Educators welcome govt decision to introduce ICT in schools
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Educators in Ivory Coast say they welcome the government’s decision to introduce ICT as a new subject at grassroots level.
“Now the government is talking, and finally doing something about promoting ICT education,” schoolteacher Paul Aka told Biztechafrica.
”We have some of the lowest computer literacy levels in the region, and even in the whole continent, and I’m pretty sure that this decision will redress that, though it might seem too little too late,” Aka added.
Bruno Koné, Ivorian minister of posts and ICTs said recently that ICT would be introduced as a new subject in the country’s school programme with the aimof preparing children to effectively and efficiently use ICTs from an early age.
Koné also said that the state would soon issue a decree paving the way to create a training school strictly dedicated to the intensive training in the use of ICTs. The government believes that this will help develop a national expertise for the local ICT industry.
”The future generation will be lucky – at least if this promise materialises,” former university student Matthieu Kouakou said.
”As for us, we are a wasted generation in terms of ICTs,” he said emotionally.
”From primary school to high school to university, we never had a chance to intensively learn the ICTs. If previous governments thought about this long ago, we would have been far by now.”
Former schoolteacher Nicolas Kouamé said while the decision seems excellent, the country may need to import highly skilled ICT teaching personnel in order to realise this programme.
”We don’t have enough highly trained teachers in ICT, and these imported skills will have to train and re-train teachers, paving the way to transfer skills that will constitute a legacy, and can then be passed on from generations to generations,” Kouamé said.
The African Business Centre for Developing Education (ABCDE), a Ghana-based organisation dedicated to developing skills, knowledge and core competencies of students, said: ”ICT application and use will prove beneficial in improving Ivory Coast's educational system and giving students a better education.”
ABCDE, which helps bridge the digital divide through the provision of ICT equipment in West Africa, also said that a technologically-advanced workforce will lead to ICT growth in Ivory Coast, and improve technology and telecommunications, media communications, and skilled ICT professionals who will be well-equipped to solve IT problems.
However, while the government of Alassane Ouattara appears to put a strong emphasis on developing technology, unhappiness seems to have gripped ICT users who constantly complain about the high cost of ICTs in a country still recovering form the scars of the 2011 post-electoral violence.
Minister Koné heard their complaints and has responded: ”The costs of ICTs in Ivory Coast are the lowest in this region.”
However, he said the government was working hard to bring down the price of ICTs in Ivory Coast.
ICTs, Koné added, are the commodities whose prices rarely decrease every 15 years.