Despite significant progress in recent decades, the Ghanaian educational system continues to face several challenges. There’s a shortage of well-trained teachers. Many children study in overcrowded classrooms and lack access to school materials, while over half a million children are not even enrolled in primary school. Children from rural communities, as well as girls and children with disabilities, are most vulnerable to these challenges.
Jacob’s Scaling Readiness program is a collaboration between Reach for Change and the Jacobs Foundation that began in 2022. Aimed at addressing poor education outcomes and low enrolment rates in primary schools in Ghana — the program provides tailored support to social entrepreneurs with solutions for these problems, equipping them with resources and skills to strengthen and scale their impact.
In July, ten outstanding edupreneurs (social entrepreneurs in the education sector) were selected for the scaling readiness program. Their ed-tech solutions work to improve the reading skills of children, improve digital skills and inspire transformational educational experiences.
Upon admission into Jacobs Scaling Readiness program, the edupreneurs received grant funding of up to US $17,000.00 to help them deliver their solutions and strengthen the capacity of their teams. In the program, through coaching and mentoring from world-class experts and funders, the social entrepreneurs are developing business skills, strengthening research capabilities, growing their networks and gaining valuable media exposure. At the end of the two-year program, the edupreneurs will have a plan in place and the resources mobilized to deliver their ed-tech solutions at significant scale.
Speech Forces is a Ghanaian social enterprise that was founded to equip students with essential critical thinking skills required to become active and engaged citizens. The social enterprise’s most popular program DebateKids is targeted at children aged 5-12 years old and teaches basic research, persuasive writing, argumentative discourse, speaking and listening skills in a safe and structured environment. The program consistently engages over 500 participants.
With support through the Scaling Readiness program, Speech Forces has developed a scaling plan that will see the DebateKids program expand over the next five years to impact 8000+ children and youth in schools, community centers, and virtually.
Elorm is an 8-year-old child who struggled with self-esteem and was extremely withdrawn socially. Before joining DebateKids club, Elorm was very nervous of speaking in front of others and was unable to make friends at school. Her concerned parents decided to enroll her in DebateKids club in the hopes that it might help with her shattered confidence.
After just a few months with DebateKids, Elorm is already expressing herself more among her peers and she participates more in class activities.
“Elorm is more confident now and expresses her views frequently,” says her mother. “Her teacher also reports to me that she has become more active in class and asks more questions than before.”