We are glad to welcome a post of our first guest blogger, Cherie Enns. Cherie Enns is the coordinator of the project Eminus Academy, a program of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), BASF Foundation and the University of the Fraser Valley (UVF). Eminus Academy is a close partner of Eliademy and offers courses on our platform.
Eminus achieving education for all
To create an entrepreneurial and sustainable development applied certification program that is interactive and dynamic (in essence a virtual global classroom), using state of the art digital media.
Eminus is a program developed in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), BASF Foundation and the University of the Fraser Valley (UVF) based around the identified need for accessible education globally. With many young adults in developing countries having limited education and few employable skills Eminus focuses on skills development, entrepreneurship, sustainable development, and food security/agriculture. Through the lens of globally accessible intervention, Eminus addresses the need for linkages between education, skills, and employability, specifically for individuals in developing countries. This is something that UNICEF identifies as lacking in the global educational framework in their “Making Education a Priority in the Post-2014 Development Agenda” report.
As outlined in the report, global themes were discussed at the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including education. Within the thematic consultations, education was the prominent discussion, with equitable access, quality of learning, global citizenship, skills, and jobs, and governance and financing being key themes within the context of global education and outreach. As such, education is a priority theme of the 2015 Development Agenda. Within the dynamics of education, several gaps in the current educational framework have been highlighted, including lack of targeting for poor and marginalized communities and people, low priority for secondary or post-secondary education, and a lack of quality education that enables success in higher education. The narrow vision of access, with the focus on primary education, has proven inequitable to children living in poorer areas, and has led to a deficiency in prioritization of secondary, vocation, and tertiary education. Other shortcomings of the educational framework identified in UNESCO’s consultations included gender equality and lack of investment in education. Gender equality has not been a reality within the global education framework, with over 1/3 of women between the ages of 15-24, in developing countries, not able to read; thirty-one million of the fifty-seven million children not in school are girls; and gender-based violence within schools presents a major challenge to girls’ success and retention in school. The lack of monetary and political investment in education leads to a lack of access and quality of education in low-income countries.
In many ways, Eminus meets the suggestions for education improvements, promoting lifelong learning while improving the occupational mobility of young people. As an alternative to traditional education, e-learning and mobile education is more flexible and financially and globally accessible. Moreover, the program promotes gender equality, international learning, participatory learning and mentoring, within a post-secondary educational framework. Eminus ultimately aims to enable young adults for positive change. One student, said that “Through the Programme I was able to take my idea from mere concept to being one step closer to development by writing a Business Plan and creating a video pitch which would later be selected to receive seed funding from the UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund Programme. Based on the current development of Link Your Purpose (LYP) I was able to apply for the prestigious Do School Social Enterprise Fellowship Programme in Germany…”
Students from over 30 different countries successfully completed one or more of the various courses. The diversity in international coverage of the program proved its global accessibility to young adults, reaching students mostly ranging in age between 20 and 35, in Cameroun, Egypt, India, Jamaica, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Togo, Viet Nam, Zambia, and Kenya just to name a few. Thereby showing the potential and viability of such educational platforms in overcoming the current shortfalls of the global educational framework and ensuring education for even the most remote and marginalized individual.
To date, courses offered include Social Enterprise – A Tool for Sustainable Development; Community Mapping – Online Tools For Development; Seed to Market – Introduction to Urban Agriculture; Proposal, Partnerships, and Community Impact: Project Management and Beyond; all of which lead to development of social media, proposal writing, business entrepreneurship, financial reporting, community mapping, partnership building, and project evaluation skills and certification.
The opportunities for growth within the program are as boundless as the World Wide Web with the opportunities for partnerships between education providers (universities, colleges, vocational institutes), technology providers (wireless providers, platform technicians, information technologies, mobility providers etc.), governmental and non-governmental organizations, private and public funders, becomes more available. Moreover, there is great potential in life-skills and business skills training, disaster training (such as Ebola response, flooding, draught, climate change etc.), peace building, cultural awareness, and language training that is contextual and diversified.
Eminus provides innovative learning opportunities and is proposed as a supplement to the traditional education system. It continues to grow and lead the way in outreach and connectivity, offering their students a chance to reach their own potential while also providing the global community the labour force that it has been lacking for so long. The opportunities that Eminus presents to young adults, communities, countries, and to the global market are dynamic and able to meet the needs of the current and future generations by its own adaptability and creativity. It is a tool that has long been required and will have profound effects on education globally for years to come.
 Eminus means ‘at a distance’ in Latin, branding of the program was designed by youth.
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