Why ICT is critical in ‘illiterate’ Africa


Image: By BiztechAfrica
Why ICT is critical in ‘illiterate’ Africa

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Dakar, Senegal

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Lowest adult literacy rates were  below 50% in 2012 in 10 sub-Saharan countries, namely Benin, Senegal, Chad, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Mali and Sierra-Leone, according to a September 2012 report released by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

An education specialist, Mamadou Dieng, tells Biztechafrica that ICT learning is critical in reducing the high levels of illiteracy in a given country provided that there is a political will to spend massively on infrastructure and reform the entire education system.

Dieng says most education systems in Africa are way beyond their time and need a major restructuring to make way for ICT methods of learning, adding that bypassing this advice will not bring about the desired results even if a given country were to spend fortunes in investing in ICT education.

A digital-minded Dieng says: “Traditional learning, in my view, is no longer effective and sustainable and needs a partner in these fast-changing times, and that partner is ICT learning. There is no doubt about that.”

The levels of learning and understanding of African pupils and students graduating from or attending non-equipped ICT institutions are pathetic nowadays, and this is a cause of concern, he says.

“Ask yourself why is that our kids finish school but they are not ready for the workplace.

“Why don’t we reform the whole education system and redesign new systems that will put both traditional learning and ICT learning at a equal footing?” he asks.

“This will mean introducing ICT learning in the early stages of the child’s life, right from pre-schools up to higher education, and I tell you, the results will be fantastic.

“As a continent riddled with illiteracy, we continue to make the same mistake over and over again, organising traditional classes for illiterate people without including any aspect of ICT learning. It’s a waste of time and energy. ICT learning makes learning easy and has the potential of offering to the learner multi-faceted ways of understanding and skills.

“You emerge from a learning institution not only as someone who can read and write ABC, but also as a digital-minded person full of digital ideas, who can take on any kind of challenge.

In Social Dimensions of Information and Communication Technology Policy, Chrisanthi Avgerou, Matthew L. Smith and Peter van den Besselaar acknowledge that ICT is meant to improve all levels of education, adding that it will strengthen attempts to eradicate illiteracy and encourage people to overcome illiteracy.

For British educational ICT consultant Terry Freedman, ICT can provide both the resources and the pedagogical framework for enabling pupils to become effective independent learners.

“Where ICT is taught well, it has been shown to enhance pupils’ levels of understanding and attainment in other subjects. That’s because “real” ICT is more about thinking skills than about mastering particular software applications,” Freedman wrote.

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus


Samsung leaves legacy of hope in Uganda

Nsangi Secondary School in Uganda’s Wakiso District has received a Solar Powered Internet School from Samsung. Read More

Botswana takes its atomic and nuclear energy stance to world stage

Recently, Botswana’s Minister of Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi addressed the rare and august gathering of the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to convey Botswana's plans for the sector.  Read More

MTN, Ericsson announce e-waste disposal partnership in Côte D’Ivoire

Ericsson and MTN Côte d’Ivoire have announced a partnership to drive the awareness and collection of electronic waste (e-waste).  Read More

Innovative designer takes e-waste to another level

Gladys Muyenzelwa is a Gaborone based artist and designer who has an eye for ethnic and contemporary design. But unlike other designers, Muyenzelwa has found a way of using e-waste to make her creations.  Read More

Barefoot college grads get ‘stately’ welcome home

A team of women has returned home to Botswana after a six-month mission to learn solar technology skills in India. Read More

BDC supports clean energy for sustainable growth

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) continues to lead the charge in driving debate and provoking impactful ideas on how to champion increased sustainability.  Read More

Venmyn Deloitte predicts shift to more decentralised power generation

With the Southern African power pool facing a net power deficit, Venmyn Deloitte says coal-fired energy will continue to remain relevant. Read More

Huawei, SATA to drive ICT development through partnership

Huawei has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Southern Africa Telecommunications Association (SATA). Read More

Safaricom, USIU launch student mentorship programme

Safaricom has partnered with USIU–Africa to launch a one-year mentorship programme that will see students undertaking various degree courses at the university paired with mentors from the telecommunications company.  Read More

Stanbic Ghana rolls out solar ATMs

Stanbic Bank has rolled out what it believes to be the first solar powered offsite ATMs in Ghana. Read More


Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika


Innovative designer takes e-waste to another levelInnovative designer takes e-waste to another level

Gladys Muyenzelwa is a Gaborone based artist and designer who has an eye for ethnic and contemporary design. But unlike other designers, Muyenzelwa has found a way of using e-waste to make her creations. 


High tech homes: Just press playHigh tech homes: Just press play

High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.


Luba Freeport streamlines its sea of paper with Sage X3

Luba Freeport has implemented the Finance and Distribution modules of the Sage X3 business management solution to automate its business processes across finance and operations.