African States have been urged to prioritise affordable digital technologies and internet access, worthy investments, and commitment to education.
This call was made Tuesday by Ms. Thobekile Matimbe, Paradigm Initiative’s (PIN) Partnerships and Engagements Manager as the organisation joined the world in commemorating the International Day for Education, under the theme-“to invest in people, prioritize education.”
International Day for Education is an annual event celebrated on January 24th, to promote international education and awareness of its importance in human development. “Education is an integral part of every society, and we acknowledge technology’s role in learning experiences, she added.
Paradigm Initiative, through its Digital Inclusion programmes, which include the Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy, and Entrepreneurship training (L.I.F.E) for young people in under-served communities, and the LIFE@School training, a technology club that runs in secondary schools, aims to increase access to ICTs and digital literacy training for underserved African youth”, she said.
Through its Digital Readiness Programme for Girls, Matimbe noted that PIN, which is a leading Pan African organisation, has enabled young girls of school age to learn about technology. Since 2007, Paradigm Initiative has worked in under-served African communities, empowering young people with crucial digital, life, and business skills. The organisation bridges the digital gap by taking digital opportunities to young people where they are and ensuring their livelihoods are improved. It also provides support for policy advocacy around ICT and education issues.
“We acknowledge the obligations of African States to promote the right to education under Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the guidance to States made by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Principle 37(5) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, “ Ms. Matimbe stated.
These principles prescribe for states to adopt laws, policies and other measures to promote affordable access to the internet for children that equips them with digital literacy skills for online education and safety, protects them from online harm and safeguards their privacy and identity.
According to her, the emergence of technology has revolutionised how educators can use it to enhance the learning process for their students. Technology has also freed society from traditional teaching methods and opened up a world of new opportunities for teachers and students alike.
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the role that information and communication technology (ICT) can play in education, particularly in developing countries. ICT can provide new opportunities for learning, both inside and outside traditional educational institutions. Additionally, ICT can help to close the “digital divide” by providing access to information and communications technologies for those who might not otherwise have it.