Elearning Africa to Focus On ICT for Education in Rural Areas

High-level presentations at eLearning Africa, Africa’s leading conference on technology for development and education, will focus on the role ICTs are playing in transforming the continent’s rural economies by improving access to information and training.

Over 70 per cent of African workers are employed in farming and the role ICTs can play in boosting agricultural growth has been identified by the African Union as a key factor in making a reality of its 2063 Vision of a “transformed continent.” The subject has been described as “critical” by African political leaders and will be one of the matters under discussion at a roundtable meeting for education and technology ministers at the conference.

eLearning Africa will provide a showcase of a series of presentations about new training-based solutions to some of the most enduring challenges facing Africa’s farming and rural communities. Presenters include:

Mr Willis Ndeda Ochilo of CABI, a leading agricultural entomologist, who will explain how CABI’s ‘Plantwise’ initiative, which organises weekly plant clinics supported by an online database with access to international expertise, is helping to improve the productivity of agricultural crops.

Ghanaian Mr Albert Yeboah Obeng of Foresight Generation Club, who will discuss the contribution new initiatives, such as online farmer association meetings and agricultural e-commerce, can make not only to economic growth but to more environmentally sensitive farming practices and the development of resilience to the effects of climate change.

Mr Creesen Naicker of the MRP Foundation (a part of the Global Literacy Project), who will demonstrate the free, tablet-based learning platforms his organisation has been providing to disadvantaged rural populations in parts of South Africa, such as Kwa Zulu Natal.

Mr Nathan Castillo of the University of Pennsylvania will show the effect on struggling learners in rural areas of South Africa of providing culturally contextualised, high-quality digital content in local languages through the ‘Bridges to the Future Initiative.’

“If proven successful,” says Mr Castillo, “the programme will be scaled up to other low performing provinces and then throughout the entire country as a means of improving the quality of early literacy learning that takes place in the most marginalised environments.”