Today marks International Literacy Day, which highlights the basic human right for all people to know how to read and comprehend what they are reading. Despite advances in access to education and changes in attitude, according to UNESCO, there are still more than 771 million people who are deficient in even basic literacy skills.
Ironically, whilst the Covid-19 pandemic brought with it many stresses and strains, it has had numerous benefits for the education sector, including promoting access to learning, in addition to redefining the world of work.
Educators around the world have been astounded by the success of E-Learning processes and platforms that were hurriedly put in place by education departments, schools, universities, and private education facilities.
“Online education has been a thing for many years, but its growth in Africa has been slow not only due to issues of digital infrastructure, line speed, and access to appropriate hardware, but also due to the doubt with which online learning has been viewed, and the lack of digital skills from educators themselves” commented James Williams, Director, Events | Connecting Africa | Informa Tech, organisers of Africa Tech Festival, which will take place in Cape Town between 7 – 11 November this year.
With so much of the world’s urban spaces being shut down at short notice in the first part of 2020, educators had no option but to sink or swim. While there were undoubtedly plenty of teething problems, perhaps the greatest result of the lockdown was the realisation that ‘online can work’.
“Continents like Africa and South America might be behind the curve due to a lack of digital capacity, but on the plus side, the speed of development in the sector is enabling both continents to leapfrog to the newer technologies,” observed Williams. “This is important not just because it enables functionality at a level comparable to the ‘First World’, and hence gives a chance to be competitive, but it’s also a massive cost and time advantage because so many of the newer technologies rely less on outdated infrastructure.”
For Africa in particular, the potential to bring the biggest names in IT connectivity and telecoms to Cape Town for the annual Africa Tech Festival is a priceless opportunity to discuss, engage and build relationships with those key players.
Highlights of Africa Tech Festival 2022 – EdTech
For education stakeholders across Africa, the Keynote Panel titled Youth Empowered – Why Digital Education is the Key to Unlocking Africa’s Potential, is a must-attend, especially considering that 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25 (Thursday, 10 November 2022, 09:25-10:10, Africa Tech Festival 2022). The panel will unpack how governments, development agencies, tech giants and start-ups are working to ensure that the continent’s youth are given the environment, skills, and opportunities to ensure Africa takes its rightful place on tech’s global stage. Speakers leading this session include Jomo Erik (the African Leadership Academy), Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu (The Tony Elumelu Foundation), Chris Fabian (Giga-UNICEF), Timothy Were (Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Kenya) along with Paula Gilbert, editor of Connecting Africa.
AfricaCom 2022 will have a similar Keynote Panel at the same time, but with a focus on the importance of 4IR (Digital Skills Africa – Why an Educated Youth is Key to Unlocking the 4IR, on Thursday, 10 November 2022, 09:20-10:10, AfricaTech).
Other popular events on the festival’s schedule include panel discussions on the Importance of education in managing the cybersecurity skills shortage(Tuesday, 8 November 2022, 15:30-16:15, AfricaTech) and Surviving Talent Shortage in a Changing World.
(Wednesday, 9 November 2022, 12:10-12:50, AfricaTech), while the fireside chat on Developing a cloud-savvy workforce to meet the rapidly growing demand for talent (Wednesday, 9 November 2022, 15:15-15:40, AfricaTech) should interest a wide range of delegates.
Aside from the networking areas and exhibition stands, Africa Tech 2022 has a superb line-up of speakers, panel discussions, fireside chats, and presentations for visitors to experience. Several of the talks are free. To discover these refer to the Africa Tech Festival website as well as those that are for Premium ticket-holders, and which require you to book your seat in advance due to high expected demand for seats.