Schools Will Need To Prioritize ICT For Kids in Africa.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are accelerators, amplifiers, and augmenters of change. They make it feasible to more flexible and dynamically reconfigure, and hence transform all aspects of how resources are produced and used, fundamentally restructuring economies and redefining how we interact with each other and the world around us. ICTs facilitate real-time communications, data analysis, and decision-making, accelerating the pace of economic change and increasing market volatility. This is according to Dr. William Lehr, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.
The world map on the consumption of internet shows Africa digital large gap when compared to other continents across the globe. It is easy to lay the blames on the low per capita income of the African continent or poor internet facilities, yet one important factor remains paramount; a very little percentage of kids in Africa study ICT most especially at primary level where good learning foundations are put in place. While kids in China, for instance, are able to build some of the less-sophisticated applications and digital platforms used around the globe, African kids are fed with lessons on how to draw an insect or history lessons of who discovered Mungo Park, River Niger, and the Red Sea. The chain continues up till secondary level where the emphasis is now being laid on the studies of religion as the moral conscience of a society plagued by the deficiency in moral, philosophy and other social sciences. Without questioning the importance of moral conscience subjects in our schools, it is also important to note that a moral society alone falls short of guaranteeing a veritable sustainable development for Africa
So what is the challenge? Most schools in Africa claim to have an ICT program, however, the intensity of such programs remains a fundamental question. Most of these ICT laboratories are lacking equipment and space, so consequently, access to this important lesson becomes a luxury than a necessity. The random survey carried out by Children Home International reveals how parents who disburse heavy sums of money for ICT programs in school hardly derive satisfaction especially when their kids cannot perform little tasks. Unfortunately, in a world widely dominated by the digital philosophy, ineptitude in gaining practical skills in ICT may signify an academic deficiency
ICT is important for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals
The global SDGs mostly target Africa, though much is not talked about on how the goals were tailored towards solving fundamental problems across the continent including the reduction in the wealth gap that currently exists between the ruling class and most African populations. A key factor thus towards the reduction of poverty must be centered around building skills around digital facilities. ICT is directly mentioned in 4 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in September 2015. As a catalyst for education, gender equality, or driving force of the construction of resilient infrastructures for a sustainable industrialization profitable for all, it is largely admitted that ICT plays a major role in the emergence of Africa.
Another random survey conducted by Children Home International using social media platforms reveals a positive feedback from internet consumers as regards ICT and job creation. According to most of them, the internet has contributed more to job creation than job destruction while policies varying from each government either destroys or creates ICT jobs
ICT training in schools in West, North, East and Southern Africa is very advanced, as it is the policy of these governments to promote it since they understand it is a strong catalyst for development. However, the same cannot be said for Central Africa, where government policies are counterproductive in boosting ICT training.
Two differences stand out.
In order to boost ICT, Côte D’Ivoire and Rwanda set up computer assembly plants to produce computers locally. Cameroon with a similar objective, went and took a loan from the Chinese, gave the money to a Chinese firm to manufacture 500,000 units, and also gave a contract to another Chinese firm for post-supply maintenance. In those other countries, thousands of jobs were created; in Cameroon, thousands of jobs were destroyed… while paying dearly for the loss. Again, take the case of Cameroon; most schools offer ICT training, but how many actually have internet connectivity. Noel TANGKO, Businessman, Buea Cameroon
Absolutely. We are in the digital world. … Everything is going e (online)
Most people have smartphones, even in my Village. So ICT knowledge guarantees job creation/employment. Take for an example you have a startup, and cant does a simple powerpoint, you’ll have to pay for someone to do it meantime if you had basic skills, you’d save that and invest in some other thing. Likewise, an employer will rather employ a full package; one who is competent in the job, and has other skills. which he wouldn’t need to hire you, then an IT personnel just for you.
“ICT in schools is indeed a catalyst to help our learners to compete on a global scale. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us we actually need to fast-track the rolling out of ICT hardware/software in schools.
NEDBANK, for example, has introduced a robot that can talk to customers and produce statements etc.
Pick N Pay has introduced unmanned tills where all items in a trolley are calculated by a device and the customer can pay via the new system of “tap and go”
Drones are doing work that was usually done by humans, a drone can be sent to a war zone and take pictures/videos without endangering human life. The same drones can also be armed. Fact is technology is reducing work for human resources and from a business perspective, it makes sense to use technology and make a saving on salaries, leave pay, labor unrest etc. This proves we need to move with the times and ensure our children get the education that is relevant or the current world economy.”
It is obvious the internet is generating millions of jobs for youths all over the world. This may even increase at a geometric rate in the next ten years, and it is expected that 8 out of 1o children born in 2018 will have completely newly created jobs that are inexistent as at now, 75% or more of these jobs shall be found online. The digital space is, therefore, an Eldorado in the 21st century that cannot be neglected
By Solomon Ateh, freelance writer, student journalist, and blogger