allowed the students from the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, UP, to accumulate much needed practical hours. Dr. Eccles observed that the students had the opportunity to have fun within their professional training. She continued to say that the students “got a chance to remember the reason they do all this hard work and the difference they can make!”. 

Finally, Prof Jeannie van der Linde, head of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at UP concluded with the following statement: “As a department, we strive to improve the literacy of our children to ensure that they have the capacity to excel academically. Book reading from an early age is one of the best ways of improving literacy abilities in young children. Fostering a love for reading is, therefore, the name of the game.” 



University of Pretoria

Dr. Mia le Roux (Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria)

Dr. Renata Eccles (fourth-year Speech-Language Pathology practical module coordinator in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, UP)

africa online education 2

Disparity Between Ideal and Real Online Education

The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new approaches but also new challenges to the world. Education systems have been affected and consequently are witnessing significant changes in their policies and methodologies.

The Online Education

UNESCO suggests different ways to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on education, some of them are linked to technological platforms and the internet.

In some African countries, an introduction of online learning resources and strategies has allowed learning to continue. This approach seems ideal, considering the need for social distancing measures, however, there are challenges not yet addressed by governments hoping to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the education sector.

Access to the Internet

In 2018, a UN study published through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), showed that only half of the world population had access to the internet. For instance, in Africa, around 24% of the population use the internet (an increase from 2.1% in 2005).

Although access to the internet is increasing, there are many countries in Africa where a large percentage of the population is still offline. High prices, slow connections and weak infrastructure have been reported as the main problems and definitely limit the effectiveness of teaching and learning through online platforms.

africa online education 1

Teachers Training

An effective and inclusive implementation of online education must also consider factors such as learning resources and teacher training. There is vast inequality in the access to digital learning tools, including infrastructure, equipment and teacher’s preparedness.

But it’s not all bad news. The online teaching practices during the Covid-19 crisis are pushing the education sector for a technology upgrade and a positive system transformation that will endure into the future.


  • UN
  • ITU
featured covid19

Education in Sub Saharan Africa

covid3The barriers of virtual teaching The COVID-19 outbreak has stopped the world in its tracks. It has unavoidably brought about a temporal lockdown of schools and colleges across the globe. As a result, a shifted focus on virtual teaching and learning has been an inevitable option for many educational institutions. Unfortunately, however, this path has not proven to be a panacea to the problem of disruptions in learning conditions but has instead, highlighted the educational inequity in the world. Students living in disadvantaged areas are faced with challenges such as lack of technological devices at home, limited or no internet connection, digital illiteracy, and electricity shortage.  According to the UNESCO, approximately 56 million of the world’s population live in areas that do not have access to a mobile network. Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes half of this population. 90 percent of students do not have household computers, while 82 percent are unable to get online.  

Sun Books 1

The low-cost tech solution to education

The digital divide continues to widen in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, there are more than 120 million children and students out of school in West and Central Africa and those in excluded areas cannot keep up with homeschooling. Online distant education is an adequate initiative for keeping students learning during COVID-19 pandemic but many youths and children in rural communities are lagging in technological advancement. Several bodies are working to investigate and explore new technological innovations that promote and facilitate online teaching and learning in rural areas. For instance, the World Literacy Foundation has developed the Sun Books App that is pre-loaded onto solar-powered tablets, allowing African youths and children who live in remote localities access to hundreds of eBooks, literacy activities, and videos without internet connection or electricity. This is a low-cost solution that will keep children in a disadvantaged condition at home learning during the school’s lockdown.

How can we help?

If e-Learning initiatives are going to be implemented in developing countries like those in Sub-Saharan Africa, there should be proper education policies supported by the right innovative learning/teaching tools and a solid educational infrastructure in place. At the moment, there are many non-profit organizations working day by day to mobilize resources to assist learners in low-income areas. Still, they have been unable to successfully accomplish their objectives due to a lack of financial and human resources. It is time to join forces and foster partnerships to complement the efforts of these organizations towards meeting the needs of students who are now at home susceptible to educational setbacks. With this, the goal of quality education would be attainable without any community, classroom, or individual falling behind. Help the World Literacy Foundation close the educational gap and promote educational equality for all.

Written by: Aduloju Favour.
Edited by: Jennifer Rennie – Blue Autumn Copy


  • worldbank.org


©Copyright Sun Books. All right reserved.

An initiative by the World Literacy Foundation

©Copyright Sun Books. All right reserved. An initiative by the World Literacy Foundation

Pin It on Pinterest

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with the latest news.
We respect your privacy.