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Education Innovation Summit rallies behind the need for collaboration

The fourth annual  Education Innovation Summit 2019 took place on Wednesday, 29 May at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg and began discussions around emerging technologies in the education sector across the continent.

The summit highlighted the need for innovations to be user -friendly, collaborative and affordable so that accessibility no longer becomes an issue, particularly within underserviced communities.

During his keynote address, CEO of Fundi, Tshepo Ditshego unpacked codifying the enablement of student success. He further revealed that Fundi sees technology as neither a competitor nor a replacement.

“We see technology as complementary; an additional channel, resource, alternative towards success as the end objective. It must be approached in the spirit of experimentation and opportunity, with users consulted and partnered with throughout the journey,” he said.

According to Ditshego, the current status quo of education in South Africa is in a critical stage. South Africa was placed 139 out of 143 countries in a benchmarking survey ranking the overall quality of the education system.

“We know that of every 100 students only 36 are able to pass matric and only 14 are able to qualify for university. 80 per cent of children in grade 4 cannot read for meaning. The global average is 4 per cent. Half of South Africa’s schools don’t have libraries,” revealed Ditshego.

Under the theme, Reshaping Education for a Tech-driven Economy, speakers delved into what can be achieved through enabling technology in the education sector.

It was clear from the presentations that collaborations are imperative for the growth of the economy and bridging the inequality gap.

 

“Encouraging collaboration with the private sector is vital,” stated Dr Thembinkosi Twalo, Manager: Skills Development Research and Partnership at Moses Kotane Institute.

“What we need to consider is that when we talking about collaboration we are not talking about robots, it is human beings who engage in collaboration and we vary in terms of interests and values. The issue of power needs to be taken into consideration when collaborating. Some things are determined by how much power one has and unfortunately with some collaboration relationships some partners have big brother mentalities,” concluded  Dr Twalo.

Ulysee Baguida, CEO of U’Hope Company, Belgium said technology can enable better and efficient learning. He added that ,“Africa has everything it needs to become the best but it lacks in knowledge. The D@niel platform assists in that instance. With our software, we want to make learning better and accessible.”

During his presentation, Baguida addressed looking at the important role technology plays in advancing the availability of higher education to underrepresented student populations.

Other speakers at the event include:

  • Mmabatho Maboya, CEO, Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation
  • Professor Kobus Visser PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of Western Cape
  • Dr Corrin Varady, CEO, Ideaonline
  • Professor Osden Jokonya, HOD: Information Systems, University of Western Cape
  • Professor Alwyn Louw, President & Academic President, IIE MSA
  • Wynand Espach, Chief Operating Officer, AgriColleges

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