Africa on the Verge: Common Continental Goals at the 2018 eLearning Africa Conference
The 2018 eLearning Africa Conference (www.elearning-africa.com) was held September 26–28 in Kigali, Rwanda. As Africa’s largest conference and exhibition on technology-supported learning, training, and skills development, it drew more than 1,000 people from 70 countries—all of them coming to learn, network, share ideas, and get a glimpse at the future. This year’s theme was “Uniting Africa,” which asked important questions about how technology and education are helping move the African Union toward its 2063 goal of a “transformed continent.”
An impressive array of workshop leaders, presenters, and keynote speakers spoke about Africa’s need for stable and cutting-edge technological capabilities, which are required to improve and make educational outreach accessible to communities. The conference delved into topics of enormous importance to a continent that is at a crossroads:.
- In the past, internal division and external interference have held Africa back, creating artificial tensions, as well as fostering conflict and stifling growth. The scars of past divisions mark the face of Africa. Now, digital technology is bringing Africans closer together than ever before, creating an opportunity for education to transform the continent. With the world’s most youthful population, Africa is on the threshold of an era of unparalleled prosperity. How can digital technology and education help to break down barriers to competitiveness? How can technology and education combine to unite Africa?
- How can African leaders encourage information and communications technology (ICT) centered growth, innovation, and job creation? What are the new opportunities for sharing knowledge and expertise across borders? How can Africans learn together and, in doing so, put an end to the divisions of the past? What are the skills all Africans need to succeed in tomorrow’s marketplace? How can we prepare young Africans to compete in global markets and simultaneously address local needs? How can governments and the private sector work together to create the highly skilled workforce the continent requires? How can they nurture tomorrow’s digital entrepreneurs?
- What are the technological barriers to greater unity? What role can outside investors play, and what are the opportunities for them in a more integrated Africa? What technological solutions can assist collaboration? What needs to be done to improve connectivity and create the ICT infrastructure for tomorrow’s Africa? How can we develop an African information society and boost regional integration? How can digital technologies be used both to improve quality and to extend access? And how can ICT help to ensure that the Africa of tomorrow is truly inclusive, so that every citizen has a stake in the future of the world’s most exciting continent?
Daniel Mlambo, Program Manager for Opportunity Education, spoke about how a “Skills-Forward” approach can transform Africa as part of a panel discussion. (Learn more about Skills-Forward here). Through this discussion, Daniel shared OE’s vision for a skills-forward approach to learning, with its practical implementation through foundation and course skills, which has the potential to help young people across the African continent grow and succeed. Students empowered with such capabilities will have the power to transform Africa in an innovative, sustainable manner.
The event confirmed just how significant an impact Opportunity Education Foundation Tanzania has had to date. Through Quest Forward Learning young people are gaining a high-quality secondary education, and the opportunity to gain the mindset, habits, and skills to create value for their families, their villages, and their country.
Stay tuned: The 2019 eLearning Africa Conference will take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire!