Feb 7, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

When we think of education professionals, we usually have teachers in mind. And while teachers are on the forefront of education, many other professionals contribute significantly to this continually evolving, dynamic sector. Administrators, instructional designers, curriculum developers, even managers of relevant NGOs, lawmakers and various other stakeholders play important roles in developing and supporting educational initiatives, which, in turn, can bring about much needed socioeconomic change and ultimately lead to national development.

If you are considering a career in the wider sector of education, you should learn how online Master’s degrees in Education are making a difference, not only within the classroom, but also way beyond it.

Beyond the Classroom

Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all, while promoting lifelong learning has been identified as one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals: “Education is the key that will allow many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved. When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education, therefore, helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality. It also empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives. Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.”

It is true that teachers can change the lives of their students. But they can’t do it alone. A UNESCO report highlights the systemic nature of education, along with the need for cooperative solutions. UNESCO’S Director-General Irina Bokova has this to say: “Education is a shared responsibility between us all: governments, schools, teachers, parents and private actors. Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn, and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles of equity, inclusion and quality in mind.”

Education in Africa

One of the regions identified by UNESCO as still struggling to provide access to education is Africa: “More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa, which makes it the region with the largest number of out-of-school children in the world. And this region has a very young population so it will have to provide basic education to 444 million children between the ages of 3 and 15 in 2030, which is 2.6 times the numbers enrolled today.”

Experts suggest that investing in higher education and research may be the solution. Professor Kelly Chibale writes in The Guardian: “Africa needs science, not aid…. for the benefit of its people. Historically the ability to discover and develop medicines has been hampered by lack of expertise and infrastructure. The reasons for this are varied but include the massive brain drain, over many decades, fueled largely by a lack of meaningful investment in research infrastructure by most African governments, which makes it almost impossible for scientists to implement what they have learned back home.” Healthcare workers and educators, 11 million of them, to be exact, will be needed to bridge the gap in Africa.

Why online programmes matter

With access to higher education identified as a major obstacle in Africa, online study and e-learning initiatives represent alternatives, which can benefit millions of individuals immediately, without having to wait for years until costly on-ground infrastructures have been developed.                            

UNICAF, the leading higher education online provider in Africa, is now present in nine locations on the continent, with two state-of-the-art campuses of Unicaf University operating in Zambia and Malawi, and with modern learning centers in Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Uganda, Mauritius and Somalia. In addition to improving and extending access to higher education, UNICAF also provides an affordable model, thanks to its generous scholarship programme. Business Daily Africa writes: “UNICAF is the largest and most generous Scholarship Programme available for African students for internationally recognised degrees….The programme provides opportunities for study towards various, high quality, distance learning degree programmes, at a fraction of the cost…..”

Unicaf University’s Master’s in Education, offered either through online delivery or through blended learning, (a combination of online study with classroom teaching, available only in specific locations), imparts the necessary knowledge and skills for both practitioners and professionals in the dynamic and demanding sector of education in Africa.

There are plenty of challenges ahead for the African continent. Many of these challenges can be overcome with the provision of easily accessible, flexible and affordable higher education. By training better teachers, more efficient school administrators and other education professionals, you can raise the standards of education, free people from poverty and empower them to live healthy, successful lives. This is exactly what the UNICAF Scholarship Programme is doing, by sponsoring and delivering internationally recognized degrees, like Unicaf University’s MA in Education, which train quality professionals, who can build the bright future of the continent.

 

 

 

 

 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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