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Innovating in Africa Expo: EDUTECH

Innovating in Africa Expo: EDUTECH

The African Union Commission in collaboration with the government of the
Republic of Botswana sought to create platform for African stakeholders in the
Edutech sector to collectively design, evaluate and adopt models that can harness the unlimited possibilities in ICT (Information Communication & Technology) to ensure Inclusion, Quality and Sustainable Impact in Education and Training in Africa.

This platform was the Innovating Education in Africa Expo (IEA 2019).
Sitting with policy makers, implementation bodies and other Edutech stakeholders from over 40 African Nations represented at the Expo gives one a broader understanding of how the system works and how to craft practicable solutions for education in the continent.

At the Expo, a significant number of promising models in Africa which already leverage ICT in enhancing education outcomes were evaluated for scaling and replication across the continent.

As a Nigerian delegate representing DO (dotakeaction.org), I have drawn a summary of my key findings across policy and implementation gleaned from
conference papers, innovations and keynote speeches below: Digitalising Schools, Colleges & Universities & Promoting Education Without
Borders – What African Nations Are Doing.

From a broader perspective, the digitalisation strategy for primary, secondary and tertiary education is meant to achieve two goals:u

1. Students develop requisite digital skills needed to contribute to society and succeed in their personal life, education and work. On the other hand, schools, will in turn, effectively use the possibilities offered by digital technology and resources to enhance pupils/students learning outcomes.

An international partner with the Innovating in Africa Expo – GESCI (The Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative) has deployed The GESCI Digital Schools of Distinction (GDSD) Framework. The framework comprises a comprehensive approach that incorporates overall ICT integration in schools so as to bring about improved teaching and learning throughout the curriculum, which will in turn, prepare students to actively participate in the development of knowledge, societies
and economies.

NIGERIA
From the African nation standpoint, a key development is what The Nigerian
Federal Ministry of Education is doing in devising a progressive means of
leveraging ICT to increase access to education in both Primary, secondary and Tertiary education through its National Policy on ICT. The policy designs
initiatives to enable students learn how to develop both software and hardware
solutions and encourages local production and manufacturing of ICT components for the global market.
With partnership from CISCO, 35,080 students have been trained and gained ICT skills. These students have also won several international ICT Competitions and prizes.

In addition, the Open University and Distant learning framework of the Ministry gives students access to learning via online courses by building schools without borders all over the country, irrespective of location. This framework has produced 200,000 certified students since inception. Recently, an MOU was signed to extend the Open University framework to the
primary and secondary education to reach remote and unconnected places as an immediate intervention to reduce the alarming rate of about 10.2 million out-of-school children in the country.

2. School Media, a student technology center that creates access to learning content and knowledge assessment for every child and in addition, grooms
teachers on basic ICT skills through the Teachers Experience Center is a
remarkable Edutech solution to watch out for even though its reach is yet to be
deployed all over the country. Already, 100,000 teachers have been trained on
various ICT Skills in collaboration with the Teachers Registration Council of
Nigeria.

However, more teachers need to become ICT Compliant and more schools need to
undertake comprehensive ICT integration in order to effectively leverage technology and empower students to do the same. In light of grounds yet to be covered, organizations like Crystal Solutions and the DO foundation are interested in collaborating with the government to ensure increasing integration of ICT in the learning process in schools.

RWANDA
Rwanda has made remarkable strides in embracing ICT in Education as it has gone beyond a suggested approach to the actual policy direction of the Republic of
Rwanda’s Ministry of Education. The goal is to transform a subsistent agricultural
based society to a knowledge and technology driven economy by 2020, through ICT integration in the Education Sector. This integration in the Education is built on three pillars: ICT Infrastructure, Digital Content and Capacity Building.

Fostering Access to ICT-Driven Education in Remote Places.
A recurrent challenge for educational policymakers and stakeholders working
around the adoption of ICT in remote, low-income communities around the world is that most products, services, models, and expertise related to ICT use in education require high-income investments. Products like the BRCK- a connectivity device designed and prototyped in Nairobi, Kenya to address ICT user needs in places where electricity and internet connections are, for lack of a better word, problematic, MOBISTATION- a solar-powered ‘classroom in a suitcase’ model that features a projector and offline
educational content developed by UNICEF, Uganda and the OFF-GRID SOLAR-POWERED CLASSROOM innovated by an Edutech innovator in Ghana, remain notable exceptions to the lamentable reality that, for the most part, ICT solutions touted for use in schools in rural African communities, are designed elsewhere, with little understanding of the practical day-to-day realities and contexts in which such technologies are to be used.

Additional solutions for inclusive access to remote and unconnected places are the use of ‘older’ technologies like radio and television in newer, improved ways.
While most of the attention, and pretty much all of the hype, around the use of
technology in education focuses on the latest shiny gadgets, in many places, ‘older’ technologies like radio and television are still in widespread use – although often with slight twists. One example is the Interactive Radio Instruction, where radio broadcasts are
used to prompt specific actions by teachers and students in the classroom.
Also, the use of Interactive Educational Television in places like the Amazon
helps remote schools with situations where there are students but no teachers. Movie Subtitling also helps promote reading and literacy skills.

Fostering Access Using Low-Cost Video Contents to Support Peer Learning
and Support
The increased availability of low-cost video learning contents can provide
opportunities for reflection and peer support for teachers who may have received little or no training on best practice in delivering educational curriculum.

In Nigeria, Endgame, The Strategy Company (endgamehq.com) has begun
developing digital interactive contents through the production of multi-media and animation of learning materials (gamification) in various languages. For
example, teachers take short videos and then jointly review and discuss
pedagogical approaches and particularly difficult topics to teach in informal
learning settings as part of their professional development.

Author
Precious Ebere, a delegate at the Innovating in Africa Expo (IEA 2019), is a
community development specialist with experience across technology, civic
leadership and youth engagement. She is also the Co-founder at “DO”
(dotakeaction.org), a civic start-up on a mission to build an active community of
young and old people taking action to drive sustainable development in their
locality.

Over the span of 4 years, she has worked actively to ensure women, girls and
children get access to inclusive and quality education, health and equal
opportunities through “DO” (dotakeaction.org).

Some of her work includes: the I-Woman (Innovative Woman) ICT Training
through which she empowered over 200 women within Abuja for financial
independence, leveraging technology. She also pioneered various projects such as Creators and Influencers for Social Change, Grassroots Development Champion, Relief hub etc. in which over 5000 people have directly and indirectly benefited from these projects.

You can gain more insight into Precious work via these links;

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NS34adbDUs

2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/precious-ebere-4452b2132/

3. http://ladybrillemag.com/preciousebere/

4. http://www.genderhub.org/be-inspired/news-stories

5. https://earthlovefaith.com/2018/12/06/taking-action-precious-ebere/

6. https://www.facebook.com/dotakeaction/

7. www.dotakeaction.org

8. app.plum.io/profile/974cdf40e2288a22c2e9c25c13d061eedab032bb

9. https://www.facebook.com/jciabujaunity

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