eLA Report 2015: ICTs boosting growth but teachers reluctant to change

Addis Ababa, 21 May 2015

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the key to improving education and thus boosting growth across Africa – but there is still widespread reluctance among teachers, trainers and managers to abandon traditional methods in favour of new solutions.

That is one of the key findings in this year’s eLearning Africa Report, which will be launched this evening (Wednesday) at the eLearning Africa conference in Addis Ababa by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dr Debretsion Gebremichael. A sneak preview of the report will also be given to African education and information technology ministers at the 8th eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table today.

“Worryingly,” say the report’s editors, Harold Elletson and Annika Burgess, “our survey of 1500 African education and ICT professionals shows that, despite the importance of ICT in education, there is insufficient awareness in many schools, colleges, institutions and government departments of the benefits it brings.”

57 per cent of those surveyed by eLearning Africa said that educators in their own countries are still not “sufficiently aware of the benefits of using ICT in education” – although 95 per cent agreed that “ICTs are the key to improving education” in their own country.

“Reluctance,” according to the report, was “a major theme emerging from teachers and educators; many revealed that their attitude towards ICTs in education was not always shared throughout their institution.”

The report identifies a number of obstacles, preventing the greater use of ICTs in education and training. These include the cost of services and equipment, poor infrastructure and a lack of awareness about how best to use ICT for teaching and learning. 74 per cent of teachers also said they were not provided with enough support to improve their digital literacy. Only a third (33 per cent) of primary school teachers said they had been properly taught digital skills.

“Whilst the failure of teachers and educational institutions to take up the technological challenge is disappointing,” says Elletson, “there is little doubt that in many African countries, the contribution ICTs are making to improving training is having a significant impact on performance and growth in key sectors.”

In the agricultural sector, for example, 91 per cent of survey respondents involved in farming say that ICTs have led to increased yields, 87 per cent say they have helped them to develop new business opportunities and 71 per cent say they have used them to adopt new farming techniques. They may be having a wider environmental benefit too – 90 per cent say that ICTs contribute to better food security and sustainable development in their region.

“It is clear that, with a greater focus on using ICTs effectively to improve education and training, African economies can benefit substantially,” says Burgess.

The Report concludes that “raising the awareness and skills of teachers – and learners – is crucial for ICT integration to be successful. A lack of awareness about the benefits, as well as the lack of digital skills, leads to reluctance to embrace them.”

Available free to download, the eLearning Africa Report 2015 combines interviews, features, literature and opinion pieces including:

  • Former child soldier turned rapper, actor and activistEmmanuel Jal on access to education in conflict-affected countries
  • Interviews with M-Pesa pioneer Michael Joseph and Wikimedia’s Executive Director Lila Tretikov
  • Author, Editor and Director of the Pan-African Baraza Firoze Manji on reinventing Africa’s future
  • An analysis of Africa’s eLearning readiness by UNECA’s Aida Opoku-Mensah
  • Poetry from Bobana Badisang
  • 55 individual country profiles
  • Reference guide to ICT and education funding, plus the latest eLearning statistics
  • Results of our comprehensive survey of education and ICT professionals, universities, health and agricultural workers

Press Contact
ICWE GmbH, Andrea Ricciarelli
Andrea.ricciarelli@icwe.net
Tel.: +49 (0)30 310 18 18-43, Fax: +49 (0)30 324 98 33

Social media
Facebook Page: eLearning Africa Facebook Page
Twitter: @eLAconference & #eLA15
LinkedIn: eLearning Africa
Youtube Channel: Youtube ICWE

eLearning Africa Report: elearning-africa.com/report

Press releases: elearning-africa.com/press_media_news_releases.php

News Portal: ela-newsportal.com

Photographs: elearning-africa.com/press_media_gallery_2014.php

One thought on “eLA Report 2015: ICTs boosting growth but teachers reluctant to change

  1. Thanks to E-Learning African Perspectives for researching this problem at this initial stage when most African countries are transforming their economy into a Digital Economy. As a one-time secondary school teacher in Sierra Leone as of 1983-1999 and presently residing in USA and studied Network Communication and Telecommunication Management(undergraduate) at DeVry University,Arlington,VA.and again registered to pursue my Master’s degree in Information Systems Management at Keller Graduate School of Management,Arlington,VA,USA I feel the same way as my present colleagues in various African classrooms of today. Teaching a new concept that is quite different from the traditional curriculum teaching with little or no technical and human capacity trainings needs strong resource mobilization.
    Teaching a new concept like, Integration of Information and Communication Technology in Teacher Education and Primary and Secondary learning platforms in African, needs a lot of planning,trainings,logistics, Network Connectivity in all schools, Solar Energy for charging laptop batteries and OX-Computers for both teacher and student usage. But, all this needs effectively planning and funds availability for sustainable development.
    African teachers are naturally talented and if this project could succeed, they should be expose to basic IT Trainings in the following Microsoft programs, MS Words, MS Excel, MS Power Point, and Disassemble/Assemsemble of Computers for a least two months so that they are really comfortable in hands-on-lab.
    Today, I have spent four years of my academic life in researching and writing a project proposal (Wangoh One Laptop Per Child Project) as how ICT could be integrated in Primary and Secondary Schools of Sierra Leone. I discovered that, in any research like this, the research project should be funded and researchers should be on the ground so that he/she could dialogue with Teachers, Students, Education Stakeholders, Civil Society Groups, Youth Groups, and Traditional Leaders, Members of Parliament, Private and Public Sectors.
    If all this conditions are met, the project would see a headway for education sustainable development known as “Education for Prosperity”

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