Educational technologies have the potential to expand the educational horizons of millions and the benefits of improving and having an efficient education system are clear. According to UNESCO's Education for All Global Monitoring Report one third of young people in sub-Saharan Africa fail to complete primary school and lack skills for work. Many students who do complete school leave illiterate.
This is contrary to the common assumption that it takes four or five years of schooling for children to use reading, writing and calculation with ease. It is accepted that class sizes and teacher-student interactions have a direct effect on the quality of education that a student receives. Sub-Saharan African countries have an average pupil/teacher ratio of 42:1 and it is expected that by 2030 there will be three and a half times as many young people in sub-Saharan Africa as there were in 1980. To achieve the goal of universal primary education it is anticipated that more than 2 million teachers will need to be trained and recruited.
These statistics show that sub-Saharan African education systems are in need of improvement and that there is an obvious capacity gap. Education technologies can alleviate teacher demands as they have the potential to reach out to a wide audience, away from the traditional classroom environment. For example, by using video streaming or screen-sharing technologies, content can be tailored remotely and delivery can be centralised.
This article seeks to demonstrate how Education Technology can help to plug the gap in relation to these educational deficiencies in Sub-Saharan African countries and highlights the opportunities and challenges that emerging educational technology companies wishing to penetrate the African market face.
What is Educational Technology?
Education technology (or ed-tech) encompasses advanced educational theory with hardware and software innovation. Modern examples of ed-tech make use of internet and mobile data connections and include video streaming services, screen-sharing programmes and other cloud and data content sharing platforms.
In the developed world, a variety of ed-tech is used to ensure education systems are efficient and to ensure educational content is delivered in an effective and cohesive manner. It may come as no surprise that modern ed-tech is not widely used in developing nations, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Some ed-tech provide flexibility as to when and where...