ByÂ Emeka Aginam
At the just concluded e-learning Africa held inÂ Senegalese, Gambia, the The President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, has outlined his vision for radical change in African education even as he criticized European governments for restricting access for African students.
In a wide ranging and controversial speech at â€˜eLearning Africa,â€™ the continentâ€™s major conference on online education, the 85-year old President said that technology now allowed African studentsÂ unlimited access to the best universities in the world.
” At a time when Europe closes its doors, eLearning is the answer for African students,” he said.
The President outlined his plans for technological advances, particularly in higher education, and emphasised that information and communication technologies (ICTs) couldÂ speed up Â» the learning process.
He also spoke of his determination to improve standards by ensuring that African universities obtain internationally recognised accreditation and warned that he will not allow Senegal Â« to become a waste bin for derelict computers. Â»
” The solution to computer availability in the developing world is not to take e-waste and call it a donation but rather to adopt new technologies that do reduce the cost of computing without any compromise”Â Â Â Stephen Dukker , Chairman and CEO ofÂ NComputing., added.
President Wade, who is keen to be seen as the champion of the benefits of technology for African education, has secured a major prize in bringing â€˜eLearning Africaâ€™ to Senegal. Over 1300 delegates, including ministers, officials, academics and business people from all over Africa and beyond, have gathered in Dakar for the conference under the Presidentâ€™s patronage to exchange ideas about expanding educational technologies in their communities.
The conference will conclude tomorrow with â€˜the eLearning Africa Debate,â€™ in which delegates will discuss whether technology alone can push African education to an international level.
eLearning Africa, 4th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training May
eLearning Africa 2009 is a conference organised by ICWE GmbH that focuses on ICT for development, education and training in Africa. The event establishes and links a pan_African network of decision_makers from governments and administrations with universities, schools, governmental and private training providers, industry and important partners in development cooperation.