Learning Something While At School: Catching Them Young

African schools are concentrating on their best performing pupils at the expense of youngsters who may prove to be just as talented if given a higher quality of teaching. In Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s book, Poor Economics, they highlight two key steps in the social and economic progression of Africa; the first is to provide a free and compulsory education; the second is to assure that the standards of the education are good enough to benefit every student and not just an elite few.

Tonson Sango, one of the founders of Books2Africa, said: “Education has been limited to a narrow and exclusive system of examinations and grades. Students are pre-occupied with their scores as opposed to the acquisition and application of knowledge. It is when the latter is achieved, that students in Africa can become truly empowered to tackle poverty.”

Children have embraced schools in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana where primary education has been made free to all. UNICEF figures show that between 1999 and 2006 enrolment rates in sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 54% to 70%.

Children attending school is important, but they also need to learn something worthwhile whilst they are there.

Books2Africa also aims to improve the quality of education in Africa through the donation of educational books, the construction of libraries and running scholarship schemes for female students.

An intense focus on basic skills is necessary to prevent underperforming students falling behind and leaving education early to work in the informalsector, where they will earn approximately $2 a day and continue to be trapped in a cycle of poverty.

“Poverty leads to an intolerable waste of talent,” said Amartya Sen, Indian economist and the winner of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. “Poverty is not just a lack of money, it is not having the capability to realise one’s full potential as a human being.”

Books2Africa aims to empower youths to actualise their ambitions by providing free teaching to those who cannot afford an education.

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Shipping and delivering 1 million books every year
involves the following:

Volume
  • 20,000 books fit in 1 x 20ft container
  • 1,000,000 books fit in 50 x 20ft containers
  • 4 x 20ft containers shipped monthly
Costs
  • £5,000 to process, ship and clear each container of 20,000 books
  • £20,000 delivers 4 containers monthly
Fundraising Target
  • 2,000 individuals giving £10 or more monthly, or 50 corporate partners sponsoring 1 container per year. Thank you.

30%

Processing in the UK

30%

Freight from the UK

40%

Clearing and haulage in Africa

Books2Africa is a UK registered charity number 1152599