Consortium formed to enhance ICT implementation in education Zachary Ochieng
At the recently concluded eLearning Africa 2010 in Lusaka, Cisco, Education Impact, Intel, Microsoft, University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and the World Bank Institute announced a collaboration to strengthen government capacity in the integration of ICT in schools. The six organisations have designed a blended learning programme, called the “Certificate in ICT in Education for Policy Implementers,” for officials and professionals involved in the roll-out and integration of ICT in schools and colleges across Africa. The programme is aimed at strengthening their knowledge of the field of ICT governance in education.
Designed to help boost the public sector’s local capacity, the programme has been developed especially for middle to senior management government officials in Africa whose role in education is either in curriculum leadership, management, and policy or planning related to the use of ICTs in schools or colleges.
“Simply dropping off a computer in a classroom is not a solution to the challenges facing African educators,” said Ntutule Tshenye, Citizenship lead, Microsoft West, East, Central Africa & Indian Ocean Islands. “We know from long experience that it takes strong support from the government to make ICT implementations sustainable and relevant to local schools in the long term.”
Based on initial feedback from ICT policymakers and educators from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda who previewed the course’s goals in August 2009, there is still a significant lack of guidance, professional development opportunities and regional best practices sharing available to the implementers and administrators despite the increasing government investments in ICT access.
“To be competitive in the global economy, nations must prepare today’s students to thrive in tomorrow’s workforce” said Shelly Esque, Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Intel Corporation. “21st century skills like technology literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration are the foundation for knowledge creation and the springboard for the next generation of innovators who will create economic growth for Africa in the future.”
“Technology that is fully integrated into the national curriculum and teachers’ practices is the best way for students in Africa to achieve the critical 21st-century skills they need to prosper in the global economy,” added Yvon Le Roux, vice president, Africa Levant, Emerging Markets, Cisco.
Designed to address this balance, the Certificate’s course consists of three modules, “Computers in Schools,” “eLearning Pedagogy and Assessment” and “eLearning Policy and Practice.” The course begins with a month of introductory online modules, followed by a weeklong workshop at the Wits campus, and is completed by a further two months of online coursework. Graduates of the course receive the “Certificate in ICT in Education,” accredited by Wits as a postgraduate certificate of competence.
“We designed the course specifically to equip policy implementers in Africa with the skills they need to bring modern technologies into the classroom,” said Ian Moll, Associate Professor, Wits School of Education.
Eight students from Nigeria and Tanzania attended the pilot course in April 2010 and a second intake of students is planned for later this year, where the consortium hope to attract more students from ministries of education, universities and teacher training colleges across the continent.
“Building up the technical capacity of some of the most critical professionals in Africa is not a short-term fix, but rather a long-term solution to the local students and education systems that rely upon their expertise,” said Philippe Mero, CEO, Education Impact.
Education Impact (www.educationimpact.net) is an independent global fellowship of the world’s leading consultants focused on the effective use of information technology to transform teaching, learning and institutional administration.
Launched in early 2008, Education Impact recognises that the education community requires access to high-quality consultancy services through all stages of information and communications technology (ICT) strategy development and execution, to help deliver powerful educational outcomes.
The University of the Witwatersrand, also known colloquially as Wits, received its full university status in 1922 after growing from the Transvaal Technical Institute and Transvaal University College. It is now one of South Africa’s leading universities and is recognized internationally as being a high quality institution. The University is structured into five Faculties which comprise 34 Schools spread over 400 hectares in Braamfontein and Parktown in Johannesburg and includes the School of Education.
The World Bank Institute (WBI) is the Bank Group’s principal provider of learning activities. WBI's mission is to be a global facilitator of capacity development for poverty reduction, helping leaders, institutions, and coalitions address their capacity constraints to achieving development results.