Africa Requires Technology-Based Education System

By Iminza Keboge
Published October 23, 2017

Prof Chris Wanjala of University of Nairobi hands prizes to winners during a Kenya Book Week event in Nairobi.Africa shall prosper only if its education system is adapted to suit mega-trends and technology that are shaping the present and the future of the world.

Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director of ICT, Science and Technology Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, argues that African governments must refocus their education curricula to ensure they address global mega trends like fourth industrial revolution (4IR) which she says is about connectivity.

“The future is here and it requires new skills. The increase in our population will significantly intensify existing challenges on creating meaningful job opportunities to address youth unemployment in each country so our governments must act quickly and collaborate with private and education sectors to address this,” Dr Opoku-Mensah said.

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Saying ICTs and the new wave of technological advances were creating newer opportunities, Opoku-Mensah said “This is a big test for governments’ ability to harness benefits and devise plans to shape the future of education and its oversight.”

She emphasised the importance of a curriculum that is based on educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and investment in ICT in education sector and in building technical knowledge skills.

The 12th eLearning Africa international conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training was held in Port Louis, Mauritius, September 26-29, 2017.“We need to address the skills challenge in Africa and produce more better-quality teachers with great teaching materials as well as use e-Learning more often to speed up the skills gap,” she said.

Opoku-Mensah said building skills set for manufacturing in Africa was a priority as they are on the decline.

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Dr Opoku-Mensah was speaking at the 12th eLearning Africa International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training that was held in Port Louis, Mauritius, September 26-29, 2017.

Dr Aida Opoku-Mensah. Director of ICT, Science and Technology Division of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa emphasises the importance of a curriculum that is based on educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and investment in ICT in education sector and in building technical knowledge skills.eLearning Africa is the key networking event for ICT-enhanced education and training in Africa and brings together high-level policy makers, decision makers and practitioners from education, business and government. ‘Learning in Context’ was the theme of this year’s eLearning Africa.

Context, said Opoku-Mensah, is a vital factor in education in Africa, especially with the challenges that need to be addressed if the continent is to adequately prepare for the future.

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Considering a range of issues related to context, the conference looked at how context affects the overall provision of education in Africa; what the opportunities are of a properly contextualised approach to education and training; how context can be designed into education initiatives; and how eLearning and digitalisation can support inclusivity, increase access to information and help to pass on Africa’s rich heritage of traditional knowledge.