Education has been referred to as the backbone of society due to its ability to empower individuals and to create prosperity amongst nations. Education has played such a central role in history that, in 1948, it was declared a fundamental human right by the United Nations. However, despite the right to education being a basic human right, access to quality education remains a challenge in many parts of the developing world, including in Africa.
With its ever growing and predominantly young population, the African continent possesses a large pool of untapped talent that must be harnessed for the continent’s socio-economic development. Combining education with appropriate skills training offers Africa’s youth population the potential to provide the region with an unparalleled comparative advantage in labour and human resources – and will accelerate Africa’s economic transformation at the same time.
By investing in education we are helping enable the next generation of young Africans to build necessary skills to lead the Africa of tomorrow.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities across the world, especially in developing regions such as Africa, where it created enormous disruptions in the life of African youths. Millions of students haven’t been able to follow through with their education as a result of school closures, a restriction imposed to stop the spread of the virus. In contrast with more developed regions where school closures also applied, remote learning hasn’t been an option for the vast majority of African pupils as up to 80 percent of them don’t have access to the internet. Although schools have started to reopen across the continent, the past couple of months have weakened an already fragile education system. Redressing the impact of COVID-19 on education is a priority, which necessitates collective effort and action.
As Africa nations have started to build a post-COVID-19 recovery plan, they must make education a central piece of this recovery plan by reviewing the education landscape and improving both access and quality of education. Achieving this will require a sustained commitment from both the public and private sector. The private sector can play a central part in addressing unmet needs in education across Africa. Through robust CSR programmes, private companies, such as Groupe Filatex, have the opportunity to actively participate in strengthening education on the continent. Private companies must seize this opportunity to benefit society in more than just economic ways.
At Groupe Filatex, we believe that investing in quality education is crucial for Africa’s sustainable development and socio-economic growth. As our business continues to grow, we are determined to be a force for good in Madagascar, supporting the next generation and making sure that they have more opportunity than the generations that have come before. Through our corporate social projects, we are renovating public schools in Madagascar, providing decent learning facilities for thousands of school children every year. Furthermore, we have launched a nutrition programme that feeds thousands more children everyday to ensure pupils have the nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. By assisting the needs of local schools and schoolchildren, we aim to contribute to building better education for Malagasy people and to leave a positive and lasting legacy for Madagascar.
If knowledge is power, then education is the key to the power knowledge provides and the private sector’s support is essential to help support governments’ post-pandemic endeavours.