In the context of higher education, the primary language of instruction—the language that is used in class and to conduct research—is an important but complex factor. In many countries, the language of instruction varies between the primary, secondary, and university levels. Unsurprisingly, American foundations investing in higher education on the African continent target institutions where English is the primary language of instruction. English is the primary language of instruction at more than 90% of the institutions of higher education that have received grants from American foundations; the equivalent figures for French and for Arabic are 4% and 3%, respectively. I was thrilled to present on this issue during the Comparative and International Education Society’s annual conference in San Francisco in a panel chaired by legendary scholar, Robert Arnove.
On April 9, I took part in a panel discussion on the evolution of education financing in Africa at Teachers College, Columbia University. The conference, which was organized by The Center for African Education, in collaboration with NORRAG, Tri-State Area Africa Funders, and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, explored how new funding mechanisms and philanthropy can compensate for funding gaps and support most vulnerable students in equitable ways.
Antoine Vaccaro est un spécialiste français de la levée de fonds et de la philanthropie. Il est également le président du CerPhi, le premier institut d’étude et de recherche français dédié à l’étude de la philanthropie, et de Faircom, un groupe international d’agences spécialisées dans la levée de fonds au service de plus de 100 organisations caritatives.
As a former school director and education researcher I often think about what we need to teach our children. To me, the 4 C’s that are Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity are essential skills to equip our children with for today’s and even tomorrow’s world too. But we need to go even further than that by teaching our children a fifth C: Compassion.
This point culminated during my recent visit to China to an art education project in a school for migrant workers’ children in one of Beijing’s outer rings, Beijing Shijingshan Cement Factory Elementary School, through a program called “Enlightenment of Love.” The project received support from Sun Future Art Education Foundation which bases itself on the belief that “Art Education Makes Good People,” and aims to help children grow both heart and mind. I was impressed by the teachers’ focus on exploration and innovation through aesthetics and photography, particularly as a way to build identity and encourage love and compassion among their students who predominantly came from disadvantaged families.
During my trip to China I was offered the opportunity to visit Beijing’s Children Discovery Museum, a 0-to-7-year-old early childhood education project jointly developed by Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation together with China National Children’s Center, China Philanthropy Research Institute, and Beijing Normal University. By creating this museum in Beijing, and a similar one in Inner Mongolia, Lao Niu Foundation sought to introduce innovative and interactive exploration to Chinese children, through advanced design concepts and practice models commonly found in children’s museums in the United States and Europe, while combining Chinese traditional culture in the model. Since opening on June 1, 2005, Lao Niu Children’s Discover Museum is the first large-scale children’s museum in Beijing.
China is becoming an increasingly important stakeholder in philanthropy in education. As a follow-up to several talks I gave on philanthropy in education I was invited to take part in Philanthropy in Childhood Education in China: Trends and Perspectives, a conference organized by the China Global Philanthropy Institute in collaboration with NORRAG (Network for international policies and cooperation in education and training) and 21st Century Education Research Institute, with sponsorship from the Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation.
This event targeted foundations, non-profit educational organizations, academia, business, social enterprises, media and government to discuss the theme of education equity and innovation in childhood education in China. It brought together around 170 participants, and high-level speakers presenting a combination of domestic and international experiences and case studies.
I recently took part in a panel on philanthropy and education during the annual conference of the Comparative and International Education Society in Mexico City (CIES 2018), Re-Mapping Global Education: South-North Dialogue. The panel focused on the interplay at both policy and delivery level between the public sector and the philanthropic one. Funding to higher education is dependent on both national and global shifts in the grantors’ country, and in the receptiveness of African governments and institutions to the modalities of private funding. Neo-liberal trends influencing foundations have promoted the notion of the knowledge economy, which sees higher education as crucial for economic growth.