The role of technology in education in Africa faces numerous challenges. However, there is also an opportunity to leverage emerging communication technologies to meet the needs of a growing and diverse student population.
Several African countries have developed distance education programs. These include World Links, which links Benin with McGill University in Canada, and Telesun, which uses internet-based courses in Cameroon.
Distance education requires self-discipline on the part of the student. It can be very expensive to provide the equipment necessary for students to study. This is especially true in rural areas where telecommunications infrastructure is weak.
Although there are many obstacles to distance learning, technology can be a tool to improve the quality of education in Africa. By enhancing access to education and creating more flexible models, technology can increase the effectiveness of existing academic programs.
The use of ICT in education can help lower-income and middle-income students. In addition, it offers an opportunity to reach previously underserved populations. For example, students who have fled conflict can be provided with formal education. Similarly, refugees in Sudan have access to digital educational content through the War Child Holland’s Can’t Wait to Learn initiative.
Developing and implementing ICTs in the education system requires training on the part of faculty. Experts in both the public and private sectors can help train teachers. Ultimately, technology should be used as an objective tool in the assessment of teacher training.
While it is possible to leverage technology to provide secondary education in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are several obstacles that need to be addressed. Among the most serious is the lack of telecommunications infrastructure.