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Ethiopia has made significant progress in primary school enrollment, reaching a record high of over 95% in the last two decades. Despite this achievement, many Ethiopian children still struggle with reading comprehension and basic math by the age of 10. These essential skills are critical for further learning, economic growth, and individual and community wellbeing. As the world becomes increasingly complex and technology-driven, foundational literacy and numeracy skills are more important than ever.

While nearly universal access to education in Ethiopia is commendable, it has not guaranteed that children are effectively learning in schools. To address this, experts are calling for a focus on enhancing the quality of education by examining and improving teaching quality, curriculum development, and delivery methods. These efforts aim to secure positive learning outcomes for students in Africa.

In this month’s edition of EdTech Mondays, a monthly radio show produced by Shega Media &Technology in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation Ethiopia office, a panel of experts will discuss the causes of these learning challenges and the necessary reforms to bridge the learning gap. The conversation will also explore how hybrid models of technology-driven education can improve the quality of foundational education.

Rediet Meshesha, a journalist, producer, and host of Cybergna, will moderate the discussion. The show will be aired on Monday, March 27th, 2023, at 8:10 p.m. via Fana FM 98.1 and 10 regional Fana radio stations across the country.

The upcoming show will feature three panelists. The first is Dr. Alemayehu Hailu Gebre, the Country Director of Luminos Fund, a development organization that helps children between the ages of 8 and 14 with basic numeracy. The second panelist is Merry Assefa, who has eight years of experience teaching at a kindergarten and currently serves as the Main Instructor at Marrif International School. Lastly, Selamawit Alemu, the CEO of Fidel Tutorial,  an Edtech platform that provides tutorials from elementary to high school, will be on the show.

These panelists will address a range of questions, including the role of education technology in fostering learning, the potential benefits of hybrid learning models, and the importance of early childhood development and foundational learning in curriculum development. Additionally, they will discuss the necessary public and private investments to transform education for young learners in Africa and the commitments needed from stakeholders to reduce Africa’s foundational learning crisis.

As Ethiopia and the rest of Africa face the challenge of ensuring quality education for their burgeoning populations, discussions like these are crucial in shaping the future of education and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).

The Mastercard Foundation and Shega initiated EdTech Mondays in October 2022 as part of an integrated, Africa-wide conversation. Airing monthly on CNBC Africa and the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Facebook page, EdTech Mondays also extends to Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria, focusing on local contexts. The platform aims to facilitate critical conversations about utilizing technology for teaching and learning across Africa.

The Mastercard Foundation, established in 2006 by Mastercard as an independent organization, is one of the world’s largest private foundations. With a mission to promote financial inclusion and advance learning in order to create a more inclusive and equitable world, the foundation has committed over $5.7 billion since its inception. Its efforts primarily focus on Africa and include advancing financial inclusion and education, supporting youth livelihoods, and addressing the pandemic and its impacts.

Last month, Shega and Mastercard extended EdTech Mondays in Ethiopia for a year, expanding the show’s reach and impact with ten additional episodes in 2023.

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