Why ICT is critical in ‘illiterate’ Africa

DEVELOPMENT

|
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

MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Nescafe inspires African bloggers at Start Conference 2014

The Nescafe Start Conference 2014 has ended in Accra with a call on young tech entrepreneurs to use their creative ideas and skills to generate innovative business enterprises that would help create job opportunities.  Read More

Huawei Ghana refurbishes Accra Central Library

Huawei Ghana has officially presented a new state of the art library to the Minister of Communication, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, on behalf of the Ghana Library Authority.  Read More

Vodafone Ghana Foundation ends 2014 with “Bring a Cheer to Your Community” Campaign

Vodafone Ghana says it is receiving proposals from Non Governmental Organisations whose focus is on contributing to the quality of life in rural communities across the country. Read More

Schneider Electric announces creation of Algerian-French centre of excellence

Schneider Electric has announced the signing of a three-way partnership agreement with the Algerian Ministry for Vocational Training and Education and the French Ministry for National Education for Education and Research.  Read More

MTN Ghana Foundation marks seven years of CSI in Ghana

MTN Ghana Foundation is marking seven years of outstanding and impactful Corporate Social Investments in Ghana.  Read More

ICTs: Gabon tops Francophone Africa

Many analysts were hoping that countries such as Senegal and Morocco would top the French-speaking list in the ITU's 2014 ICT Development Index (IDI). But it was not to be because oil-rich and less populated Gabon grabbed the gold medal. Read More

45 learners graduate from Dimension Data Saturday School

Dimension Data, the USD6 billion ICT solutions and services provider, has announced that 45 learners have graduated from its innovative Saturday School Programme. Read More

African telcos partner with AU to ‘kick Ebola out of Africa’

Telecommunication companies across Africa have united to partner with the African Union (AU) Commission to garner resources in support of Ebola affected countries in West Africa.  Read More

AfDB grants €176 million for next phase of Africa's largest solar power station

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved one loan of €100 million and another of US $119 million for phase II of the Ouarzazate solar complex project (the NOORo II and NOORo III power stations). Read More

Gates, Youth Ministry in e-library service deal

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is extending its philanthropy gestures to Botswana libraries with an e-library service donation.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

PWC: Optimism abounds but a bumpy journey ahead for somePWC: Optimism abounds but a bumpy journey ahead for some

PwC’s ‘Capital Projects & infrastructure in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa,’ report says infrastructure spend in the region is projected to reach $180bn per annum by 2025.

IN DEPTH

Africa lags on digital migration Africa lags on digital migration

Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.