OPINION: Connected collaboration key to leveraging African education

OPINION: Connected collaboration key to leveraging African education

Education is the key to stimulate minds for development, calling for effective systems as an urgency in emerging markets such as Africa.

Not only does education carry importance for equipping youth as future leaders, but it also facilitates a breeding ground for ideas to transform nations.

In Africa there are some countries which have inherited colonial educational models, proving to broadly keep track in connection with international standards.

Others have merely adopted the failed systems of first world countries, or are still struggling to break the shackles of the local government-enforced system.

While waiting for education departments to wake up is proving to only worsen the situation, technology is once again an answer to minds awaiting inception of proper learning.

According to Larry Berger, father of the youngest coding South African Sam Berger, there is a big resistance from schools to be open to ICT-enhancing opportunities.

Meanwhile, the South African Basic Department of Education’s decision to upgrade the country’s Computer Applications Technology (CAT) module in schools with a standardised programme has been criticised because of its choice of platform as outdated – for a start.

While non-profit organisations (NPOs) such as Umonya are facilitating programmes to teach children how to code, schools are generally closed to promoting these opportunities, even as an extra-mural activity, Berger told HumanIPO.

GetCore Group has partnered with Shule Direct to provide an online and SMS-based platform for Tanzanians, making the local syllabus available with the aims of also including universal curriculums and rolling it out offline for schools without broadband.

While there is not a lack of local talent in the development of online solutions for education, the gap between national education systems and the skills of graduates illustrates the lack of collaboration.

If platforms can be merged to provide a joint solution for teachers and equip students through setting a standard, challenges can be faced in order to build up a higher educated nation.

Donald Grant, Western Cape minister of education, was impressed by local educational technology developments, indicating interest from the governments’ side.

However, the existence of separate platforms does not solve the challenges a half-educated population continues to face if standards are not raised by the content supplied.

While national curriculums cannot be altered without the official consent, the learning appetite of school children and even students attending tertiary education can be wetted to dig deeper into subjects such ICT which are not sufficiently addressed at schools.

If teachers can integrate the use of technology in their subjects to make pupils more aware of its benefits and also work with other stakeholders in other institutions, a brighter future and brighter mind becomes more attainable.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has made ZAR150,000 (US$1,500) available to train 50 South African teachers next year for integrating ICT skills to community-enhancing learning.

While broadband connectivity is still a challenge in Africa, generally available mobile solutions make it possible for engaging across distances in exchanging ideas without great cost.

As role players from more industries become keen to pave a way for technology as part of education, the improving skillset will begin to pay off and create a sustainable environment for further growth.

In this way, more young Africans will also be inspired to kickstart independent tech startups or further studies in an ICT direction.

Pauline Mujawamariya, programme director at the Innovation Prize for Africa, pointed to the continent’s challenge lying in the lack of creative thoughts in the application of knowledge for developing local solutions.

What better way to probe young minds than to expose them to the ever-evolving infinite possibilities of technology by encouraging them to independently access resources to establish a trend?

Partnered connection is not only key in the standardisation of a progressive educational standard, but also aids to constantly push the boundaries of the impossible by investing in young potential.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Latest headlines

Latest by Category

Tweets about "humanipo"