CONTENT by lonyoo


                Gaborone, Botswana
                27 April – 2 May 2003


                       SchoolNet Africa
                 Commonwealth of Learning
International Institute for Communication and Development
    Department for International Development: Imfundo
                    Open Society Institute
                     World Bank Institute
      International Development and Research Centre

T    he ICTs in African Schools Workshop held in Gaborone, Botswana from 27 April to 2 May 2003
     represents a milestone in the history of school networking in Africa. For the first time African
schoolnet practitioners involved in the grassroots application of ICTs in schools engaged with
policymaker counterparts in government ministries of education in communicating experiences,
sharing ideas, and exploring their policy implications.

The ICTs in African Schools Workshop brought together representatives of schoolnet-related
organisations and ministries of education from 25 African countries and a sizeable number of
representatives from the major international education and ICT partners in Africa, including several
United Nations agencies. Professor Peter Kinyanjui represented the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD) eSchools Program for the eAfrica Commission, whose patron His Excellency
President Wade of Senegal was unable to attend in person, but sent a message of support by fax,
noting the importance of ICTs in education for Africa’s development.

Table one below provides an analysis of participants who attended the workshop.

      Practitioners                            181
      Policymakers                              25         There is no better tool
      Government Ministers                        2
                                                           for Africa’s great leap
      Teachers                                   15        forward than ICT. But
      Youth / Learners                           40        the golden door … is
      Male participants                        146         education.”
      Female participants                       60
                                                           Excerpt from message to the
      African countries represented              25        workshop from President Wade
      Non-African countries                       7        (Senegal), Patron of the NEPAD
                                                           e-Africa Commission
      TOTAL PARTICIPANTS                       206

      Table One: Breakdown of Workshop Participants

The Workshop was organised by an international partnership of ICTs in Education organisations and
agencies comprising SchoolNet Africa, The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the International
Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Institute for Communication and
Development (IICD), the Department for International Development (DFID) Imfundo Project, the
Open Society Institute (OSI), InfoDev, and the World Bank Institute (WBI). The Botswana
Government acted as official host organisation, with the Honourable Ministers of Education and
Communication, Science and Technology respectively opening and closing the Workshop.

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                    1
The Workshop Program addressed four major themes:

       The Educational Challenge in Africa and the role of ICTs
       Curriculum Integration, Content and Capacity Building
       Appropriate Technology Solutions for African Schools
       Affordability and Sustainability

Presentations within each theme summarised research commissioned by SchoolNet Africa and its
Workshop Partners over the past 18 months. This enabled participants to engage with the researchers
and experts, and debate theme-related topics in parallel workshops. The results of these debates were
tabled at plenary sessions.

The research reports presented at the workshop are available online at A
number of these reports will benefit from the discussion at the workshop, and incorporate feedback
and perspectives from participants.

The main points which emerged from each theme discussion are summarised in the full Workshop
Report. The following key issues were highlighted:

The Educational Challenge and the Potential Role of ICTs
In the context of the socio-economic crisis that characterises Africa’s political economy and education
environment, speakers and participants noted the importance of investing in ICT-enabled education,
and the potential for improving access to education and its quality and efficiency.

Curriculum Integration, Content and Capacity Building
The importance of curriculum integration as the education value-added dimension of ICT application
was highlighted. Developing African education curricula with attention to the production of education
content in local African languages was regarded as important, and participants noted a dire need for
teacher training programs on a mass scale. Connecting teacher training institutions as an initial
strategy was discussed extensively.

Appropriate Technology Solutions for Africa Schools
Defining solutions appropriate for Africa was a key issue. Here the debate on appropriate software
solutions was among the most provocative, following a comparative study on proprietary and open
solutions. Discussion on wireless Internet access solutions recommended utilizing existing satellite
transponder space for advancing access to education to African schools. It was further considered that
an education rate or e-rate for services should form part of telecommunications policy, as part of the
universal service obligations of operators.

Affordability and Sustainability
This session involved the range of donor and private sector representatives present at the workshop
and discussions on existing sustainability models and revisiting relationships between donor
organisations and development agencies and local schoolnets were debated.

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                       2
Country Reports
In addition to the above, country representatives reported on developments and progress made at both
policy and practitioner level. These reports revealed a wealth of information, experience and signs of
progress, albeit uneven, across the continent.

The Workshop’s objectives were:

       For African schoolnet practitioners and policymakers to meet counterparts on the continent
        face to face, share information and experiences and seek solutions to challenges, consolidating
        the network of schoolnet practitioners and policymakers in Africa.
       To allow for extensive discussion on grassroots experiences and to determine policy
        implications based on these experiences
       To share African examples and case studies on how ICTs have supported learning and
        teaching and to determine the critical success factors
       To enable a better and more in-depth understanding of the issues that confront senior
        education officials when considering the use of ICTs in education
       To inform upcoming events such as World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on
        perspectives affecting African communities
       To contribute towards the research areas in the program and to inform further research.

Evaluations conducted by African Teachers Network and World Bank Institute representatives reflect
that these objectives were largely achieved. Challenges articulated by participants for consideration in
future workshops included:

       that there should be a better gender balance in the representation and input,
       that urgent and serious attention be paid to non-English speaking participants, and adequate
        translation facilities made available throughout future workshops,
       that the workshop program should include a variety of methods of information sharing and
        interactive participation.

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                       3

D     uring the course of the five-day workshop, participants identified a number of programs and
      projects to build on the work that has already been achieved in Africa in the ICTs and education
sector. Towards the end of the Workshop, a dedicated discussion on the way forward highlighted
priority areas for intervention.

Recommended priority programs and projects are listed below, with further detail in Appendix A.

1. Advocacy
It is imperative to establish and build the case for the value of the integration of ICTs in the education
system in Africa through awareness-raising programs with governments, institutions and international
agencies. Lobbying and communicating the issues through a variety of media should be considered
within and outside Africa.

2. ICT in Education Policy
The Workshop recognised the supportive role that policy can play in providing an enabling
environment for the cost-effective use of ICTs in schools. Meeting the policy challenges through
sharing best practices should be considered. Baseline studies and video documentaries of policy
experiences and processes should be undertaken. Policy documents and statements, implementation
plans and policy research need to be consolidated and capacity-building seminars for policy-makers
should also be considered.

3. Research
Research areas include developing a baseline evaluation of ICT prevalence and use in schools, the
evaluation of the impact of ICT on teaching and learning in the classroom, the development of open
standards for educational software, identifying actual costs and benefits, and using ICT to support
learners with special needs.

4. Building Human Resource Capacity
Specific projects to integrate ICTs in the teacher professional development systems at national level
should include:
     encouraging the pre-service and in-service teacher training system to use ICTs,
     researching effective models for teacher training,
     development of distance learning teacher training courses,
     capacity building programs for principals and heads of departments and policy training at
         school level,
     training on the establishment and management of schoolnet organizations,
     training for schoolnet champions and technical training.

5. Curriculum and Content
Projects that promote effective integration of local curriculum with the use of ICTs are important to
encourage the value-added educational use of ICTs in schools. In particular, HIV/AIDS affects all
aspects of education and schooling and using ICTs for HIV/AIDS education should be considered a
priority area.

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                         4
6. Access to ICTs in African Schools
A major campaign should be embarked on to advocate and lobby for access to computers by schools
in larger quantities and at reduced costs, and cheaper access to the Internet for schools through e-rate
policies. Local computer refurbishment centres should be established, which will serve as computer
distribution and maintenance centres.

7. Information Sharing via a Clearinghouse
Schoolnet Africa's Education Knowledge Warehouse should be further developed as a clearinghouse
where a wide range of resources and reports of value to practitioners and policymakers will be index
and/or housed.

8. Engendering ICT in Education
Given the dearth of research and action on mainstreaming gender in the ICT and education sector,
projects dedicated to integrating gendered dimensions into ICT and education policy are
recommended, as well as specific projects aimed at the empowerment of girls and women.

The Workshop Partner Organisations have agreed to consolidate and co-ordinate implementation of
the above-mentioned recommendations. The team of organisations will establish a process which will

       Widespread distribution of the Workshop Report Summary, the Workshop CD and videos of
        the four themes discussed at the Workshop,

       Partnership development with more stakeholder groups in Africa and internationally. Here the
        interactions with the UN ICT Task Force eSchools initiative and the NEPAD eSchools
        Program are imperative.

       Implementation plans, partnerships and support for individual projects raised in section 2.1

       Continued use of the virtual discussion group established by IICD, for ongoing consultation,
        debate and discussion.

       Making effective use of the opportunity provided by a number of ICT and education-related
        events such as the World Summit on the Information Society.

In conclusion, the Workshop was considered successful particularly in consolidating a pan-African
and international network of schoolnet practitioners and policymakers, donor organisations,
development agencies and private sector representatives.

It has opened the way for co-ordinated interventions in Africa over the next period, particularly in
view of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) processes currently under way.

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                       5

     PROGRAM            PROJECT                   DESCRIPTION                          COUNTRY
                                                                                       / REGION
     1. ADVOCACY        Awareness Campaign        Making the case for the value of     Pan African
                                                  ICT investment in education
      2. ICT IN         Base-line studies         Assist countries to conduct a        Country level
     EDUCATION                                    baseline study to inform both
       POLICY                                     policy and the development of
                        Video documentary of      Produce a video illustrating how     Pan African
                        ICT policy and practice   countries have addressed the
                                                  need for ICT in education
                        Collation of ICT in       To collate and make available        Pan African
                        education policy and      print and electronic versions of     and other
                        planning documents        policy and implementation            countries
                        Development of ICT in     Work with countries to develop       Country level
                        education policy          ICT in education policy and
                                                  implementation plans
                        Capacity building         Conduct workshops and courses        Sub-regional
                                                  to develop the skills to construct   level
                                                  ICT in education policy and
     3. RESEARCH        Research on the use of    Establish benchmarks and             Pan-African
                        ICT in the African        indicators, evaluation
                        education system          mechanisms and ways to
                                                  measure impact.
    4. BUILDING         Pre-service teacher       Develop the capacity of teacher      Pan African
  HUMAN RESOURCE        training                  training institutions to train
     CAPACITY                                     teachers to use ICTs
                        In-service teacher        Develop the capacity to deliver      Sub-regional
                        training                  in-service teacher training in
                                                  ICTs using both contact and
                                                  distance education methods
                        Research on effective     Research on effective models for     Pan African
                        models for teacher        teacher training on using ICTs in
                        training                  the education system

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                        6
                        Developing teacher          To review existing teacher            Pan African
                        training courses            training in ICT courses and
                                                    construct or reversion courses
                                                    (including using distance
                        School-level                Capacity building programs for        Country level
                        management training         principals and heads of
                                                    departments and policy training
                                                    at school level.
                        Schoolnet champion          Conduct management training           Sub-regional
                        training                    courses (including using distance
                                                    education) for schoolnet
                                                    managers and champions
                        Technical skills training   Conduct training to increase the      Sub-regional
                                                    level of technical skills available   and country
                                                    to address ICT problems               level
   5. CURRICULUM        Content localisation        The development of projects that      Sub-regional
    AND CONTENT                                     encourages the production of
                                                    education content in local
                        Appropriate Curriculum      Research on Frameworks for            Sub-regional
                        Integration Frameworks      Curriculum Integration that are       and country
                                                    appropriate for African               level
                                                    education systems
                        Curriculum Integration      The establishment of curriculum       Sub-regional
                                                    integration projects that focus on    and country
                                                    current national curricula, and       level
                                                    which takes account of
                                                    curriculum reform processq
  6. ACCESS TO ICTs     1 million computers for     Lobby CEOs and international          International
      IN AFRICAN        African Schools             agencies in an attempt to move
       SCHOOLS                                      to scale
                        Refurbishing centres        Establish refurbishing centres in     Pan African
                                                    a number of countries
   7. INFORMATION       Build information portals   A multilingual repository of          Pan African
    SHARING VIA A       or clearinghouses such as   education and ICT information
   CLEARINGHOUSE        the SNA African             which will index and/or hold a
                        Education Knowledge         wide range of resources of value
                        Warehouse and the           to practitioners and
                        Development Gateway         policymakers.
   8. ENGENDERING       Engendering ICT Policy      Guidelines and mechanisms for         Pan African
  ICT IN EDUCATION      in Education                integrating gender into ICT for
                                                    Education Policy
                        IT is Hot for Girls         Technical training for girls and      Sub-regional
                        Refurbishing centre run     Establish one or two refurbishing     West Africa
                        by girls and women          centres run by girls and women

ICTs in African Schools Workshop Report Summary                                                           7

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