An International Hub for Education Innovation

The Bertha Centre has been chosen as one of just four hubs around the world to form part of the Center for Education Innovation (CEI) and participate in a global initiative to understand effective ways to improve access to quality education in emerging economies.

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“The Results for Development Institute in Washington DC has recognised us as a credible home for the South African Country Hub for a global network documenting education innovations around the world,” says Bertha Centre Director François Bonnici. “This means we will collect, document and analyse non-government programmes that are successfully driving learning in poor communities – often complementary to or more effectively than state initiatives.”

According to Dr Emma van der Vliet, who will lead the Country Hub in South Africa, the majority of South African corporate social investment – over 40% of the R6.9-billion – goes into education development programmes. But despite the country’s bustling education ecosystem, companies wanting to invest in education development often don’t know where to start or what to fund.

“That is why this CEI initiative is so important,” says van der Vliet. “With this research we hope to become the go-to place for understanding the innovative trends in education – from pedagogy, to technology, to operations, to financing – especially in South Africa.”

The Bertha Centre hopes to be able to display the most tangible of these education innovations as early as 2014 in Workshop 17. The other hubs participating in the programme will be situated in Kenya and India.

The platform will allow us to put local innovation on the global map, which hopefully will invite the interest of the right people to ensure these innovations have their desired impact, says Bonnici. This initiative could be a very helpful tool for the education crisis faced in many countries. By empowering organisations and social enterprises already improving access to quality education, we can work to enhance the possibilities and increase the impact that exists.

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* Thank you to Ilifa Labantwana and photographer Heather Mason for their kind permission to use the above picture.

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