for the Africa Fellows in Education Program

Reshaping the Education Policy Landscape in Africa

Two young African boys and one African girl sitting at a school desk with exercise books. The middle child is writing and the other two are watching what he is writing.


The Africa Fellows in Education Program (AFEP), a collaborative program between the Global Education Analytics Institute (GEAI) and the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), seeks to improve education decision-making across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The AFEP founded by Prof. Eric Hanushek (2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate) was developed with initial funding through the Yidan Prize for Education Research. This two-year research and policy development fellowship program incorporates in-country activities and training opportunities abroad.

The Program targets talented young Africans (35 years and below) based in Africa and provides them with a unique opportunity to be part of a network of highly competent researchers and policy advocates so they can hone their skills and contribute to improved education decision-making across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Headshot of Eric Hanushek


"The quality of schools in Africa will determine its economic future. These fellows are working to make that a better future" - Prof Eric Hanushek.

Headshot of Jane Mariara


"The skills these Fellows are gaining and the work they will produce exemplifies PEP’s mission to promote Southern-driven development through high-quality and locally relevant evidence." - Prof Jane Mariara, PEP Executive Director



After a competitive process that attracted over 275 applicants from 33 African countries, four candidates from four countries were selected to form the inaugural cohort of Africa Fellows in Education. They started their journey in June 2023.

Headshot of Yselle

Yselle Malah Kuete is a researcher and lecturer in Development Economics at the University of Yaoundé 2 in Cameroon. Yselle will focus on examining linguistic inequality and its impact on the academic performance of primary school children in Cameroon.

Headshot of Jaah

Jaah Mkupete is a development economist and lecturer affiliated with the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Mkwawa University College of Education, Tanzania. Jaah will investigate whether improving communication between parents and schools regarding children's attendance can improve school attendance and learning outcomes.

Headshot of Heleen

Heleen Hofmeyr is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Economics Department at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Heleen will focus on contextualizing the measurement of non-cognitive skills in South Africa and the effect of these skills on education performance.

Headshot of Amadou

Amadou Jallow is an Economics Lecturer and the Unit Head of the Economic Program at the University of The Gambia. Amadou will focus on understanding how the double-shift schooling system in The Gambia affects students’ performance in high-stakes exams.


Three of the fellows, one of their instructors, the program founder, and the program director

The Program offered the Fellows a unique opportunity to learn through interaction with leaders and policy experts in the field. Within the first three months, the Fellows attended a specially tailored workshop on the ‘Economics of Education’ at the CESifo Institute and participated in the CESifo Area Conference on the same topic in Munich.

The Fellows also visited the UNESCO IIEP (International Institute for Educational Planning) and the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Directorate for Education and Skills in Paris. At the IIEP, the Fellows learned about how to use learning assessment data for monitoring, the link between quality of education and learning levels of students, and the use of data for crisis-sensitive educational planning.

At the OECD, the Fellows learned about how the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) measures student learning, and about two surveys, including the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) as well as the Teaching Knowledge Survey.

Further, two of the Fellows, Jaah and Yselle along with the AEFP Director Ramaele Moshoeshoe, attended a workshop on ‘Enhancing Africa-Led Research on Early Childhood Development and Foundational Learning’ organized by the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) and the Education Sub-Sahara Africa (ESSA) in Nairobi.


Two of the fellows - Yselle and Jaah - in a garden with a roll up about early childhood development

‘The intensive brown-bag sessions at the start of the program significantly contributed to shaping my research agenda and guiding my approach to the fellowship. In particular, the workshop at CESifo offered a thorough understanding of existing theoretical and empirical literature and the ongoing policy discussions, which have already helped me position my research agenda better. I have also established a connection with The Gambia's Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, and we are setting up a team to facilitate access to data to gain insights.' - Amadou Jallow

Presenting my research proposal to an expert audience at the CESifo workshop in Germany, and at the UNESCO IIEP and OECD in Paris was a privilege. As we delved into critical topics such as human capital models and measures of education quality, I deepened my understanding of global educational challenges and was inspired to continue seeking innovative solutions for Africa. These discussions have spurred me to contemplate the potential impact of my research on education policies not just in Cameroon but in other African countries as well. - Yselle Malah Kuete

The fellows with their CESifo instructors

The structure of the program itself is a testament to its commitment to excellence. It provides a well-defined path that allows me, as an African scholar, to excel both in research and policy influence, and make a real-world impactAnother standout feature of the program is its mentorship component. Having access to experienced mentors who have walked a similar path is invaluable. Importantly, the program offers ample opportunities to network and connect with well-established professionals in the field. Building a robust network is not just about who you know, but the wealth of knowledge and experience that these connections bring. It's a chance to engage in meaningful discussions, collaborate on projects, and forge relationships that can last a lifetime.'Jaah Mkupete

The weekly brown bags at which we present our progress have really helped me in refining the questions I hope to address in my research and getting clarity on how I will accomplish this. The trip to Europe, in particular, was an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the most prominent education economists and the exposure has made it clear to me that the economics of education as a discipline requires rigorous evidence from Africa. The bulk of evidence that is currently being published in top-ranked journals is based on evidence from high-income countries, and the applicability of these findings to African contexts remains unknown. Building an African evidence base of what works to improve learning outcomes for the continent is critical, especially as from 2026 onwards sub-Saharan Africa will have the highest number of children under 18 globally.' Heleen Hofmeyr


African children in a classroom




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