To find a more sustainable way of improving teaching and learning through the use of technology, government is being admonished to decentralize such technological resources in order to increase access.
Dr. Josephine Marie Godwyll, the Founding Director of Young At Heart, a social entrepreneurial organisation, who is making a strong case for this call says, rapid changes in the education-technology space demand a shift in the current approaches used in empowering students.
She makes a point that, the disparity in the availability of resources at the various community levels, such as electricity, internet connectivity, is hampering efforts in bridging the divide.
“ICT centres are good, but a district spans such a wide area and so not every child will be able to walk to these centers so why not decentralized it by using community centers, the chief’s palace or a place where they can use mobile ICT laboratories or any existing space and convert it into a learning space.”
Speaking during the EdTech Monday segment on the Citi Breakfast Show, Dr. Josephine Marie Godwyll also pushed for ‘offline solutions’ to drive the implementation of policies.
“So while we are thinking of expanding access by way of building more ICT centres we need to decentralize it to much more accessible areas especially in rural communities together with solutions that are offline.”
Dr. Josephine Marie Godwyll expressed particular worry about the widening digital gap.
She thus proffered what she describes as her ‘Three Ps’ in addressing inequality, especially in rural and low-income centers.
“It is important to look at Proximity to resources – there is a need to assess the resources so that we can design solutions that play to the strengths of the different places there are. The other thing is procedure- how are we engaging parents, teachers, policymakers in striving to bridge the gap related to Ed-tech. The third pedagogy -how are we developing content-sensitive platforms that harmer on the strength of the African child.”
EdTech Mondays is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT and part of the Foundation’s strategy to find solutions to Africa’s youth employment by closing the gap in access to quality education, and advancing the integration of technology in education policies and practices across Africa.
To realize this vision in Ghana, the Mastercard Foundation has partnered with MEST Africa, a pan-African technology institution to bring EdTech Monday, on the last Monday of every month.
MEST offers Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training, internal seed funding, and a network of hubs providing incubation for technology startups in Africa.
Founded in Ghana in 2008, MEST provides critical skills training, funding, and support in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s tech entrepreneurs. Hubs are located in Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya.
To date, MEST has trained over 500 entrepreneurs from across the continent and invested in over 80 startups across industries from SaaS and consumer internet, to eCommerce, Digital Media, Agritech, Fintech and Healthcare IT.
MEST is primarily funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and Outside Insight.