ICT policy gets a shot in the arm

Policy implementation remains one of the key challenges facing African governments with regard to information and communication technologies in education.

January 23, 2013

Policy implementation remains one of the key challenges facing African governments with regard to information and communication technologies (ICT) in education, with a “crucial” need for education ministries to put in place systems that can allow ICT in education to work effectively.

That was the message from the head of the Wits School of Education, Professor Frances Faller, at the graduation ceremony for 27 educators from across Africa who successfully completed the Certificate in ICT in Education for Policy Implementers.

The Certificate is a collaboration between the World Bank Institute, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), aimed at strengthening government capacity in the implementation of ICT integration in schools. It is targeted at officials and professionals involved in the rollout of ICT in schools, colleges and universities across Africa.

Since the course was established in 2010, 32 educators from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan have graduated successfully.

“There are numerous projects to develop teachers’ skills in eLearning and ICT integration at the level of the classroom, and traditional technologies such as books and radios are being complemented by and integrated with modern digital ICTs,” said Prof Faller. “However, there’s a gap when it comes to implementation capacity in this specialised area of government.”

Microsoft’s Public Sector lead Kabelo Makwane says effecting transformative change in education required a systemic approach and cooperation between a range of partners.

“For technology to realise its transformational potential, it must form part of a comprehensive and integrated strategy that also revamps curricula and provides teachers with training and support,” says Makwane. “This kind of capacity-building initiative is critical to our vision of using technology to improve educational outcomes for the next generation.”

Aaron Makoba, a previous graduate and government employee explains that he now has the knowledge how to go about actually implementing the policies needed to create educational leadership by making the integration of ICT integral in the education landscape. “I now understand that computer learning in classrooms and through distance learning can create far better outcomes. It is not just necessary but I now know how to make it possible.”