An education program in Uganda aims to end the cycle of youth unemployment and poverty in the country by teaching students practical skills that boost their employability. In the Educate! model, mentors help students start social enterprises and community projects that serve the needs of their community. Uganda’s youth unemployment rate is estimated to be between 62% and 83%.
Results & Impact
In 2016, Educate! trained more than 240,000 Ugandan and Rwandan students across 250 schools. 94% of graduates go on to run a business, have a job or go on to university. Female Educate! graduates earn double the income of girls who do not take the course. The organisation has signed MOUs with the Ugandan and Rwandan Ministries of Education to reform national education systems using its skills-based model.
Educate!, Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports, Rwanda Ministry of Education
Educate! is a two-year program focused on two modules: Skills Lab and Business Club. In the Skills Lab, students learn about leadership, critical thinking and problem solving through games, group work and public speaking. In the Business Club, students come up with ideas for products and services that serve the needs of their community. Mentors help them develop ideas into social enterprises and community projects. Educate! advises the Rwandan and Ugandan Ministries of Education on curriculum design, exams, teacher training and school management.
Students, young people
Cost & Value
The two-year program costs $125 per student.
Running since 2013
Educate! expanded into Rwanda in 2016 and has plans to replicate its model across sub-Saharan Africa. The Ugandan and Rwandan Ministries of Education have signed MOUs with Educate! to integrate its model into national schooling systems.
A Ugandan education program is tailoring its curriculum to the needs of the country by teaching students how to start and run businesses.
Youth unemployment in Uganda, where Educate! launched, is the highest in Africa. ActionAid places the country’s youth joblessness rate at 62% – but the African Development Bank reports the figure could be as high as 83%. Meanwhile, the share of Ugandans under the age of 30 is the largest in the world at 70%.
Educate! is a two-year course that teaches 16- to 18-year-olds about entrepreneurship and workforce readiness in Uganda and Rwanda. Ninety-four percent of Educate! graduates go on to run a business, have a job or attend university.
The organisation has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Ugandan and Rwandan Ministries of Education to reform national education systems using its skills-based model. According to Educate!, current national practices “fail to teach youth the skills they need” to be employable.
With entrepreneurship-focused education, Educate! aims to end the gross mismatch between the number of graduates and available jobs. Each student takes part in a Skills Lab and Business Club, and is mentored along the way by teachers and older peers. In the Skills Lab, students learn about leadership, critical thinking and problem solving through games, group work and public speaking.
In the Business Club module, students are encouraged to explore their environment and come up with ideas for products, services and models that serve the needs of their community. Mentors help students develop their ideas into social enterprises and community projects. To learn leadership skills, each older student must mentor three younger ones. It costs $125 for each student to undergo the two-year program.
One student started a community support organisation that provides counselling to more than 100 women infected by HIV/AIDS. The founder makes a profit by teaching affected women how to make recycled paper beads, which she buys from them and exports internationally. Another student created a goat-rearing and -sharing project, in which students breed goats to sell and lend to community members.
In 2016, Educate! trained more than 240,000 Ugandan and Rwandan students across 250 schools. Results from a randomised control trial showed that Educate! graduates were 64% more likely to start a lasting business or a community project – and female graduates earned double the income of girls who did not take the course. Educate! evaluates student progress through randomised control trials, data monitoring tools and a reporting system that teachers can access via SMS and smartphones.
The founders’ goal was to build an easily replicable, low-cost education intervention that can operate within existing school infrastructure. In every school it partners with, Educate! trains at least two teachers and one administrator to use their teaching method.
Educate! is working with governments to integrate its skills-based education model into national education systems. The organisation advises the Rwandan and Ugandan governments on curriculum design, exams, teacher training and school management. Rwanda’s government has agreed to incorporate the Educate! Skills Lab and Student Business Club model into its national education system, and Uganda is considering widespread adoption of the skills-based learning approach.
In 2016, the Global Innovation Fund awarded Educate! $271,800 to expand into Rwanda. Educate! aims to teach one million students across sub-Saharan Africa by 2024.
(Photo credit: Pexels)