I recently attended the Innovation Africa event in Maputo, Mozambique with colleagues from Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education, Cambridge Assessment, Cambridge University Press‘s Education Reform and Cambridge University Press’s global digital team.
Innovation Africa is an annual ministerial conference bringing together African countries’ education ministries, tech companies (hardware/software) and education-support businesses.The event is held across three days; Day one is the ‘Africa Leaders Day’ and is open to government officials and select private organisations only. Day two and three are the main conference days which take the format of panel discussions in the mornings with short one-on-one meetings scheduled in the afternoon, where service providers can meet directly with education officials to discuss projects.
It appears that most African countries represented have nascent digital plans, with a focus on embedding 21st Century Skills in the curriculum and creating a ‘knowledge economy’-ready workforce. For example, Zambia has a project called Smart Zambia whereby they are creating digital resources to support teaching as well as distributing 75,000 tablets to learners. Kenya has set up an e-learning cloud with freely available digital resources for teachers and learners. They have distributed over a million devices to learners, assembled in Kenya via a public-private partnership with Brazilian Positive BGH.
At the conference, IBM launched their Digital Nation Africa project, an online digital literacy course curating open education resources into three training streams, the Digital Explorer, the Digital Innovator and New Collar Jobs. This innovative platform is freely available for residents throughout Africa, with the hope that education ministries adopt it as a means to distribute relevant local content in their countries.
UNESCO also used this opportunity to launch their report on accountability in education, providing feedback on the monitoring process they conducted over the past year with a focus on governments, schools, teachers and parents.