As part of the PEI’s work investigating how Africa’s technology boom can be applied for scientific development, we have undertaken a series of research and mapping consultations to explore the potential for pilot programmes for higher education and industry training on the continent. Our consultations have interviewed and surveyed academics and others across Africa and we are now working with all partners interested in expanding ICT educational tools, working with universities and those in key industries. The topic of the 2013 consultations were:
How can mobile learning better be utilised for scientific development and higher education in Africa?
Mobile technologies are pervasive in modern societies’ worldwide. More and more people use mobile devices both for personal, business and public services, enhancing lifestyles and improving livelihoods. According to Maximise (Mobile, a 2012 World Bank report, over 6 billion mobile subscriptions are in use worldwide and 75% of the world now has access to a mobile phone, and with some 650m mobile phone users, Sub Saharan Africa now has more than either the EU or the US.
What chance, then, is there for mobile technologies to drive educational standards across the continent? The equation looks straightforward, with an energetic telecommunications industry expanding while traditional educational institutions continue to battle with entrenched problems of infrastructure and capacity. Yet, while there is great potential, hype around the technology has detracted from delivery on the ground, and projects are criticised for being too isolated and narrowly focused.
Our consultations, including surveys and interviews, as well as cross-sector workshops, are helping define future and potential projects at universities and scientific institutions in Africa.
Read the consultation paper PEI Insight Mobile Education Africa and get in touch to discuss collaborating with us on m-learning projects in Africa’s educational system.
Can mobile learning tackle the skills gap in the African mining sector and in key industries on the continent?
In partnership with DeBeers, we held a second consultation looking at the potential of mobile technologies to improve training and skills in the mining sector in Africa. Although challenges remain regarding its many and varied application in Africa, there was resounding support for the current and future role of ICT in education on the continent in our consultation. Over 75% of respondents believe that platforms such as e-learning and m-learning can play an important part in contributing to human capacity development, and in reducing the skills gaps across economy-defining industries like mining.
Read the PEI Insight Mobile technologies and the skills gap in the African mining sector for more information. The PEI will be actively taking forward a pilot project in Africa in 2014 and welcome collaboration from interested parties.