Bilingual education

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“Mission Impossible”? Les 4 points à retenir du séminaire Enko

Ouvrir six écoles offrant un cursus international dans quatre pays africains, officiant dans trois langues différentes*, en un temps record c’est le défi que s’est lancé” Enko Education depuis sa création en 2014. Il était temps de faire un point sur cette aventure avec ceux qui y ont participé. Début mars, l’équipe centrale d’Enko Education à Johannesburg réunissait pendant une semaine les six directeurs des écoles Enko pour un premier (et historique) séminaire de cohésion et de rencontre des équipes.

Une semaine intense

Les participants ont eu droit à un programme chargé, mêlant (beaucoup de) travail et découverte de l’Afrique du Sud, concocté par l’équipe centrale. L’objectif du séminaire, réunissant des participants de quatre pays différents (Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique et Afrique du Sud) était de faire se rencontrer l’équipe centrale et les directeurs et directrices d’école, de partager les expériences des premières années d’existence des différentes écoles, d’échanger sur les réussites et les défis se présentant à elles, et de réfléchir aux prochaines étapes. Les participants ont également eu l’occasion d’avoir des présentations et discussions avec les représentants des organismes d’accréditation des écoles internationales de l’IB et du Cambridge GSCE et d’échanger avec les futurs élèves boursiers d’Enko Ferndale.

Du partage d’expérience

Les directeurs et directrices ont partagé les bonnes pratiques qu’ils ont mis en place dans les premières années d’existence de leurs écoles. L’école la Gaité étant la plus ancienne des écoles Enko, son directeur a présenté les stratégies déployées pour aider les élèves en dernière année du Diploma Program à obtenir des admissions dans les meilleures universités (lire ici). Le directeur d’Enko Nyamunda au Mozambique a évoqué le recrutement des enseignants. Les directrices des écoles Enko de Côte d’Ivoire sont revenues sur la mise en place d’une éducation bilingue et la directrice d’Enko Bonanjo a quant à elle abordé le sujet du recrutement des élèves.

La rencontre “in real life” d’interlocuteurs qui n’étaient souvent que des noms lus en haut des mails a été bénéfique pour tous et permis de renforcer les liens, la compréhension, et la cohésion mutuelle entre les directeurs d’écoles et avec l’équipe centrale.

Des découvertes

Johannesburg, ou eGoli en isiZulu, ne manquant pas d’attraits, les participants ont pu partir en safari au Pilanesberg, assister à la représentation de la célèbre comédie musicale “Sarafina” et apprécier la variété culinaire disponible dans la Capitale de l’or.

Une semaine bénéfique

Les échanges ont permis de mesurer le chemin parcouru en quelques années dans cette aventure entrepreneuriale et éducative panafricaine. Les participants ont pu constater, au niveau d’Enko Education, la richesse d’une équipe internationale et multigénérationnelle, et également mesurer les défis liés à cette multiplicité. Ouvrir des écoles offrant des cursus internationaux (donc exigeants) dans autant de pays différents, travailler et communiquer dans trois langues (anglais, français, portugais), obtenir des résultats rapides, c’est le pari réussi par les équipes Enko.

Les directrices et directeurs d’école ont pu constater la convergence d’un certain nombre de leurs problématiques, dans la gestion courante et dans les contraintes académiques. Ils ont pu partager les solutions mises en place localement.

Pour toutes les équipes contribuant au développement d’Enko Education, les échanges ont été fructueux. La semaine passée ensemble a renforcé les liens entre les directeurs et directrices,  leur a permis d’avoir une meilleure vision de la stratégie de l’entreprise, comprendre les différentes logiques à l’oeuvre et lier des conversations à continuer une fois de retour chez eux. Ceux de l’équipe centrale qui n’ont pas eu l’occasion de voyager entre les différentes implantations, ont pu réaliser les préoccupations des terrains, et les progrès accomplis.

Une expérience à renouveler l’an prochain!

Vous désirez en savoir plus sur Enko Education, écrivez nous à contact@enkoeducation.com

*sans compter toutes les autres langues officielles des pays d’implantation d’Enko!

3 ideas for improving education in Africa by invited blogger Tafadzwa Mundida

As a part of our initiative of engaging a discussion with bloggers, thinkers, parents, learners, educators, professors and whoever is interested in participating in a debate about education in Africa we are proud to host the first post sent by Leonard Tafadzwa Mundida from Joburg! 

About the author: Leonard Tafadzwa Mundida is a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. He works as a trainee chartered accountant and does photography and weightlifting in his spare time. He blogs at tafadzwa.mundida.com

Primary and secondary education in most parts of the world is perfect if you want to produce production line workers. Kids are taught to parrot the text book answer, to stay in line, and not to rock the boat. Africa in particular lags behind in updating the education system. A friend of mine pointed out that computer science students in some schools still learn about floppy disks. It has been at least 10 years since anyone made one.

Africa needs not only to move at the same pace as everyone else, but to advance at a much faster pace given how much further behind our starting point is. Here are 3 ideas I think might contribute to said acceleration.

  1. Generalisation

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

— Robert Heinlein

If you want someone to make widgets on the assembly line, you couldn’t care less about their abilities in other fields. Same applies with a typist or bookkeeper. It is almost certain however that these jobs will not be done by humans for much longer. Robots are much more efficient.

Africa needs innovation, and innovators are people who combine multiple disciplines.

  1. Critical thinking

The current education system rewards rote learning. The ability to remember facts is held in high regard. Textbook formulas and definitions are all that matter. This was all very important a few decades ago when information was scarce and facts could only be obtained from the textbook. However, we now live in an age where information is abundant. Google (or any other search engine of your choice) makes an incomprehensible amount of information available to anyone with a web browser.

What to do with the information is the valuable skill. Students should be taught, from an early age, to use the facts to make logical arguments. School should ultimately teach one to think, not merely inform you what other people think.

  1. Computers

I work as an accountant. Most of the time I don’t even own a pen.  Most of my work is done on spreadsheets. Even this article was never written on paper. Yet I spent almost no time in school on a computer.

In this day and age, there is no reason why less than half of a student’s time in school should be spent in front of a computer screen. Pen and paper is the technology of a few millennium past. Whatever industry a student will ultimately work in, computers are almost certain to play a prominent role. They are where all the innovation is.

If students use calculators in a maths exam, why not use Microsoft Excel?

If you would like to react on this post or to share with us your ideas about education in Africa, comment on this post or send us an email to: contact@enkoeducation.com with Enko Blog in its subject ! 

English as the language of university education…

An article that appeared recently in the education supplement of the French newspaper “Le Monde” highlighted the dissatisfaction among students and professors at HEC Montréal about the increase in the number of courses offered in English, at this primarily French-speaking business school. In the Canadian “Belle Province”, which places huge importance on preserving the use of the French language, this shift is seen by many as an affront, a surrender, or even a sell-out. Why does HEC Montréal, which has existed since 1907 and attracts students from across the world, need to subject itself to the tyranny of the English language?

The reasons for this are simple. On the one hand, the globalisation of trade relies on the widespread use of English. It’s the language of business, that we sometimes call “Globish” (for ‘global English’), which is used everywhere. So it has to be part of the educational baggage of those who want to participate in this very connected world. “Globish” is very often mocked for its linguistic poverty; at the end of the day, if it were taught at university, thus improving its general level maybe this would enable a more subtle and beneficial level of communication that would increase mutual understanding, not only benefiting global trade!

On the other hand, the market (yes, it’s now a market and we can’t ignore that fact) in higher education is a global one. A university’s strength and reputation, and ultimately its sustainability, are based on its ability to attract foreign students and teachers. And, for better or worse, it’s English that is leading the pack. English-speaking countries, beginning with Great Britain, have taken advantage of this quite happily over the last twenty years, building a real knowledge economy and increasing their capacity to welcome foreign students. Old industrial cities such as Nottingham, fuelled by the strong demand represented by the ambitions of middle-class Chinese, Indian or African parents, have seized the opportunity to extend their campuses and their course offerings. One of the brand-new campus buildings of the University of Nottingham is built on the site of the old Raleigh factories, one of the flowers of the English industrial age. Non-English-speaking countries with a university tradition have jumped on the bandwagon as well. In China, Japan, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and even Romania, some universities offer courses taught entirely in English. This does not facilitate the integration of foreign students in their host countries and we can complain as much as we like that those without a curious mind will learn very little about the culture there, but it’s happening nonetheless. English is fast becoming the preferred language in higher education. But ironically, some US universities such as Princeton are putting in place compulsory language courses (non-English) for their students to broaden their horizons and enable them to learn to be more tolerant of different cultures.

What conclusions can we draw for our children’s education? Knowledge of English has become an essential skill for their higher education and will bring certain benefits in terms of finding a job. Courses with exchange programmes in foreign universities or with full-immersion apprenticeships in foreign countries are becoming the norm. Admission to the best English-speaking universities is often conditional upon the student having a good level of English, backed up by good grades in international exams such as TOELF (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or the Cambridge Advanced Certificate. Some organisations offer accelerated courses for the different tests,

Other than this utilitarian argument, there are many other benefits to starting a bilingual education early, whether at school (this is easier, but there have to be bilingual schools in the area) or via extra-curricular activities, which are sometimes offered by community associations. A Canadian study highlighted the benefits of an early bilingual education and showed that children who speak two languages find it easier to resolve problems with contradicting instructions, and are more flexible and more focused.

The founders of Enko Education launched the Enko Schools in sub-Saharan Africa because they are convinced of the necessity to offer an international education, with fluency in English that goes beyond a basic utilitarian level, and because they know that the future of the African continent belongs to a generation of leaders who have studied in renowned international universities. Enko students learn English throughout their school career, which opens the doors to the best universities.

Are you an educator, teacher, parent or student? Tell us what you think by commenting on this post!