Tag Archives: economic access

Namibia: The High Cost of Education

7 Sep

A recent article by allafrica has highlighted a significant stumbling block in Namibia (and Africa’s) wider goal to tackle illiteracy and poverty; namely, that the cost of education is too much for many people to afford.

High school costs means fewer pupils can attend lessons.

Maurus Nekaro, the Governor of Kavango Region in Namibia, spoke of how education costs are far too high to be inclusive. Nekaro also pointed to the importance of incorporating media and communications technologies into education in order to enhance studies and facilitate rapid progress. Of course, such technologies cost money and, with fees already on the rise, would such proposals further inhibit the affordability of education?

Nekaro’s comments come at the same time as another headline: tuition and hostel fees at the Polytechnic of Namibia are to rise by 7% and 10% respectively from early next year. Such an increment has enraged the Student’s Representative Council who believe they will see no improvement in the quality of services at the Poly. Members of the Student’s Representative Council have already complained of small classrooms and overcrowding. With the cost of education set to soar in Namibia, questions arise as to how this will affect wider access to post-secondary education in the country. In order to tackle illiteracy and poverty, affordable education must be a higher priority.


Photo credit: Caitlin Heller, Wikipedia


News in Cote d’Ivoire: ‘Back to School’ Initiative Launched.

1 Jul

Cote D'Ivoire, West Africa

The five month political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa) came to an end in early April; however a humanitarian crisis has increasingly spread. The Office of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that hundreds of thousands of civilians are STILL displaced, more than two months after the former President Laurent Gbagbo surrendered.

Almost a million children have been affected and over 15% are still unable to return to a stable education institution– many schools were looted or destroyed during the fighting. Moreover, many teachers fled the violence and have still not returned to their classrooms. There is a desperate educational need growing in the country.

Exacerbating the problem is the underlying fact that the education system in the country was weak in the first place. One million children in Cote d’Ivoire have never even been to school. Of the schools that have re-opened and are functioning in the Central, North and West areas, 83.1% do not have the required numbers of desks in classrooms and most lack sufficient latrine capacity, and potable water.

Children in a class in Abidjan*


UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have recently launched a ‘Back to School’ initiative which is attempting to address these problems. In conjunction with Save the Children, they are targeting one million children through social mobilisation efforts, by improving learning environments and investing in infrastructure. It is a promising project that should begin to lay the foundation for post secondary education in the country – only children that finish primary and secondary school can progress to a higher education future. We applaud UNICEF, The Ministry of Education and Save the Children in their efforts and we will continue to promote the post-secondary education message throughout Cote d’Ivoire and the rest of Africa.


Image Source: Zenman, Wikipedia.org

News Sources: UNICEF and Allafrica.com

Heading Towards Keetmanshoop, Namibia!

21 May

A long way to go....

The last few days of Jolandie’s travels have been quite eventful. Cycling towards Grünau mid-week (Grünau is the border town between South Africa and Namibia), Jolandie had a 70km cycle to tackle. Late to start due to (yet another) flat tyre, Jolandie had a long uphill struggle and managed to cover 30km in four hours! The following 10km offered a little downhill break and she even stopped by the side of the road for a short while to give her first live radio interview in Namibia on 5 FM! Jolandie definitely knows how to maximise the potential of a day.

 Picking up the road again, Jolandie pushed ahead and cycled well into the moonlight hours. At 21hr15 she called it quits for the day, rolled out her sleeping bag into a nice deep ditch and was out like a light until dawn.

A nice, comfortable ditch - no tent required.

The second half of the road to Grünau was a little faster on Thursday – and Jolandie received plenty of supporting beeps from truckers that passed her by! Today will hopefully be a day of rest for Jolandie if she reaches Keetmanshoop – and very well deserved.

Jolandie is looking very happy after having a warm shower.

I shall leave the final words of this update with the cyclist herself, as she experienced a gesture of friendship and goodwill that will stay with her for the long road ahead. Such a story demonstrates how much she values all of your support along the way…

Diary entry, Thursday 19th May:
“A friend in Windhoek (although we haven’t met, I call him my friend), Raymond Spall, sent me a little gift. A woman came round the corner with a cup and a note in hand. The note read: “from Raymond Spall”. He had organised me a cup of hot milo, all the way from out Windhoek! That small gesture just about had me in tears!!”

A generous, and very welcome, gift!


The IMF Successor Must Prioritise Education

20 May

The scandal-fuelled resignation of Dominique Strauss Kahn as head of the IMF has raised some serious issues about who will succeed to lead the financial institution. The IMF has been under increasing pressure to appoint a non-European head, and many anti-poverty campaigners have argued that – due to the state of the global economy – the candidate must be chosen from an international pool of suitable individuals. The key question is – how will the choice of candidate affect education in Africa?

Gordon Brown, ex-Prime Minister of the UK and a potential candidate for the top IMF position, has recently criticised the international community (and the G8 powers in particular) for failing to honour their commitments to the Millennium Development Goal on education. Reforming education, he has indicated, should be a top priority for the IMF under new leadership as there are still 67 million primary-school-age children, and even more adolescent children, out of school. Developing countries require 1.8 million more teachers and further spending on school facilities if they are to realise their economic capabilities.* However, traditional IMF economic planning operates on a three year cycle which puts countries in a difficult position as they cannot always justify short-term spending on education.

Education is a human right


Speaking in South Africa, Brown has launched a report that warns of an “education emergency” emerging in the developing world. This emergency will continue to undermine efforts to boost economic growth and tackle poverty if it is left unheeded – therefore the new leader of the IMF must address education as a top priority and reform their current approach.

 *Source: The Guardian

Jolandie will soon enter Namibia – What is the education system like?

14 May

In a couple of days Jolandie will be crossing the border into Namibia – South Africa will be behind her and the rest of the journey up ahead. Jolandie says, “For me, the adventure starts here”! The education situation in Namibia has recently been entering the news and so Jolandie could not have better timing on her ‘Cycle For Education’ tour.

All Roads Point to Namibia

A new Minister for Education was appointed for Namibia in March 2010: Dr Abraham Iyambo. Shortly after taking up the position, Dr. Iyambo declared that:

“The Government sees education as an indispensable and long-term investment. The more we invest in the future of our children, the more we can withdraw from those banks of knowledge and the closer we come to attaining our country’s vision.” (Source: newera.com.na)

 However, a year later the situation remains worryingly below acceptable. In mid-April of this year Dr. Abraham Iyambo delivered harsh criticisms of principals, education inspectors, advisory teachers, and textbook officials in Namibia. Dr. Iyambo stated that he has often witnessed teachers and principals arriving to their school unprepared, late or even drunk! Inspectors frequently fail to reprimand the principals not performing to national standard and the interaction between each level of administration within the education sector is poor. (Source: AllAfrica). Of course, a sub-standard education sector will limit the opportunity the country’s youth have of betterment through higher education.

 Jolandie’s cycle tour through Namibia will coincide with the build up to the National Education Conference to be held in the capital from the 27th June where Dr. Iyambo will directly address these issues. Representing Iduka when travelling the country, Jolandie will raise the bar of the education stakes for the Conference (and will hopefully point a few students and volunteers our way!).

 Updates on Jolandie’s travels at the moment will follow soon…

Jolandie will soon cross to Namibia!

10 Days on the Road

6 May

Entering Moorreesburg!

After just over a week on the ‘Cycle For Education’ Tour, Jolandie has experienced enough to fill a month! Crowds gave her a fantastic send off from Cape Town on the 27th April, but misfortune struck on the following day… Jolandie fell ill with flu. Cycling 50km, she made it to Malmesbury and then was forced to rest for a little while to recover. Pushing forward, on day three, Jolandie managed to make the cold and windy journey to Moorreesburg, but the illness would not shake off! Moreover, weather forecasts predicted rain from the 3rd May until today… so Jolandie decided to take a few days to rest and recuperate. She will need full strength for what lies ahead and already the elements have pushed challenges in her way.

Jolandie predicts that she will reach the border and enter Namibia in about 10 days time. Namibia is situated on Africa’s South-West coast. With a population of just 2.2 million, it is sparsely populated and mainly filled with desert land (this will increase the challenges on Jolandie’s journey!)

Jolandie on the road

Namibia will be holding a national ‘Conference on Education’ from June 27 to July 1 in the capital city, Windhoek. The Conference will provide an in-depth analysis of the education system at all levels and will seek to improve the system for ‘Quality Learning Outcomes and Quality of Life’ (Source: The Namibian). Jolandie’s Cycle for Education through Namibia could not be better timed – by delivering her open letter to the leaders of Namibia when she crosses the border, Jolandie will be helping to raise the profile of higher education at a time when the country itself will be reflecting on educational issues.

News Source:

The Namibian (2011), ‘Conference on education in June’, (Accessed 5 May 2011)

Cycle For Education – Why It Matters…

21 Apr

Jolandie Rust is about to set off on the biggest challenge of her life – in six days she will begin the 40,000km circumnavigation of Africa. Just one girl, just one bicycle. But this challenge means more to Jolandie than physical achievement… along the way she hopes to serve as an inspiration for girls everywhere and spread a message that education is the key to prosperity. Jolandie, as Iduka’s Goodwill Ambassador, will be delivering an open letter to African leaders in each country, asking them to promote and protect higher education in the continent.

Education is an incredibly important issue. The second Millennium Development Goal, outlined 11 years ago, continues to call for universal primary education. This crucial education requirement will construct the foundation for secondary school learning, which ultimately provides students with the development needed to progress into further education and the world of sustainable employment. The transformative power of education to break generational cycles of poverty must be recognised! Through education boys and girls can gain the skills and knowledge needed to transform the prosperity of local communities and support the development of their nation.

Sadly, the truth remains that Africa has the lowest primary school completion rates in the world and the majority of out-of-school children are girls (UNESCO).

School children in Kenya

Iduka is currently working with local students and volunteers in all African countries in order to assist African students to achieve their dream of further education. In particular, Iduka will be specifically targeting girls’ education. Jolandie, by representing Iduka, will be giving the campaign a voice. Cycle For Education is not just about pushing the boundaries of solo female cycling, it is also about creating momentum for a cause that so many young boys and girls dream of – higher education!

11 Scholarships You Don’t Want to Miss

24 Mar

Do you want to study at a world-class university in the second-largest city in Austria? What about attending one of 38 Australian universities?

If you or any undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate student you know is looking for a scholarship to study abroad, here are some exciting choices you don’t want to miss.

Some cover most fields of study, while others target very specific areas, like Mechanical Engineering, Environment, and Journalism. Most, however, stress areas of development African countries need in order to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in the region.

You must act now, as some deadlines are approaching fast.

Having a difficult time making up your mind? Let us know when you do. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance with your application process.

Student volunteer interns who successfully completed phase 1 of our Iduka Africa Pilot Project (iAPP) can request their certificate of participation by contacting their regional coordinator. You may need it when applying for some of these scholarships.

New student volunteers and student interns wanting to re-enroll in phase 2, please click here. All others can find out about volunteer opportunities at Iduka by clicking here.


Scholarship Contest: Application Guidelines

1 Feb

Satang Nabaneh, The Gambia Coordinator & Regional Secretary

Many of you have requested more information about our upcoming scholarship contest. So we decided to compile a sample of your queries and share with all of our online friends. Applying to Iduka’s scholarship contest is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Make sure you are eligible.

2. Ask someone familiar with your academic and leadership abilities to nominate you.

3. Fill out and submit the Nominee Application Form.

Am I eligible to participate in this scholarship contest?

  • Applicants must be residents of an African country participating in our Iduka Africa Pilot Project (iAPP).
  • Applicants must be enrolled or applying to a post-secondary education institution/program accredited by local government.
  • Applicants must agree to pay back grant by volunteering at Iduka and/or at other local nonprofit organizations.
  • Applicants must be nominated by someone who can confirm your qualifications to pursue post-secondary education.
  • Applicants must submit a typed, taped or videotaped essay addressing one essay question, your career goals and the reason why a particular post-secondary institution was chosen.
  • Applicants must submit one photo.

Can interns also participate?

Yes. We encourage all our eligible student volunteer interns to apply.

When is the deadline for the application?

Both nomination and student application need to be submitted by April 29, 2011, midnight Easter Standard Time.

Wilfred Tanibum, Cameroon Coordinator



When can I apply?

The Application Form as well as the Nomination Form will be available online on Monday, February 7, 2011.

In the meantime eligible students who are interested in participating should contact prospective sponsors to act as their nominators. Applicants can also start  signing our current online petition requesting African leaders to protect and revitalize higher education.

How will Iduka evaluate applicants?

The Country Coordinator(s) overseeing Iduka’s pilot project in the country of residency of student will be responsible for initial screening of applicants. Upon initial evaluation, Country Coordinator(s) will submit all eligible applicants to the Scholarship Committee for further evaluation.

Iduka will use the following guidelines to evaluate each applicant:

Nominator’s recommendation – 20 pts

Nominee’s application – 20 pts

Nominee’s essay – 30 pts

Interview – 30 pts

Saida Ounissi, Tunisia Coordinator

How will Iduka select finalists?

Iduka in consultation with Country Coordinators and Sub-Region Coordinators will make the final selection by the end of May. A total of five (5) male and five (5) female applicants will then be submitted for popular voting.

When will Iduka select finalists?

Applicants will be informed by the end of May of the Scholarship Committee’s decisions.

When will voting take place?

Voting will take place online during a period of 30 days starting on June 1, 2011.

How will Iduka choose the winner?

The male and female candidates with most votes will be awarded an Iduka scholarship to be disbursed the following school term.

If you have any questions, please contact our representative in your country or email us at info (at) iduka (dot) org.

Good luck to y’all!

Scholarship Contest Preview

29 Jan


Raphael Njararuhi, Somalia Coordinator

Sheripher Dinala, South Africa Coordinator

As the result of the strong engagement and dedication of our intern student volunteers working across Africa, Iduka will soon be announcing two additional scholarships to underserved, underrepresented, and/or underprivileged African students who live and intend to pursue post-secondary education in an African country participating in the Iduka Africa Pilot Project (iAPP).

The registration process will start February 5. Application guidelines for this online scholarship contest will be posted on this blog in the next few days.

YOUR OPINION MATTERS TO US! If you would like to nominate a student or are a student who would like to take part in our next round of scholarships, make sure to pre-register by leaving a comment on our We Media page by February 4. We are using your comments to evaluate your interested in our African scholarship program and the viability of peer-voted contests in Africa.

Current Iduka student volunteer interns who plan to apply are strongly encouraged to indicate their intention by posting their comments on the above mentioned page. As simple comment will be enough, but you may also use this forum to express your opinions about our programs in general and our Africa pilot project in particular. We want to hear from you!

Please stay tuned for more details about this exciting new grant.

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