Education is the biggest concern in Africa as most countries in the continent grapple with inadequate education resources, thereby depriving children from nurturing their talent and skills. In fact, African education is gripped with challenges such as political, socio-economic, terrorism, poverty, insufficient government investments, and poor facilities.
However, amidst pressing challenges, Richard Appiah Akoto*, a school teacher at Betenase Municipal Assembly Junior High at Sekyedomase, Ghana, has given a ray of hope with his innovative method of teaching on how to use a computer, by drawing a picture of Microsoft Word, computer monitor, system units, keyboard and a computer mouse on a blackboard.
According to a survey*, conducted in 2012 by Brookings Center for Universal Education, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC, of Africa’s 128 million school-aged children only half will get the chance to attend school and learn basic skills.
The numbers indicate a fair amount of urgency in improvising education system in Africa and that’s where Ed-Tech could play a significant role.
What is Ed-Tech?
It is the use of technology in form of applications or tools to enhance learning, guidance, and education. These tools do not replace existing practices, but aid in delivering education. Technology eases communication, learning, teaching, checking individual progress, and more importantly, enhance the performance of the overall education system.
A lot has changed in the past couple of years. Although slow, Africa is witnessing a gradual rise in technology usage in education. Active adoption of technology is offering wider and greater potential for innovations.
The continent is growing in terms of internet penetration, mobile phone usage and ed-tech tools are creating a positive effect on education.
Data* indicating users of the internet, mobile, and social media vis-a-vis population (1,272 Million) in Africa as of 2018.
Active Social Media Users
82 % vs Population
Active Mobile Social Users
Let’s check how far the use of Ed-Tech applications and tools have risen in Africa.
- Introduction of mobile technology for general and educational needs.
- Increase in small and large-scale initiatives to distribute educational materials, support reading, peer-to-peer learning, and remote learning through social networking sites.
- Improvement in communication between institutes, educators, schools, students, and parents.
- Enhancement in education through m-learning (mobile-learning), online courses, and e-learning technology.
- Awareness and accessibility of education due to investments by local and international companies.
- Ed-Tech start-ups such as Obami, Daptio, Siyavula, Eneza, Chalkboard, and others.
- Access to resourceful e-learning platform, enabling remote students to educate themselves.
- Students get access to a range of online courses, undertake assignments and tests, receive results and certificate or diploma, online.
To prove the rise of ed-tech in Africa, we have a fine example, the African Virtual University* (AVU) an intergovernmental organization uses virtual learning (programmes and apps) and has trained over 40,000 students since 1997. In 2017, the university announced 29 new distance learning centers across Africa, in partnership with African Development Bank.
Attributing the gradual progress of online education to ed-tech start-ups and respective governments, initiatives by schools & universities, the status of education in Africa is improving and it looks very promising.