eLearning Africa 2016 (V). Entrepreneurialism, Capacity Development and the Role of Education in Accelerating Change

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Plenary: Entrepreneurialism, Capacity Development and the Role of Education in Accelerating Change

Economic growth and technological innovations are beginning to change Africa but how can the transformation be made permanent? How can the pace of change be quickened? How can we ensure that Africa is not just transformed but able to compete in tomorrow’s markets? How can we encourage a new spirit of entrepreneurialism? How can we boost capacity development, to ensure that Africans are ready to seize new opportunities in the future? How can we empower African educators and give them the tools they need to teach new skills? How can we enable students to make the most of a new world of learning? How can we put education and training at the heart of Africa’s transformation? These are just some of the questions which our panel of experts will address.

Chairperson: Hossam El Gamal, Chairman of the Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC), Egypt

Dr Tarek Shawki, Secretary General of Presidential Specialised Councils, Egypt,
Keynote Address

Education in our lifetime requires great innovation and collaboration. We need to understand what is required from the ecosystem.

What is the relationship between the economy and education? We have to make this issue surface and take over the public debate. And the the social justice that should come with education.

It is likely that the assessment system is quite guilty for this dissociation between education and the economy, between earning a diploma and learning.

People lack autonomy because the system is ruled with a totalitarian approach. This lack of freedom implies that some decisions are left unmade.

A new project by the Egyptian government, the Egyptian knowledge bank, has been buying a massive amount of digital content (scientific, educational, etc.) from major publishers and put it online for free (for Egyptian IPs). But not only that, new textbooks are pointing at these resources, so that the content of the textbooks is enhanced by the one online.

The project is framed within a macro strategy to redesign Egyptian Education as an Education 2.0.

Prof Moses Oketch, Professor of International Education Policy and Development at UCL, UK
Perspectives on ICT, Lifelong Learning and Endogenous Development in Africa

Besides moneraty benefits of human capital, there are non-monetary benefits, like better health, etc. And, in addition to that, there is non-monetary social benefits (vs. individual benefits). It is time to put these concepts in the forefront of the public debate.

And technology has become crucial in the human capital formation. And not only human capital, but endogenous development. And this is crucial for sustainable development, while also reducing diminishing returns of investment.

Last, technology is changing the very concept of lifelong learning: you are actually learning all the time.

Four key connections:

  • Identify and support incentives for ICT and lifelong learning.
  • Overcome barriers arising from investment externalities.
  • Encourage and support endogenous technology/applications that are locally relevant and scale them up.
  • Enhance ICT inclusivity in learning and teaching to overcome structural inequalities and skills deficit.

Dr Rania Reda, Founder & CEO of ITQAN for Smart Solutions, Egypt
We Can Dream Bigger Now

To transform education we have to take into account all education stakeholders: students, educators, parents, administrators, etc. And entrepreneurs come and try and fill the gaps that these stakeholders might have to unleash their full potential, to optimize performance. Assessing the stakeholders’ needs is the first step for transforming education.

Augmented reality can certainly help to improve education. By projecting things that do not exist into real life, learning can be much more engaging, a requisite for real learning. Visualization, quite often, helps to understand complex concepts, eases the assimilation of content.

How to use augmented reality in schools: help with homework (e.g. a video is displayed when a page of homework is scanned), book reviews (e.g. the student can annotate a book and anyone can read/hear/see it), parent virtual inspiration (e.g. record parent encouraging their child), yearbooks (e.g. bring photos back to life), word walls, lab safety, deaf and hard of hearing flashcards.


Oketch: how do we measure the impact of technology in matters of learning outcomes? We have to begin to measure learning in different ways as we do now. We haven’t figured out yet how to do it, and it will certainly be the next frontier.

Rania Reda: besides infrastructure — which is crucial — mentoring is very important: many times one knows what to do, but does not exactly how. And here is where coaching an entrepreneur can lead to very good results.

In a very near future, learners will be much more learner-centered in their learning. When information is abundant, one begins to learn how to access and manage information, and to use it for learning.


eLearning Africa (2016)