Magazine article Technology & Learning

Investigating Education Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Investigating Education Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa

Article excerpt

The nations of central and southern Africa face challenges such as poorly trained teachers, lack of connectivity, and scarce resources. Education technologies are playing a role in helping educators in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) meet the challenges and improve curriculum to better prepare students for labor market demands.

Teacher training

According to recent estimates by the World Bank, approximately 200,000 new teachers will need to be trained each year for the next 15 years. In Zambia, the Ministry of Education estimates mat two trained teachers will be needed to fill every vacant position. One innovation to address this shortage is the Shoma program (www.saide.org.za/shoma/ contents.htm), which uses satellite TV, Internet technology, and collaborative lesson planning to provide in-service training for South African teachers.

Another program, CASCADE (www.smarternet.org/version2/Case/ Curriculum/Dcur-pra-casc1.htm), is a comprehensive computer-based tool to guide curriculum developers using exemplary science curriculum materials. Available on CD-ROM and online, this program has piloted in several southern African countries.

Access and Resources

Countries such as Botswana, Ghana, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya have been particularly involved in expanding access to advanced technologies in their public secondary schools. For example, the Tanzanian government is increasing computer access to 400 secondary schools, and the Kenya Education Network intends to connect 600 schools by 2001. The project includes developing courses on computer literacy and Internet technology for students, teachers, trainers, and resource center staff.

By participating in international programs like WorldLinks (www. wofidbank.org/wofidlinks/), I*EARN (www.iearn.org), and GLOBE (www. globe.gov), African students are taking part in collaborative projects using the Internet. The WorldLinks program provides Internet connectivity and training in the use of computer-based technology to schools in 18 countries, seven of them in SSA. The program then links students and teachers in developing countries with schools in industrialized countries to take part in projects such as GLOBE's environmental science collaborations. …

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