A major change that Africa has witnessed in the bygone years is the advancement made in the ICT or Information and Communication Technology. Thanks to the dotcom bubble and internet revolution in the rest of the world, Africa has witnessed major investment in the lay down of broadband internet cables and 3G technology. This has paved way for the popularity of wireless computing technologies namely Smartphone’s and tablets. All this has created a very conducive environment for leveraging the quality of education in the continent, especially at the college and university level. Improving the educational infrastructure of any city, nation or continent will have a direct impact on its industries. Education will ensure the availability of skilled resources which in turn will create job opportunities. Thus, education pays a pivotal role in developing a community, society or nation at large.
Any discussion on the scope and development of education in African cannot amiss the mention of economic bearings of the region. In one decade the African market has matured profoundly. There is now a well defined consumer class which is a backbone of any economy. While mature markets like US and Europe is facing economic meltdown, Africa is expected to grow at a steady pace in coming years.
Despite the overwhelming promise, African nations are faced with number of challenges, such as the lack of skilled resources. Unskilled workforce is one of the biggest challenges of any developing nation. This problem can only be solved if higher education especially ones dealing with vocational training and academics is improved. If a nation’s higher educational system is well developed then it becomes easy to cope with the technological standard of the rest of the world. It also reduces disparity and knowledge gap which is essential for maximizing output and efficiency. In short development of higher education and vocational training is integral for the economic growth of the nation.
Unlike the western world, there are few centres of higher learning in Africa. Years of political instability, poverty is the primary reason why higher education in African has been developing at a very slow pace. There is a big gap between demand and supply wherein 60% of African population in below the age of 25. The number of students who wish to seek admission for higher learning is quite a lot when compared to the number of universities and colleges that the content is home to at the moment. However, this problem is expected to resolve with the development of ICT.
In contemporary world, education is synonymous with technology. ICT has improved the flexibility as well the delivery of education. Through the internet, students can procure high quality learning material from anywhere in the web. The success of MOOC or Massive Open Online Courses bears testimony to that fact. Additionally, the usage of educational product such as mElimu becomes worthy, if only the technological infrastructure of a nation is strong.
Besides assisting students, ICT also presents an excellent opportunity for teachers to improve their teaching methodologies. Through internet, educators can get hold of interactive learning material, which can be used in classrooms to create an enhanced learning environment. Therefore, the role of ICT in improving higher education in Africa is integral for its growth and development.
(Image Courtesy : hyderabad.olx.in, foundationcentre.org )