Africa lacks content to draw youth to ICT

Africa has inadequately incorporated technology into the education sector as a means of imparting knowledge, according to Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Kenya’s permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Ndemo was speaking at the ongoing Ignite Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday.

Despite the tremendous technological growth that Africa has experience in recent years, Ndemo there was a lack of enough content to attract and retain the young generation to technology in school.

“Children in schools still do not have access to enough digital content that will excite them and make them want to learn more,” he explained.

According to Ndemo, before going to the next level of software and mobile app development, there is a need to draw more people, both children and adults, towards technology and show them the benefits of the uptake of technology in Africa in terms of growth, especially in the education sector.

“Education is an 80-billion dollar business worldwide, and there still remains a lot of potential in this sector waiting to be explored,” he said.

Ndemo said the Ministry of Information and Communications was taking steps to correct this problem, with the ministry having proposed using buses in villages equipped with computers and Internet.

“We wanted to help children create email accounts and teach them how to send emails to their relatives,” he said. “If the project had been approved, the children would have gained more interest in technology wherever they are.”

He hailed the Kenyan government’s move in taking “more smartphones and tablets to the villages, just to create interest in ICT, as well as make learning more interesting for the young ones.”

It is, however, not clear how many schools have already benefited from this project.

Dr. Ndemo also urged the private sector to come up with more content for digital schooling to fill the huge gap that exists.

Internet penetration in Africa stood at 13.5 percent as of March 2012, with over 84 million mobile phones already having Internet access capability. Seven out of 10 mobiles are expected to be Internet-enabled by 2014 according to a recent report by Pingdom, a site monitoring firm.

The 2-day Ignite Summit taking place at Nairobi’s The Junction Mall ends today.

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