ICT for quality education Lessons from pioneering schools in Africa

ICT for quality education Lessons from pioneering schools in Africa

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ICT for quality education: Lessons from pioneering schools in Africa Africa: 54 countries, 3,000 languages, 900 million people, 18,000,000 students to be trained by 2015, and much economic ground lost. What a colossal challenge for the education system! Can ICT help meet these challenges? This is exactly what we will attempt to demonstrate in this presentation. With a balanced approach and supporting research results, this presentation will portray an overview of the key findings of one of the largest research projects ever conducted on ICT in African education, against all odds. Some 66,000 students, 3,000 teachers, 50 headmasters and headmistresses, and 150 school administrators in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and Senegal took part in this project, along with 30 researchers and researchers-in-training. The aim of this research was to investigate a range of African schools that were using ICT, known as pioneer schools. They were among the first to take on the challenges of technology, despite countless obstacles. Unlike many recent studies and international initiatives in Africa, we did not set out to confirm the pessimistic predictions of René Dumont 1 , presented over 40 years ago in his work False Start in Africa . Instead, and for once, we wanted find out what has been done well in Africa! The idea was not to mask the real situation on the African continent, which would only serve to reinforce pessimistic views. It is true that Africa faces enormous obstacles, including a population explosion, insufficiently qualified or unqualified teachers, high illiteracy rates, pervasive poverty and health problems, and socioeconomic disparities. And until very recently, the development and integration of information and communications technologies (ICT) have not been major priorities or even concerns for the organizers of forums on “important” African issues. In this long road towards development, described by Dumont and others as a “false start,” we wanted to show that technologies hold the promise that at the end of the day, Africa can dare to hope and dream, and can join the global village envisaged by MacLuhan, and maybe start to think about ICT for quality education in the 21 st century. This research presents an overview of an extensive research effort carried out in five sub-Saharan African countries (Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Mali and Senegal). It shows how African schools are striving to integrate ICT into education systems, one step at a time, so they can take their place among an international learning network, among the thousands of educational institutions worldwide where ICT have been entrenched. We illustrate how many schools are phasing in practical uses of the Internet by teachers and students. And, through multimedia centres, computer
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ICT for quality education Lessons from pioneering schools in Africa

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