Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the Internet, in particular, can have a transformative effect on education in Africa, says a report launched today by the Internet Society.
At the Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue that took place on the 8th of May in Kigali, Rwanda, the Internet Society revealed the results of a study entitled “the Internet for Education in Africa – Helping Policymakers to Meet the Global Education Goals” . The conference is part of a global series of Internet development conferences organized by the Internet Society with the aim of furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that aim at tackling the world’s main development challenges by 2030.
The new report assesses how the Internet is used in the education sector in Africa. It also looks at the untapped opportunities by examining experiences in other regions and provides recommendations for policymakers to help encourage learning via the Internet.
Expanded connectivity has enabled approximately 341 million Africans to have Internet access in 2016. This represents a significant opportunity to use the internet to provide education and learning opportunities. However, the report underscores that integration of ICTs and leveraging the Internet for education requires clear vision and strategy and, most importantly, commitment accompanied by investment in broadband connectivity, learning resources, and technical support.
“A skilled workforce that can use Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) effectively to solve Africa’s problems will also determine Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy,” explains Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society. “And policymakers have a critical role to play in creating the necessary ecosystem for integrating ICT in education,” he added.
Some key advantages of internet learning outlined in the report include:
1.The internet provides alternative learning tools to address some education challenges in Africa such as the lack of learning materials and teachers.
2.The Internet can reach more individuals and disseminate content and learning resources at a lower cost.
3.It can remove certain economic and social barriers to education such as geography, gender, and disabilities.
4.It provides greater flexibility for any time, any place education, particularly for those who are working and want to pursue professional development.