International experts in the education sector have called for the uptake of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the education sector for the region to transform its education system.
Speaking during the first of a three-day United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) cross-country workshop for the finalization of the country project documents of the UNESCO-Korean Funds-in-Trust (KFIT) project on “ICT Transforming Education in Africa”, in Harare, Zimbabwe, yesterday, the UNESCO regional director for Southern Africa, Professor Hubert Gijzen, said UNESCO takes a holistic view of the role of ICTs in all facets of life.
The “ICT Transforming Education in Africa” is a project developed within the framework of the UNESCO‐KFIT contribution by the Republic of Korea. The project, set to run from 2016 to 2018, intends to support the integration of ICT-based innovative approaches for education in three countries in Africa, namely Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
Already work on activities of the project is in progress to align with the efforts of the respective countries in meeting their national, economic and social development goals, and their commitments to the international education agenda stated in the Post-2015 education agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all.
The overall purpose of the UNESCO-KFIT joint initiative is to foster human and social development of the target states through the use of ICT-based innovative approaches to post-2015 education with a particular focus on mobile learning and ODL (Open and Distance Learning) to expand access to relevant lifelong learning opportunities and enhance the quality of learning.
Professor Wonjun Kang, counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Zimbabwe, concurred, reiterating that from sunrise to bedtime, everyone is under the umbrella of ICTs.
“The digital age has indeed transformed the way we work and live,” he told the meeting, explaining that the ROK has been a pioneer in the move from traditional textbooks to ICT-based digital text,” he said.
“This has been due to over two decades of investment in ICTs,” he said, urging Zimbabwe and Africa to modernize.
The permanent secretary in the ministry of higher and tertiary education and technology development, Ambassador Machivenyika Mapuranga, welcomed the RoK’s assistance programme to the three countries, agreeing that “Zimbabwe needs to build better platforms and pathways in educational development”.
“This project, KFIT, will indeed play a critical role in enhancing the quality of education as ICTs are becoming increasingly important in commerce and industry,” he said.
The workshop brought together representatives of Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as focal points from the concerned UNESCO field offices and experts from the Republic of Korea. (The project beneficiary countries include Rwanda who failed to send a delegation due to travel complications.)
By the end of the three-day workshop, the participants will have a finalized and relevant implementation plan for the project.
By Patrick Musira