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eLearning Africa Report 2015: ICTs boosting growth but Educators are reluctant to change

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the key to improving education and thus boosting growth across Africa – but there is still widespread reluctance among teachers, trainers and managers to abandon traditional methods in favour of new solutions.

That is one of the key findings in this year’s eLearning Africa Report, which will was launched recently at the eLearning Africa conference in Addis Ababa by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dr Debretsion Gebremichael.

“Worryingly,” say the report’s editors, Harold Elletson and Annika Burgess, “our survey of 1500 African education and ICT professionals shows that, despite the importance of ICT in education, there is insufficient awareness in many schools,colleges, institutions and government departments of the benefits it brings.”

57 per cent of those surveyed by eLearning Africa said that educators in their own countries are still not “sufficiently aware of the benefits of using ICT in education” – although 95 per cent agreed that “ICTs are the key to improving education” in their own country.

“Reluctance,” according to the report, was “a major theme emerging from teachers and educators; many revealed that their attitude towards ICTs in education was not always shared throughout their institution.”

The report identifies a number of obstacles, preventing the greater use of ICTs in education and training. These include the cost of services and equipment, poor infrastructure and a lack of awareness about how best to use ICT for teaching and learning. 74 per cent of teachers also said they were not provided with enough support to improve their digital literacy. Only a third (33 per cent) of primary school teachers said they had been properly taught digital skills.

“Whilst the failure of teachers and educational institutions to take up the technological challenge is disappointing,” says Elletson, “there is little doubt that in many African countries, the contribution ICTs are making to improving training is having a significant impact on performance and growth in key sectors.”

In the agricultural sector, for example, 91 per cent of survey respondents involved in farming say that ICTs have led to increased yields, 87 per cent say they have helped them to develop new business opportunities and 71 per cent say they have used them to adopt new farming techniques. They may be having a wider environmental benefit too – 90 per cent say that ICTs contribute to better food security and sustainable development in their region.

“It is clear that, with a greater focus on using ICTs effectively to improve education and training, African economies can benefit substantially,” says Burgess.

The Report concludes that “raising the awareness and skills of teachers – and learners – is crucial for ICT integration to be successful. A lack of awareness about the benefits, as well as the lack of digital skills, leads to reluctance to embrace them.”

 

Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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