Re-imagining Quality Education in the African Context

The rapid changes associated with technological developments have informed the way that we work and where we work; they have also necessitated a higher level of creativity and innovation, which calls for a change in the type of education that we offer Africa’s youth. Institutions such as Nova Pioneer are playing their part in preparing learners to drive impactful ideas that will add value to the world around them. 

As technology progresses, it is adding more and more efficiency and convenience to the way that we operate—from infrastructural innovations, to transport and even education, technology is directing the future of the world. The rapid advancement of technology continues to create within us an incredible innovative spirit, which in turn aids us in developing more technology—it is a fascinating cycle. With technology advancing at such a pace, it has become crucial for us to groom young leaders who will be at the forefront of pioneering ideas that will have a positive impact on the present and future of Africa. 

The rapid advancement of technology continues to create within us an incredible innovative spirit

Africa’s Untapped Gold Mine

It is a well-known fact that Africa has the youngest population in the world and according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it is growing exponentially. It is estimated that “by 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15–24) is expected to more than double the 2015 total of 226 million.” What is enthusing about this growth is that young people have a gold mine of potential due to their malleable minds and internal vigour—the potential of Africa’s young speaks volumes about the potential of the continent. Unfortunately, the continent still has a long way to go with regards to capacitating young people to leverage their potential and move Africa forward. As noted by Chinezi Chijioke, founder of Nova Pioneer, “We may have 30% of the world’s young but we don’t have 30% of those opportunities.”

Eusebius McKaiser on Twitter: "NEXT: CEO of @novapioneer_sa education group Chinezi  Chijioke joins me next & we will chat about the lockdown's impact on the  classroom, how to handle inequalities ito access
Chinezi Chijioke

Africa’s potential is disproportionate to the available resources. According to the UNDP,  “the continent remains stubbornly inhospitable—politically, economically and socially—to young people.”  The future of the continent, which is embodied in the youth, rests on our collective efforts—as governments, public and private institutions and civil society—to create a nurturing environment for Africa’s young people to tap into their rich potential and become the leaders that the continent needs to prosper and become a global force to be reckoned with. It goes without saying that education plays a key role in helping to unlock the potential of Africa’s youth. Education is what will equip young people to be creators of opportunities, not only for themselves but also for those who will come after them. 

Re-imagining Quality Education in the African Context

Too often we lament the poor quality of education in Africa, but what exactly do we mean when we talk about quality education and what does it look like in our context? As a lifelong educator, Chinezi had some interesting insights to share on the matter. “Education is about equipping young people to thrive, lead, and contribute to the world in which they will move into. Too often, education equips young people with basic skills to read and write but doesn’t equip them to thrive and start working together to achieve great things or build personal flourishing.” Quality education goes beyond the basic skills; it is about developing young leaders who will be creators and innovators who think critically and add value to society, the world of work, and institutions. “A Quality education is an education that is built on the habit and practice of being able to create. It is an education that builds self-efficacy and self-confidence in addition to the core intellectual mastery that any education should build.” Self-confidence is particularly important for a continent that is constantly reminded of how far behind it is from the rest of the world. “A quality education helps the learner discover that ‘I can’, especially in a continent that is told that the world isn’t yours in the same way that it belongs to the rest of the world,” says Chinezi, whose mission, implemented through Nova Pioneer, is to “develop innovators and leaders who will shape the future.”

Nova Pioneer

Quality education is fundamental to developing effective leadership

Chinezi is passionate about making quality and impactful education accessible. He and his team of “Novaneers” work hard to find ways of providing an education that empowers young people through a curriculum that is designed to adapt to an ever-changing society. One of the major features of a rapidly evolving world is technology, which necessitates a collective of young people who are innovative, entrepreneurial and equipped with problem-solving and collaborative skills. Considering the immense potential of young people in Africa, the fast advancement of technology and the dearth of opportunities, Nova Pioneer stands out as one of the institutions that are playing their part in developing the calibre of minds that this continent needs. This remarkable school is making great strides in closing the gap between Africa’s potential and opportunities.

Quality education is about developing young leaders who will be creators and innovators

Developing Impactful Innovators and Leaders

Nova Pioneer is a proudly African school that is grooming young learners to be impactful and innovative leaders. Directly translated, Nova Pioneer means “the new pioneer.” It speaks to an individual who will create ground-breaking solutions and ideas that are needed in this age that we are living in and the age to come. According to Chinezi, the name of the school is a call to action for the students and the team at Nova Pioneer. “We wanted a name that would ask something of our students and our graduates.” The curriculum and teaching methods at Nova Pioneer are guided by the needs of the continent for effective and innovative leadership. As noted by Chinezi, “quality education is fundamental to developing effective leadership.” The school has a centre of learning design team that develops the curriculum, which is geared towards building rigorous academic mastery and fostering collaborative problem-solving. “Our students are always given opportunities to solve problems and turn ideas into impact.” The learners at Nova Pioneer are empowered to think freely and critically. One of the key coaching principles at Nova Pioneer is “joy of learning.” Through inquiry-based and experiential learning, students are encouraged to discover new ways of approaching problems. “We encourage our students to voice their hypotheses and their questions.” By emboldening their students to be inquisitive problem-solvers and servant leaders, Nova Pioneer is developing young people who will successfully contribute to an ever-evolving world. Nova Pioneer’s approach to teaching is unique in that it marries the tradition of intentional consistency with the practice of inquiry-based learning and entrepreneurial, experiential opportunities. The learners at Nova Pioneer are provided with the platform to develop their skills both as innovative thinkers and leaders; Novaneers are taught to navigate the challenges of leadership. “A quality education should equip young people to lead well and that leadership has multiple dimensions. There’s leadership into the community, i.e. serving others, then there’s personal leadership, which refers to leading one’s self and understanding one’s sense of purpose.”

The type of education that Nova Pioneer strives to provide is the exact type of education that young people require to be at the forefront of Africa’s technological evolution. Additionally, it is the type of education that is needed to develop young leaders who will create a nurturing environment for those that come after them to realise their potential and that of the continent. Nova Pioneer’s mission is to get better as they grow bigger and to develop their curriculum to reflect the times. “We are trying to win a victory for humanity. Our ultimate goal is to be part of turning the dial around that victory, which is what we call the African century. In 15 years from now, we want our students to be thriving in their personal lives and contributing to the world out there—if we do that well, we will have achieved our mission.”

Nova Pioneer currently has eight schools, five in South Africa and three in Kenya. Their vision is to build schools across Africa, particularly Southern, West and East Africa.

For more information on this forward-thinking institution, visit

Source: Blaque

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