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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”.


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Literacy, the Access Code to Healing the World

Education in Nigeria The World Literacy Foundation as a global non-profit organization that seeks to create a greater understanding and awareness of literacy to the wider community through the use of social media, conferences, media, training, research, and collaborative partnerships in the sector. A case study undergone in Nigeria, known as the giant of Africa reports that 35 percent of its adult population is illiterate, and this number remains high because solutions made to address the issue have not seen success in yielding desired results.  Indeed, it is worrisome that 35 percent of the nation’s population is currently facing the consequences of illiteracy. Moreover, it is often unknown that the high rate of illiteracy is, in part, due to the low level of development in Nigeria.  Growth and development in any nation are dependent on the quality of resources available to the entire population.  

Sun BooksUsing solar power to educate

Sun Books is an initiative developed by the World Literacy Foundation that has designed and developed educational software that is preloaded onto solar-powered tablets.  Each tablet contains digital content and eBooks in English and the local language. Tablets are given to classrooms of early primary-level children, and teacher training on the usage of the program is also provided. Each tablet is effective, regardless of Internet access or electricity, which is important in territories such as Uganda where only 26.7% of the population has access to electricity, and Internet connectivity is limited, unstable, and low-speed.  

Ending the poverty cycle

Sun BooksAt the moment our team is based in Gulu, Uganda and we are expanding the project into other locations in Africa such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Guyana, and South Africa. We believe in literacy as the foundation of lifelong learning and education, and people that cannot read or write experience difficulties in developing simple everyday tasks, such as reading medicine labels, filling in job applications, or understanding traffic signs. When we help people to acquire literacy skills, we are empowering them to afford better opportunities in life, and little by little we are striving to break the poverty cycle.
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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.  

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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

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