The Educate! Experience

About the Project

This project is one of the 2015 WISE Awards winners.

Educate! partners with secondary schools across Uganda to deliver an innovative, impactful, and cost-effective model of education that is practical, relevant, and student-centered. The Educate! Experience provides youth with skills training in leadership, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness along with mentorship to start real businesses at school. The program’s model is delivered through practically- trained teachers and youth mentors in existing secondary schools.

Educate!’s experiential model teaches the “hard skills” of business including planning, budgeting, savings and market research, complemented by the “soft skills” demanded most by employers and students themselves, such as teamwork, public speaking, networking, critical thinking, self-confidence, and creativity. By creating a new educational model that reforms what schools teach and how they teach it, Educate! is empowering teachers and youth mentors to equip students with the skills to drive measurable change.

Context and Issue

Africa’s youth population is surging. Nearly 50% of all Africans are younger than 18, and that number is rising. These demographics, along with a scarcity of jobs, have led to dramatic rates of youth unemployment, with as little as 25% of youth expected to get formal jobs. Education systems in Africa already face challenges meeting young peoples’ needs–current curricula and teaching methods don’t consistently prepare students for what’s to come following graduation. Educate! believes that by transforming secondary education we can equip youth with the skills to disrupt this systemic problem.

Solution and Impact

Educate! seeks to transform secondary education in Africa to equip youth with the skills to disrupt the systemic problem of youth unemployment.  Educate! works with three education stakeholders to create sustainable change:
  • Governments: Educate! works hand-in-hand with governments to support adoption and roll-out of skills-based education reforms.
  • Schools & Teachers: Educate! partners with existing secondary schools and trains teachers on skills-based curricula and student-centered experiential teaching techniques. 
  • Students: Students use the skills they learn to get a job, start a business, and succeed in work and life. 
Together, the components of Educate!’s model give students the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy. Two external evaluations—a randomized controlled trial and a quasi-experimental evaluation—have shown that Educate! graduates earned nearly TWICE as much as their peers, and were 50% more likely to be employed. Girls who completed the program achieved even greater results. Girls earned 244% more than peers who did not complete the program and have a 91% increase in business ownership.
In 2019, it directly impacted over 46,000 youth in and out of schools while reaching 470,000 learners more broadly, making it the biggest youth skills provider in East Africa. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the project pivoted to create and deploy a distance learning model based on proven in-school experience, and reached over 50,000 students by July 2020.

Future Developments

Educate!’s vision for 2024 is to measurably impact 1 million students, and reach 4 million students more broadly, across Africa each year. Long-term, Educate! aims to fully incorporate their skills based education model into national education systems across Africa. 
May 26, 2015 (last update 12-22-2020)