Revolutionising employability with edtech in Africa
“Underemployed graduates can master more skills, update their knowledge and improve their chances of getting a better job”
By 2030, the number of young people in the African labour force will increase to 375 million. According to the International Monetary Fund, population growth on the continent means that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year than in the rest of the world combined.
Yet the African Development Bank has observed that only 3 million of the 12 million graduates produced by African universities find employment each year.
In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment has increased to 33.3% in the 4th quarter 0f 2020. Despite producing huge number of graduates, African universities are churning out too many graduates who possess little or no mastery of skills necessary for today’s job market. Oladapo Soetan, founder of Ajuwaya Learn, explains how edtech could offer a solution.
Edtech playing a major role
The problem with conventional education in Nigeria, as well as other African countries, is that most graduates in school do not get to choose the type of skill they want to acquire because they do not have the right scores. Other struggles students encounter in school includes fatigue, lack of interest, not enough practical demonstrations and strict lecture time.
However, with the advent of edtech lots of young people, graduates, workers and even those out of school are discovering new ways to acquire knowledge online.
During my university days when I was studying mechanical engineering, I had to go online to learn the practical aspects of my course because the engineering workshop at my school was filled with inoperable old machines and equipment. This also reduced my chances of getting an engineering job after graduation.
The African Development Bank recommends that: “African countries should create skills enhancement zones where governments, the private sector, academic institutions, and nongovernmental organisations collaborate on the design and implementation of… plans for selected industries with strong competitive potential (mainly agroindustry, light manufacturing, and tourism).
“They are public-private centres where (mostly) young people are exposed to wide set of skills across sectors, connected to industrial clusters, and prepared for entrepreneurship”.
Founded in 2018, Ajuwaya Learn has over 1,000 users learning various courses, from tailoring and web design to Microsoft Excel and many others.
The growth of edtech in Africa is largely dependent on internet availability, population growth, increasing unemployment and access to smartphones which are all playing out at the moment.
Ajuwaya Learn is designed to provide an affordable and flexible learning environment that enables users to learn new skills on their mobile devices at any time. The courses are packaged in such a way that users can practice what they are learning instantly provided they have necessary resources.
The app is also interactive. Users can contact their tutors for more clarification on the course they are studying. Employability skills development, career services and diagnostic tools enable students develop their level of employability, helping them to identify their own personal skills.
Now and into the future, students need the right skills to operate in a brand new society based on technology, and technology itself becomes a fundamental player in the process, entering the educational context.
Africa’s job market features jobseekers who are underemployed. Ajuwaya Learn, like other edtech in Africa, is changing the learning culture by giving users the power to control when and where they learn.
Hence, in their free time underemployed graduates can master more skills, update their knowledge and improve their chances of getting a better job.
Ajuwaya Learn is planning to expand its objective by offering internships at relevant organisations to users who have completed certain courses so that they can have more experience which will guarantee their employment later on.
Access to edtech such as Ajuwaya Learn by Africa’s youthful population has the potential of unclogging the labor market as millions of job seekers can acquire skills online and improve their chances in the labor market.
About the author: Oladapo Soetan is the founder of Ajuwaya Learn, an online Skill development platform for African graduates based in Africa. Trained over 5,000 People.