Why ICT is critical in ‘illiterate’ Africa
DEVELOPMENT| Dec. 3, 2012, 6:28 a.m.
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.
MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
KitsoWorks holds stakeholder engagement sessionThe implementing partners of Botswana's KitsoWorks initiative are working on scaling up the youth empowerment pilot project. Read More
New i2i initiative to draw customer data for better financial servicesThe Mastercard Foundation has launched a $9.6 million Initiative with Finmark Trust and Cenfri to provide better aggregated data to help financial service providers respond more appropriately to banking needs of poor clients. Read More
Airtel Kenya, First Lady launch mobile clinic in Embu countyAirtel Kenta CEO Adil El Youssefi yesterday joined Her Excellency the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for the official handover ceremony of the Airtel funded 34th “Beyond Zero” mobile clinic to Embu County. Read More
Schneider Electric launches 2016 graduate programmeSchneider Electric South Africa has launched a graduate programme for those students who want to become world-class engineers in the field of energy management. Read More
Airtel Ghana wins CSR excellence awardAirtel Ghana has been named Best CSR Company for Education at the 5th Ghana CSR Excellence Awards. Read More
COMESA, Microsoft collaborate to promote access, skills and innovation in 19 African countriesCOMESA, through the COMESA Business Council (CBC) and Microsoft, have taken a step toward strengthening their working alliance by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sets out how they will collaborate in the areas of access to technology, development of relevant skills and the fostering of innovation in COMESA ... Read More
MainOne upgrades school ICT labIn line with its vision to improve broadband penetration across Nigeria, MainOne has given a facelift to the ICT Laboratory of Herbert Macaulay Girls Secondary School, in Yaba, Lagos. Read More
MTN Cameroon wins ‘’Y’ello Care” challenge againFor the third time in four years, MTNC has emerged as the top OPCO of the MTN Group in the domain of CSR. Read More
Shelter 4 Education makes dreams come alive at EjuraA new school block has been built by Tigo Ghana for the people of Ejura. Read More
Samsung Electronics East Africa boosts fight against maternal and child mortalitySamsung Electronics East Africa has announced a partnership with VSO Jitolee to launch an ICT solution that will improve maternal and child health care. Read More
FEATURED STORYeCommerce in Africa urged to take advantage of mobile
The Executive Chairman of Alltel has urged operators of eCommerce in Ghana and Africa as a whole to take advantage of the current trend for Africans to trade online via their mobile handsets.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHNigeria needs $25b investment in broadband, says Wood
Telecoms executive Adrian Wood speaks to Kokumo Goodie about investment potential in Nigeria.