By Antony Mutunga
As economies around the world try to go back to normalcy, there is a need to highlight the challenges made visible by the pandemic and adopt the right solutions introduced. For instance, the education sector, especially in developing countries, suffered as students were forced to remain home, with only a few benefiting from online education.
With social distancing and avoidance of movement during the pandemic, most students worldwide were confined to home. As a result, online learning was no longer a future myth; it was the present. However, not all were able to enjoy this educational technology. Unprepared for infrastructure, equipment, and training shifts, many developing countries, primarily African, missed out altogether.
Apart from falling behind in online learning, many in these countries also face other barriers such as distance to school, poor environment, political and security instability, costs, health and nutrition, insufficient budgetary allocations to education, and poor quality content and processes.
The pandemic shed light on these challenges, and according to Nicos Nicolaou, the founder, and CEO of Unicaf, a leading higher education online platform, modern education technologies are crucial to handling these challenges.
The skillful use of modern technologies can enhance teaching and learning effectiveness and, thus, contribute to the goals and objectives associated with sustainable, inclusive growth and development. Hence, online education can eliminate current barriers to higher education in Africa, imposed by space and time, and can dramatically expand access to lifelong learning. Using flexible delivery models, students will no longer have to visit a physical location at specific times and days,” said Mr. Nicolau.
Africa accounts for a majority of the young population globally, which is expected to increase in the coming years. Therefore, online education can improve access to higher education, making it cheaper, more flexible, and more accessible to a broader range of students. Many institutions have taken up online learning during the pandemic, and they are training their lecturers on how to use the technology properly as it is here to stay.
According to Nicolaou, what was once the future is now the present, and the new shifts are here to stay, in one form or another. Various technologies, which are employed for online teaching, will reshape learning, both inside the classroom and beyond, well after the present pandemic subsides.
As the world’s youngest population, Africa needs to ensure that its growing young population is well educated. In doing so, the continent will be sure that its future leaders will reposition Africa as a dominant global player.