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

Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa to support 72 MW solar PV power plant in Cameroon

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) approved at the end of 2014 a USD 777,000 preparation grant for JCM Greenquest Solar Corporation to support the development of a 72 MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power plant as the first renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Cameroon.  Read More

One primary school pupil, one tablet: Dakar mayor

Khalifa Sall, the mayor of the Senegalese capital Dakar, has an ambitious plan to equip all the pupils of primary schools of his city with tablets. Read More

Tigo brightens Christmas for over 3,000 children and head porters

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) drive, mobile network operator, Tigo Ghana has climax its Christmas party for less privileged children and female head porters in Accra. Read More

Airtel, Rotary Club to provide clean water for school in Kajiado County

Bharti Airtel has partnered with Rotary Club of Nairobi East for a safe water harvesting project that will provide clean drinking and cooking water Enkeriyan Primary School in Kajiado County and the neighbouring community.    Read More

Airtel to offer mentorship programmes to Good Samaritan Orphans and Destitute centre

Bharti Airtel will offer mentorship programmes to the Good Samaritan Orphans and Destitute Centre in Kayole’s Soweto. The programme is part of the Airtel spirit where Airtel staff voluntarily give both time and expertise at individual and corporate level to positively impact the community. Read More

Airtel enables students in Siaya County to freely access learning materials online

Bharti Airtel now provides free data connectivity to Sigweng Karuoth Primary School in Siaya County, Kenya, as part of its efforts to support Kenya’s education system.         Read More

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

PRESS OFFICES

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

FEATURED STORY

UCC launches 2015 ACIA awardsUCC launches 2015 ACIA awards

Uganda has launched the fifth Annual Communications and Innovation Awards, which celebrate and foster ICT innovation and achievement.

IN DEPTH

Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up

Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.

COMPANY NEWS

Spectra Wireless, Microsoft 4Afrika launch first commercial TV white spaces services in Africa

University students will now get fast, affordable Internet bundles and receive zero-interest financing when purchasing a new device.