Field Stories

eLearning Africa’s memorable keynote quotes

Sozinho Francisco MatsinheThe plenary sessions from eLearning Africa 2014 included a mixture of inspiring stories and informative insight from a variety of world-class experts. Addressing topics crucial to Africa’s future; see what speakers had to say in our roundup of memorable keynote quotes. 

Under the general conference theme ‘Opening Frontiers to the Future’, the esteemed panel of speakers in the opening plenary addressed a number of vital issues that formed the core of the agenda for eLearning Africa 2014.  Chaired by the Honourable John Nasasira, Minister for Information and Communications Technology, Uganda, speakers highlighted, amongst other things, the need to develop productive partnerships between the government and private sectors, as well as to create an environment that rewards entrepreneurship and encourages African-born innovation.

Iyadunni Olubode

Executive Director, LEAP Africa Ltd/Gte., Nigeria
Equipping Africans for Transformation

Iyadunni Olubode_eLA2014

“Everyone knows that knowledge is growing at an increasing depth and an increasing breadth, so you need people which can constantly learn and bridge that gap even while they’re in their current jobs […]. We inspire young people and provide them with the skills and the tools to bring out these changes.”

“In Nigeria, about 200 girls were abducted […] by young men who could be sitting in this audience as well. But they didn’t know better, so they were led into terrorism and violence.[…] My question is: are we going to let our young people grow up that way; are we going to collectively invest in the structures that are needed to support our young people?”

Noah Samara

Chairman and CEO, Yazmi, USA
Game-Changers for Learning Outcomes

Noah Samara_eLA_2014

“To truly educate 200 million students what do we need? We need many, many things, but at minimum we need teachers that know the subject matter, that are teaching and have been taught the art and science of teaching. You need an environment that supports professional development and learning for teachers, you need tools, learning tools, textbooks, books, at minimum to be delivered to schools.”

 

 

Dr Bitange Ndemo

Honorary Chair, Alliance for Affordable Internet, Kenya
Leveraging Technology to Improve Local Efficiencies

Dr Bitange Ndemo_eLA_2014“One of the secrets we did in Kenya a few years ago was that first we worked on the infrastructure, universal access to infrastructure, then we looked at how we could leverage content, local content, applications and innovations, empowering people through open beta. Then, capacity building through Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCS.”

“Africa must free up its data so we can start to use that data to make decisions. A good example is the agricultural sector where new applications can tell the farmers how much fertiliser to use in order to maximise productivity.”

 

Dr Kasirim Nwuke

Chief, New Technologies & Innovation Division, Representative of Carlos Lopez, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Skills, Technology and the African Transformation Agenda: Are MOOCs a Viable Response to the Skills Gap?

Kasirim Nwuke_eLA_2014“What prospects are there for MOOCs on the Continent? The evidence that I reviewed for this paper showed that less than 13 per cent of those who enrolled in MOOCs completed the course. The evidence does not support the narrative that MOOCs can be a panacea to African skills shortage. The most that MOOCs can be, according to evidence, is a complement to our education.”

 

 

 

Honourable John Nasasira

The Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Uganda
The Role of ICT in Socio-Economic Development from a Ugandan Perspective

Dr Kasirim Nwuke_eLA_2014“It’s our belief that everyone should have the necessary skills to benefit fully from the information society, therefore capacity building and ICT literacy are essential.”

 

 

 

 

 

His Excellency Edward Ssekandi

Vice President of the Republic of Uganda
The Impact of Uganda’s Macro-Economic Policy on the Education Sector and Opening Remarks

Edward Ssekandi_eLA_2014“I’m optimistic that we shall use this conference to share the knowledge and experiences in establishing efficient and effective strategies for developing, enhancing and sustaining the eLearning culture in Africa.”

“The need to promote and support innovations and initiatives, for production of appropriate and cost-effective technologies that will enhance eLearning and creation of conducive and enabling environment for, and to form appropriate policies, laws and strategies.”

 

Thursday plenary

In the Thursday morning plenary, experts shared their inspiring stories of how in a fast-changing, globalised world, technology can be an engine for education and capacity development.

Chaired by the Honourable Kamanda Bataringaya, Minister of State for Education, Uganda, the plenary highlighted some of the promising progress made across policy, technology and development.

Prof. Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe

Executive Secretary, African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), African Union, Mali
eLearning and the Quest for Sustainable Development in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges 

Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe_eLA_2014“The content of eLearning has to be localised. It has to be in our own pot, it can’t be in a borrowed pot. We need to have partnerships between the former colonial languages and the African languages spoken by the vast majority of people. So, unless eLearning has content that has something to do with our life it will be like cooking food in a borrowed pot, and we know for a fact that doesn’t kill hunger.”

“eLearning needs to thrive in an environment made of linguistic equity; otherwise it will render itself irrelevant and defeat the purpose it was meant to serve – to provide education for all, to take education to everybody.”

“African linguistic diversity is an asset that needs to be harnessed to foster the development of ICT-enhanced learning programmes and e-learning implementation.”

Jochen Polster 

Vice President EMEA, NComputing
Transforming Education with Unique Desktop Virtualisation Technology

John Polster_eLA_2014“We set out to bring computing to as many people as possible in the world. That has a lot to do with pricing, we need to have affordable solutions, but it also has a lot to do with simplicity and being able in any environment to bring good and simple-to-use computing to education.”

“In regard to ICT in education, we have set up ICT laboratories in schools, tertiary schools, institutions and universities. We are about to hit about 1,000 secondary schools with ICT laboratories. We give them averages of about 40 pieces if you’re on the national grid, if you’re not we give you about 10 when you’re running on solar panels. It’s one of the best projects in Africa, and we believe that by the end of next year all schools in Uganda will have computer laboratories.”

“There’s been a lot of progress, to be honest with you. The other day I was travelling to Kenya and there was this small family with a small kid, about five years, who said ‘oh, this plane has no Internet, what’s wrong?’, and I wondered ‘things have moved, really!’”

Friday plenary

The tone of the Friday morning plenary had an entrepreneurial spirit. A group of passionate keynote speakers, who know how to think global and act local, shared their fist-hand experiences of changes made at grassroots level.

Chaired by the Honourable William Nyombi Thembo, Minister of State for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Uganda, the plenary addressed the overarching question: How can governments, organisations and institutions lead and impact societies?

Godfrey Mutabazi

Executive Director, Uganda Communication Commission
Supporting education using ICTs

Godfrey Mutabazi_eLA_2014“In regard to ICT in education, we have set up ICT laboratories in schools, tertiary schools, institutions and universities. We are about to hit about 1,000 secondary schools with ICT laboratories. We give them averages of about 40 pieces if you’re on the national grid, if you’re not we give you about 10 when you’re running on solar panels. It’s one of the best projects in Africa, and we believe that by the end of next year all schools in Uganda will have computer laboratories.”

“There’s been a lot of progress, to be honest with you. The other day I was travelling to Kenya and there was this small family with a small kid, about five years, who said ‘oh, this plane has no Internet, what’s wrong?’, and I wondered ‘things have moved, really!’”

Mark East
General Manager, Microsoft EMEA & ASIA Education Industry Group
Transformation in Education

MarkEast_eLA_2014“By the year 2050, 25 per cent of the global labour force will be Africans, so we need to work now to prepare the next generation.”

“Data is showing that different skills are needed. There’s going to be more abstract tasks than standard, routine tasks and manual tasks. So, we have to focus on our curriculum change and start focusing on what I call competences; core competences in the curriculum. How do students make better decisions? How do they work in teams? How do they communicate more effectively? These are the core things that we have to be teaching them during the general curriculum.”

Beate Wedekind
Journalist, Author, Producer and Founder, THE NEW//AFRICA, Interim Germany Director of ONE, Germany/Ethiopia
From Headlines to Real Lives: Africa Really Is Rising

Beate Wedekind_eLA_2014“Change is really not about new buildings, change is about you. You make it happen.”

“You have to get attention, and in order to get attention you have to talk about yourself, and you have to talk about what you’re doing. You really have to let us know what you are doing so that we are really able to react all together. You are the frontrunners – it’s not the governments, it’s not the institutions, it’s not the organisations, it’s really you the people.”

“The African proverb, there’s a professor from Mozambique that told us yesterday: ‘Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you.’ So let’s cross that river together and let’s walk together and let’s drive together in the future. It’s about time for a new image of Africa.”

Bright Simons
President of the mPedigree Network, Ghana

Bright Simons_eLA_2014“As ICT providers, we have come up with an ecosystem for supply chain transparency which is having a massive impact on health. It may well be the case that in the case of eLearning that not all the dramatic impact, or the revolution, will come from those who are delivering actual content or delivering actual education. There could be a much wider range of impact coming from a much wider degree of opportunities that you might consider.”

“Fundamentally, the whole of the educational experience is one of the human relationship. We cannot begin to build e-content and build eLearning platforms until we understand the Africa within which we are preaching; until we have people who are sociologically sound, who have taken the time to immerse themselves in the African culture and who understand African norms of pedagogy, as well as African norms of learning and appreciation.”

 

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2 Comments

  1. alija Alfred Alamvea says:

    The conference was well organized. I would like thank the organizers for a job well done. However, we were informed that we would get all presentations in full online but up to now I have failed to find any. Please advise.
    Thank you

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