Tag Archives: student-financing

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


Angola – Mapping the Country’s Education System

21 Jun

So, after a rollercoaster few weeks Jolandie has finally got her Angolan visa and is about to set off on her Cycle For Education Tour of the country. But just what can she expect education-wise?

Flag of Angola

The country gained independence in 1975, but experienced intense civil war from 1975 – 2002. Since the closure of that period, Angola has looked towards stability and rebuilding the shattered education system. There is now compulsory, free primary school education for children in Angola for the first four years (which begins at the age of 6 or 7). Primary school then lasts for another four years and secondary school education follows immediately afterwards. In 2000 this system was classed as severely sub-standard with over half of adults classified as illiterate. The Angolan government has since concentrated on shifting that situation for the betterment of the people. Education reform started in 2004, and by 2008 over 80% of students had been integrated into the new system.*

The Ministry of Education is based in Luanda, and in 2009 this Ministry made an agreement (with UNICEF) to provide quality education training to 8,750 primary school teachers over the course of three years.** In addition, just yesterday, allafrica.com reported that over 1500 adults of the Chicomba district have been attending the second phase of a programme designed to fight illiteracy. Since the beginning of the programme, 6,500 adults have been taught to read and write.

Luanda, Angola's capital city.

But what about post-secondary education? There has been considerable development in post-secondary education over the last few decades. Just after independence, the public Universidade Agostinho Neto (UAN) was established, and shortly afterwards came Universidade Católica de Angola (UCAN). A wave of political liberalisation in the 1990s saw the growth of many private universities, some of which were directly linked to Portugal. In 2010 the UAN split up, with various faculties now constituting autonomous public universities (two have retained the UAN name). Pupils hoping to continue to university level are now required to undergo a post-secondary, “pre-university” 2-3 year course.***

A class in Kuito...

Although great progress clearly has been made in the country, there are still many challenges ahead. Primary school enrollment is at an all time high, however drop out rates keep increasing. Around 20% of males and 45% of females are still illiterate, despite the programmes implemented to directly tackle this problem***. The solution is not a short-term one but the focus on education is clearly present – I’m sure Jolandie will have personal insight into this situation once she gets back on the road.


* i4donline.net.

** UNICEF.org

*** angola-today.com

Image of Luanda… Photo: Silje L. Bakke, Wikipedia.org

Image of schoolchildren… Photo: Living in Kuito, Wikipedia.org



Harsh Winds and Kind People

12 May

Beautiful Sky For Jolandie


After picking up her journey on the 6th May, Jolandie’s journey has looked a little like this:

 Clanwilliam –> Klawer –> ‘Oom Buys Wiese farm (25km outside of Vanryhnsdorp).

 On the Clanwilliam to Klawer leg of the journey Jolandie met a holidaying couple from Robertson and she chatted to them about her ‘Cycle For Education’ Tour. Unexpectedly, they offered her R100 (local currency) in order to contribute to her journey… with spirits high and confidence in the goodness of humanity she tackled the rest of the day’s journey with ease!

Unfortunately, from Klawer to ‘Oom Buys Wiese farm she faced the strength of Mother Nature and a cyclists worst enemy: harsh winds. The day was slow and extremely tough, when she finally parked up for the night, Jolandie spent her first night in the tent… alone. “It was great!” Jolandie declared – she cooked her supper on a little stove and slept like a baby.

Jolandie's Tent... nice and cosy

 Unfortunately Die Knersvlakte, or the ‘Grinding Plains’, remained. According to Jolandie, “The roads just go on forever and ever and ever…and EVER!!” and on top of that, the wind met her head-on. After a flat tyre and a small collision with the road she made it to Bitterfontein just before sunset.

 Next Stop…. Springbok!

Iduka Partnership with A.I.D. (Advocacy Initiative for Development) in Sierra Leone!

28 Apr

Iduka is proud to announce a partnership with Advocacy Initiative for Development (AID) Organisation based in Sierra Leone. AID began as a youth services agency but, after incredible success, has expanded to encompass broad-based programmes that offer educational and vocational training, advocacy for human rights, and services that promote the development of whole communities.

Founder of AID, Sylvanus Murray, facilitates computer training

AID has now taken on the role of Iduka Field Partner as part of Iduka’s Africa Pilot Project (iAPP), and will have the important responsibility of selecting, supporting and developing Iduka’s scholarship recipients. Mr. Sylvannus Murray (pictured) is the founder of AID and is now a Vice Chair on the Executive Committee for Iduka, assisting student development in West Africa.

As an iAPP Partner, AID has several key responsibilities, including:

  • The selection and submission of students for Iduka’s scholarship scheme
  • Reviewing student candidates that are forwarded by Iduka (local students that have contacted Iduka directly)
  • Personally interviewing student candidates
  • Maintaining records of each student
  • Assisting students with their online profiles and subsequent online profile updates
  • Managing the scholarship moneys that are payable to the educational institution that the student is attending
  • Conducting follow-up interviews to make sure the students are getting all the support they need, and are actively volunteering in their community.

Of course, no student can benefit from Iduka’s education scholarships without a committed Field Partner working within the community to provide the vital student support. Moreover, local Iduka volunteers rely on Field Partners such as AID for leadership, mentoring and opportunities to make a difference. The networks and relationships that will result from the AID-Iduka partnership will create international awareness of the importance of higher education in Africa, and this partnership will also offer more education, skills and livelihood opportunities for students in Sierra Leone.

Sylvanus Murray working with volunteers

About AID:

Sylvanus Murray created AID in with the dream of establishing an organisation that advocates for the rights of humanity and offers services for the holistic development of people and their communities. Initially focusing on programmes such as education, health care, skills training, income generation schemes, youth empowerment and protecting women’s rights, the organisation soon expanded to include:

  • Human rights education
  • Gender and women empowerment
  • Child welfare
  • The eradication of human trafficking
  • Good governance
  • Sanitation and hygiene
  • Peace and security…

… to name a few.

With this level of commitment to the development of African nations it is certain that, together, Iduka and AID (and all of Iduka’s partners) will push forward the post-secondary education agenda in Africa.

Iduka Partnership with Kisima Initiative in Kenya!

25 Apr

John Ndegwa - New Field Partner

Iduka is excited to announce a partnership with Kisima Initiative based in Kenya. Kisima is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that provides education and employment schemes for youths living in poverty, along with support for their families. Kisima will be taking on the function of Iduka Field Partner as part of Iduka’s ‘Africa Project’, and will have a central role in the selection, support and development of Iduka’s scholarship awardees! John Ndegwa (pictured) is one of the founders of Kisima and will now sit on the Executive Committee for Iduka, assisting student development in East Africa.

As an Africa Project Field Partner, Kisima has several important responsibilities, including:

  • The selection and submission of students for Iduka’s scholarship scheme
  • Reviewing student candidates that are forwarded by Iduka (local students that have contacted Iduka directly)
  • Personally interviewing student candidates
  • Maintaining records of each student
  • Assisting students with their online profiles and subsequent online profile updates
  • Managing the scholarship moneys that are payable to the educational institution that the student is attending
  • Conducting follow-up interviews to make sure the students are getting all the support they need, and are actively volunteering in their community.

No student can benefit from Iduka’s education scholarships without a dedicated Field Partner working on the ground to provide the vital student support. Already John and Kisima have demonstrated their commitment to Iduka’s cause, as they have been instrumental in organising a scholarship for Iduka’s excellent student Neville Albert.

John (right) working with a volunteer

This Iduka-Kisima partnership is a fantastic opportunity to open the dialogue on education in Africa – particularly East Africa. The networking and information sharing that will result from this partnership will not only create national and international awareness of the need for higher education in Africa, it will also offer more education, skills and livelihood opportunities for African students on the ground.

Kisima Initiative has been working with local communities since 2002 and they offer a variety of development projects including: Youth Support, Orphaned and Vulnerable Children’s Educational Support, Women’s Projects, and Agribusiness. As a Field Partner for Iduka, Kisima will now be able to offer undeserved, underrepresented and underprivileged students in East Africa the opportunity to realise their higher-education ambitions!

Call For Scholarship Nominations

4 Feb

Junior Kashala, D.R. Congo Student Volunteer Intern

The 2011 Iduka Scholarship Contest is now accepting nominations.

Iduka will be awarding two scholarships to underserved, underrepresented, and/or underprivileged African students who reside and intend to pursue post-secondary education in an African country participating in Iduka’s Africa Pilot Project (iAPP).

We encourage all eligible African students, including our student volunteer interns to participate in this contest.

  • Student application must be completed and submitted by February 11, 2011.
  • The nomination, the student essay, and the online petition signing are due on February 28, 2011.

To learn more about the 2011 Iduka Scholarship Contest, please visit this…



Neville Albert, Kenya - Scholarship Recipient

Micro-financing education, one student at a time.

Do not hesitate to contact our representatives in your country if you need any assistance regarding this initiative. You may also leave your queries or comments on this blog page.


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!

Survey Results

24 Jan

Thanks for the survey! This shows your openness to the project, but also it instills trust to members. Bravo and keep it up when it comes to issues of decision-making!” – one survey respondent

Survey results are in! We had 54 people fill out the online survey. Pretty good, considering it was only posted on our blog over this past weekend and only lasted three days.

Although this survey involved a small sample and was non scientific, it does offer a good range of opinions about the process among a group of people highly committed to the project.

The overall results are mixed, but quite instructive. Roughly half of you want Iduka to award the scholarships the non-traditional way, while the other half prefers us to stick to the traditional method of having a scholarship committee select the grantees. However, the majority of you indicated that you’d like to nominate a student and is willing to participate in the selection process if requested to vote in an online voting contest.

Some argue that the traditional way is boring and tedious, while the supporters of the traditional selection method voice their concern about the fairness of the online contest. Some respondents fear the possibility that the winner will end up being the “most popular” and not necessarily the most deserving underserved, underrepresented, and/or underprivileged student.

We would like to finish by sharing one comment from the survey. One person wrote: “What about a selection process that combines both the traditional and non traditional options?” We find that this suggestion will guarantee the integrity of the process while still enabling participation of our online supporters.

Thank you to those of you who provided your opinions. We will work hard to make the process fair, transparent, and fun. We will soon announce the application guidelines. So, please stay tuned if you are interested in participating in our upcoming round of scholarships.

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