Putting Africa on the Science Map

The first open access database of education research by researchers based in sub-Saharan Africa launched this June. The project is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Jacobs Foundation, the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge and the charity Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA). The partners’ aim is to raise the visibility and impact of African education research.

The African Education Research Database is a curated collection of over 2,000 studies from 49 countries in the region. It spans the life-course from early childhood to tertiary education, encompassing the full range of educational themes, from literacy to school feeding.

Transforming the visibility of African education research
According to Ivorian researcher Dr Théodore Goin Bi, this is a major breakthrough: “Finally there is one place that you can go to see what’s available on a topical education issue written by African researchers. It’s going to transform the visibility of our work and also highlight where the gaps are in research. I think it will stimulate funding for much needed insights. There is a huge thirst for evidence to make investments in the sector and to get the policies right for future generations.”

The launch of the database also marks a key milestone for ESSA which, since its establishment in 2016, has made swift progress in its aim to join up, inspire and inform everyone concerned with education in sub-Saharan Africa.

As its Director Olaf Hahn commented: “The research database was born to fix a frustration and open up an opportunity. It can be incredibly hard to find the best research from Africa on education in the region. African researchers face many challenges in gaining visibility for their work. We wanted to change that. The database, which rightly puts Africans at the heart of knowledge production on the region, is just the first step. It’s exciting to imagine where we can go from here.”

TRECC and the Jacobs Foundation partner with top scientific and academic institutions to broaden the child and youth development research agenda and the education-related evidence base in Ivory Coast. Conducting rigorous impact evaluations, we work with decision makers to strengthen public policy and corporate practices by providing evidence and research insights.

About the REAL Centre
The Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge pioneers research into overcoming barriers to education, such as poverty, gender, ethnicity, language and disability, and promotes education as an engine for inclusive growth and sustainable development. Working in partnership with organizations in the region and around the world, it provides a robust evidence base to inform policy and practice in Sub-Saharan Africa.

About ESSA
ESSA was founded in 2016 as a charity registered in the UK. Its vision is to see transformed educational outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. Its purpose is to join up, inspire, focus, inform and increase impact for everyone investing in education in sub-Saharan Africa. Our early emphasis is on tertiary education, with four key initial areas: Faculty, African research on education, Scholarships for Africa, Education data and statistics. Funders of ESSA include the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the MasterCard Foundation and the Jacobs Foundation.