A Case for Using Mother Tongue in Primary Education
Research shows overwhelmingly that mother tongues are the most ideal tools for early child education. In a variety of countries, such as South Africa, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, studies indicate that the mother tongue medium is the best for early school education. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa where research has shown that early education based on a child’s mother tongue gives them a head start in their literacy and language learning. A study conducted in Ethiopia recently, for instance, indicates that pupils who transition to English medium of instruction in grade five perform better in mathematics. The findings corroborate findings in South Africa.
SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION
Egypt’s Approach to Justice Questioned
Human rights campaigners said that the 15 people executed in recent weeks were convicted following confessions extracted under torture and unjust trials. The men were among 28 sentenced to death for the murder of Hisham Barakat, Egypt’s former public prosecutor, who was assassinated when a car bomb struck his vehicle in 2015.The use of the death penalty, forced disappearances and torture have spiked since the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, swept to power in a military coup in 2013, with many of the death sentences issued to civilians subjected to military trials. The Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights estimated that at least 32 people were executed in 2018, with over 600 death sentences issued in the first eleven months of last year.
SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN
Morocco’s Current Protests are a Throwback to the Arab Spring
The thousands of protesters, many wearing white teachers’ robes, came from across Morocco to Rabat to seek salary raises and promotions and protest the limited opportunities for low-ranking teachers, who earn an average of $454 a month. They are also angry over temporary government contracts that do not cover health care or pensions. They chanted slogans and carried signs from the February 20 protest movement, named after the date of the first major nationwide Arab Spring protests in Morocco in 2011. At that time, tens of thousands took to the streets across Morocco demanding democratic reforms and social justice. Moroccans didn’t bring down a dictator like counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt, but they now regularly hold demonstrations to tackle challenges from water shortages in neglected provinces to sexual violence and police abuse.
Addis Ababa is determined to Rebrand itself as a Global City
Part of what will maintain its distinction is the proper recognition of Ethiopia’s historic culture. Metasebia Yoseph started Design Week Addis Ababa in 2015, mostly out of her own pocket with one sponsor on board, French beverage giant Castel, who produce Ethiopia’s Rift Valley wine. This year was a turning point though: political optimism under President Abiy Ahmed has brought more attention to Ethiopia’s capital. Tourism Ethiopia has come on board, designating it as a “destination event,” and Heineken signed up as an event sponsor. It opened and closed with an event and exhibition space typical of design weeks, launching at the newly opened Hyatt hotel. For the rest of the week, it partnered with other brands and organizations to host satellite events on the design week platform.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
East African Real Estate Investors Discover the Working Class
The last 20 years of real estate boom in East Africa has changed the building landscape and inventory. The starting point was a region that was short of every kind of building, from housing, to shops, through offices, warehouses, hotels, and even student hostels. In all, the region faced a real estate landscape that was cripplingly underinvested. Investment opportunities in real estate remain enormous and now it is the turn of the working classes. And the returns are just as high for investors. The region’s annual investor conference, the East Africa Property Investment summit, set to be the largest yet and a key platform for developing real estate policy and white papers for government.
Wooing Nigerians to the Polls
One of the complaints that’s been heard about the week-long postponement of Nigeria’s presidential election is that many will have to make the expensive journey to where they’re registered to vote for a second time. One Nigerian activist, who’s aligned to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has been trying to deal with this by organising a free bus service. Using the hashtag #busesfordemocracy Reno Omokri set up routes from the commercial hub Lagos and the capital city, Abuja, to Kano in the north and Enugu in the south-east. Nigerian fuel suppliers, bus operators and some airlines are offering incentives for people to travel to vote in presidential elections this Saturday, including cutting petrol prices and discounts.
SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS
A Solution for Beekeeping Challenges in Africa
Farmer Amaete Umanah is a Nigerian-American entrepreneur, who describes himself as a “farmhacker”. He has developed a sophisticated monitoring system with his company Honeyflow Africa, founded with partner Joshua Agbomedarho, which he believes can revolutionize the Nigerian honey industry. “We’re digitizing how we monitor bees,” says Umanah. “With modern technology…we can help local economies and alleviate poverty.” The Honeyflow Africa system is composed of a battery of sensors feeding information to a smartphone app that allows the beekeeper to monitor their hives remotely. A device installed inside the hive monitors temperature and humidity to ensure that optimal conditions are contained. The device also captures sound, which is analyzed with artificial intelligence software to detect the behavioral patterns of the bee colony, such as preparations for departure. Bees might leave for a variety reasons such as lack of space or water, or too much noise and an early warning system allows beekeepers to take preventative measures.
Libya Before and After Gaddafi
The United Nations wants to hold a national conference to prepare for elections and unite a country which sits on Africa’s largest proven oil reserves and produces just under one million barrels a day. Currently, political control in Libya is split between rival tribes, armed groups and even administrations. The east has its own government, which is opposed to a U.N.-backed authority in Tripoli. But the scars of war in Benghazi show the difficulties of reconciling two rival camps – former soldiers and tribesmen in eastern Libya versus Islamists and urban elites in the west. Many Haftar supporters see little point in reconciling with opponents, whom they call “terrorists” or “Muslim Brothers”. That leaves limited scope for moderates who believe Libya can become a civil state without a dominant role for the military.
SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA
Why do Zebras Have Stripes?
A new study suggests the African herbivore’s stripes help prevent bites from disease-carrying flies, offering an alternative to refuted theories of camouflage or temperature control. Researchers observing horses in zebra costumes found flies landed on the striped pattern 25 percent less often. Video showed the insects had more uncontrolled approaches and aborted landings on zebra coats.
SOURCES: DISCOVER MAGAZINE
[WATCH] Senegal’s Comical Streak Ahead of Elections
Voters are turning to satire to find out more about the candidates for the presidency as the country goes to the polls on Sunday. In other African nations, comedians making fun of politicians have often found themselves behind bars. But that’s not the case in Senegal.
SOURCES: AL JAZEERA