Learning institutions in the Republic of Congo will no longer have to register their students on paper, as a new digital era is about to dawn on their obsolete systems, according to reports from the capital Brazzaville.

Last week, the World Bank pledged to disburse $100 million to build a state-of-the-art digital system that will modernise the country’s public administration, including empowering learning institutions to register their students online.

The strong winds of digital revolution that have been blowing on the African continent seem to have not touched most countries’ education systems, which to date are still trailing behind in terms of digitisation.

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, education records are still being kept in thousands of old, tattered notebooks and registers, lying in drawers and infested by cockroaches, rats and lizards.

In 2019, the government of Congo-Brazzaville launched a highly- publicised national strategy for the development of the digital economy called "Congo Digital 2025".  

However, the development and integration of the ICT sector into the economy has faced several challenges including the lack of funding, skills and adequate policies. Reliable, state-of-the-art infrastructure that could boost internet connection and penetration is lacking, alongside stable electricity supply.

Furthermore, the lack of reliable statistics, which would make it possible to refine the knowledge of consumer habits and use, and thus facilitate the development of suitable digital solutions, also represents a major obstacle to the development of the sector, according to the French Department of Treasury.

The World Bank, which set out to launch a vast transformation initiative to help African countries accelerate their innovation efforts, believes the $100 million will duly help the Congolese government to solid digital foundations on which will lay the economy.

Mindful of the appalling state of his country’s education system, Congo minister for preschool, primary, secondary and literacy education, Jean-Luc Mouthou, flew out to Belgium in September to seek European partners that could help the government digitise the education system.

“Information and Communication Technologies offer us potential and unlimited possibilities to transform our country’s education system,” Mouthou said.

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