For Africa to fully optimise the potential of harvesting the demographic dividend, it is vital that the continent focuses on skills development directed at youths who make up the majority of its population.
The above statement states the idea that human development for the 4th Industrial Revolution is the answer to Africa’s present and future work prospects.
Given this background, every stakeholder has to make an effort to contribute in one way or another to the quest for sustainable human development through relevant education and entrepreneurship in an ICT-driven world.
The African Union (AU), through its various organs is on a mission to be at the centre of youth empowerment for real jobs and businesses. AU has given the mandate of coordinating its programs on human resource development matters to the Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST) Department. HRST also has a separate mandate to promote science and technology.
The Department encourages and provides technical support to Member States in the implementation of policies and programs in its fields. Key roles include: promoting research and publication on science and technology; promoting cooperation among Member States on education and training; encouraging youth participation in the integration of the continent; and acting as the Secretariat for the Scientific Council for Africa. The Department has three divisions: Human Resource and Youth Development; Education; and Science and Technology.
In line with its mandate, the HRST hosted an “Innovating Education in Africa Expo 2019” held from the 20th to the 22nd of August 2019 in Gaborone, Botswana. The expo was held under the theme, “Harnessing the Capacity of ICT to ensure Inclusion, Quality and Impact in Education and Training in Africa”.
Background and Context
Education and training remain the bedrock for human empowerment, inclusive prosperity and progressive development. However, this education has to be accessed by all, under all circumstances, including refugees and displaced persons; it must be of highest possible quality, included well equipped and motivated teachers; and must be aligned to continental aspirations and expectations as articulated in Agenda 2063.
Against this background, the African Union Commission held the Second Edition of the Innovating Education in Africa Expo in Gaborone – Botswana, from 20th–22nd August, 2019.
Purpose of the Event
The event was aimed at raising the visibility of these innovative practices in order that they can be supported, up-scaled, replicated or further developed. It was also an opportunity to celebrate African innovators, and expose them to networks of potential markets, advisors and sponsors of their work.
Venue and Format of the Event:
Innovations in the application of ICT In Education that have demonstrated impact in an African context, with potential for wide dissemination were identified through a Call for Submissions and were exhibited at the event. Groundbreaking research on use of ICT in delivery and management of Education was also presented.
Exhibitions included documentation, software, hardware, video and audio clips and demonstrations.
The expected outputs of the Expo included:
- Expo Report: a summary of key findings and messages of key policy and developmental relevance distilled from conference papers, innovations and keynote speeches
- Conference Proceedings: papers accepted for the conference were published in the proceedings book and on African Union Website.
- Education Innovators handbook: collection of the innovations that were exhibited during the event, providing information on the innovators and their contacts
- Expanded membership of the Africa Education Innovators Network