Educational systems in Africa are set to change in order to adapt with the fast changes occurring in the global economic sector, with much focus on subjects such as mathematics, science, economics, accounting and business science. According to Fortune, the industries that are the fastest growing industries globally are health care, engineering, management consulting, semiconductors and circuits, which has been caused by the rise in technological gadgets, and software development.
If Africa is to keep up with these developments, more research would have to be expanded into the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM) and how to fit it into the African context, for example: how the rise of technology could increase productivity and therefore profit in manufacturing, but negatively impact the labour force as machines replace humans. Also, according to Mail and Guardian Africa, the continent lags behind in STEM research, which accounts for 29% of all research in the region excluding South Africa, compared to an average of 68% in Malaysia which had the same research output as Africa in 2003.
This creates an opportunity for policy makers to focus on STEM research along with the returning diaspora who significantly raise the citation impact of sub-Saharan Africa research, especially in east and southern Africa, raising the quality and quantity of research for the continent’s growth. This presents the continent with the opportunity for basic education systems on the continent to place special focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, along with business and economic science.
One such educational stride being made on the continent is the African Leadership Academy, which is based in Johannesburg South Africa. The academy is a secondary institution that consists of a two-year pre-university academic programme for young leaders between the ages of 16 and 19 years from across Africa. The curriculum includes a multidisciplinary curriculum in the first year of study where students study English, Mathematics, Entrepreneurial Leadership, African Studies and Writing and Rhetoric and are able to choose a combination of Cambridge-administered IGCSE, AS or A2 electives that can include courses from the Natural Sciences, the Humanities & Languages and Commerce.
Students who excel in their second year are able to research in the Sciences, the Humanities or Creative Arts. ALA graduates are enabled to excel in world-class universities across Africa, including the school’s own university which opened in Mauritius in 2015. This type of an African-based education system has an opportunity to grow on the continent in the future.