EDUCATION experts and investors are coming together later this month at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa for a conference on education in Africa with a twist.
The gathering is set to discuss the role technology can play in building on Africa’s progress in education, training and development.
For ten years now, “eLearning Africa” has brought together top politicians and business leaders earning it the reputation of being the continent’s leading conference on ICT supported education and training.
This year will be no different. Attending the conference from May 20-22 will be the Prime Minister Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn; Chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; and Guenter Nooke, Personal Representative for Africa of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
The conference comes at a crucial juncture as several African economies continue to grow at annual rates of around 10%, and observers increasingly recognising that investment in education and technology is crucial to maintaining the momentum.
A recent report by the African Development Bank on progress towards the achievement of the MDGs noted the “spectacular leaps in primary education enrolment” achieved by African countries but emphasised that further progress was “central to inclusive growth.”
Ministers and others attending the conference will therefore be keen to look at ways in which technology assisted education and training can contribute to growth. Under this year’s eLearning Africa theme “Enriching Tomorrow”, the event’s extensive agenda includes sessions on subjects such as, “Can gamification transform Africa’s learning and skills gap?”, “Developing a generation of young employed leaders”, “Exploiting Google apps for health professional trainings”, “Improving reading skills of 15 million Ethiopian children: mobile technology supporting pre-service education”, “The future of eLearning for African journalists”, “Mobile learning: The future of education in Africa”, “Successful formulae to remove digital illiteracy from Africa” and “e-Agriculture climate initiatives”.
Rebecca Stromeyer, Founder of eLearning Africa and CEO of ICWE GmbH, the company which is co-organising the conference with the AU, said: “This year’s eLearning Africa takes place at a moment of real opportunity for the continent. Now is the time when technology can really help to entrench the progress many African countries have made in education. If the right decisions are taken now, they will help to sustain long-term economic growth. That’s why it’s very significant - and a very positive sign - that so many top political, business and academic figures will be at this conference.”
“And I’m delighted that, this year, we’re back in Addis Ababa. With a population of 87 million, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s largest economies. It is also a country, which is investing heavily in education, technology and communications infrastructure. So, it’s a very good place for our discussions about practical solutions and best practices.”