Survey of ICT and Education in Africa

infoDev has published the report of a survey about the state of ICTs implementation in the education sector in Africa.

Some highlights:

  • Growing commitment to ICT in education on the part of government leaders across the continent. Leadership, leadership, leadership.
  • Public-private partnerships are important mechanisms enabling the implementation of ICT in national education systems in Africa. Mark Davies also spoke about this at the Web2forDev Conference when he presented Tradenet, and it’s getting a subject on which everyone comes over again and again.
  • The need for digital content development relevant to local curricula is becoming more
    urgent as ICT use becomes more widespread
    . Surprisingly, there’s few mentions to initiatives such as Creative Commons and no mentions at all about open access policies, strategies, debates and so.
  • Interest in open source software and operating systems is growing rapidly in Africa, but this growth is constrained by a lack of sufficient human resource capacity to support such systems and applications. Once again, the problem is not only infrastructures, but capacity building, digital literacy at all levels — and a strong local ICT sector, strong local industry. A chance for endogenous development?
  • Internet connectivity remains a major challenge, which is no surprise but becoming a major challenge as Web 2.0 demands more and more connectivity quality.
  • Wireless networks are developing rapidly throughout the continent, and of increasing relevance to the education sector, something that projects like One Laptop per Child have turned as their main asset/bet
  • e-Learning for Higher Education is still not widely adopted, despite efforts like the ones made by the African Virtual University, USAID’s DOT-COM, SchoolNet Africa, to mention a few. Lack of content, hardware and connectivity being some of the main barriers.

It is especially relevant to me what the preface states:

Despite widespread beliefs that ICTs can be important potential levers to introduce and sustain education reform efforts in Africa [and] much rhetoric related to the ‘digital divide’; there has been no consolidated documentation of what is actually happening in Africa in this area, nor comprehensive baseline data on the state of ICT use in education in Africa against which future developments can be compared.
A lack of information impacts planning […]
A need for coordination […]
No consolidated information resource […]

which I honestly think could be transposed to many many other areas of the ICT4D field. Hence, the need to establish a methodological framework for ICT4D and pursue more research, analysis, indicators, raise datasets, etc.

More info

(Thanks Michael)


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “Survey of ICT and Education in Africa” In ICTlogy, #49, October 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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