By Kezia Agaba
ICT has a vital role to play in generating greater economic growth for Africa. This was put forward by the Vice-President Edward Ssekandi,at a conference at Speke Resort and Conference, Kampala.
“Uganda has identified ICT as one of the priority interventions in the country’s socio-economic transformation agenda,” the Vice-President said, adding that it was crucial to the Government’s ambitions to transform Uganda into a middle-income country by 2017.
H.E. Edward Ssekandi was speaking to welcome delegates at the opening plenary of eLearning Africa 2014, an event he described as “a milestone in African renaissance”.
He acknowledged the powerful role eLearning can play as a “catalyst” for delivering education. “eLearning can give students the freedom to learn when and where they want and at their own pace,” he said.
With its theme of “Opening Frontiers to the Future”, this year’s conference focuses on the role education and technology will play in ensuring a prosperous future for all.
eLearning Africa aims to create an atmosphere where ideas are shared openly and to inspire cooperation and collaboration on an international level. The Conference closes with a plenary debate, at which all participants have the chance to make their voices heard on a controversial topic.
This year’s motion, “This house believes there is now nothing more important to education than access to the Internet”, will be hotly debated by a diverse panel ranging in age from 27 to 74.
It is a motion that pits the idealists against the realists – those that believe that the Internet is capable of replacing out-dated modes of learning, and those who see it as a tool for enhancing existing methods.
And it is a motion that goes to the heart of what learning is about in Africa, where the Internet can, as Binyavanga Wainaina writes in the eLearning Africa Report 2014, help learners to “bypass the most irrelevant aspects of [a] stale education system”.
Stepping to the podium in support of the motion are Professor Venasius Baryamureeba of the Uganda Technology and Management University and Welsh grandmother Valerie Wood-Gaiger, MBE, the founder of “Learn with Grandma”. The opposition will be represented by South African teacher and blogger Athambile Masola and Dr Peter Bateman of the Association of International Schools in Africa.