Getting ready for higher education: the role of ICT in secondary schools / Être prêt pour l’Université : le rôle des TIC dans l’enseignement secondaire May 2, 2008

This paper brings theory and empirical evidence to bear on the integration of information and communicationtechnologies (ICT) in education in Africa. New technologies are finding their way into schools in Africa and educators are experimenting with them with little support. The benefits of ICT for deepening the quality of learning are very real, as international research demonstrates. However, little research has been undertaken on the process of integrating ICT into African education systems and on training teachers to use ICT effectively. This paper describes one effort to fill this gap. The Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa (ERNWACA) and the University of Montreal researched the integration of ICT in education with students, teachers, school directors, and parents in 36 schools in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and Senegal.

Results show that the use of ICT can help secondary school students develop the cognitive skills necessary for higher education and for life when accompanied by appropriate pedagogies in school. However, teachers need access to ICT and opportunities to learn how to use them and integrate them in their teaching. When teachers integrate ICT into their teaching and into student learning, they tend to adopt more active and interactive pedagogical approaches that better prepare youth for a world of instability and mobility in which it is not how much we know that matters but how well we are able to learn, to adapt and to create. The use of ICT can support inquiry-based learning in ways that thin or inaccessible textbooks in Africa cannot. These trends in learning and teaching need to be understood and guided by educators and those responsible for education systems in general and teacher education in particular. This paper seeks to inform them and the processes they manage in order to maximize the benefits of ICT for pedagogical reform and improved quality of education.

 [Full version available]

By Therese TCHOMBE, Mohamed MAIGA, Kathryn TOURE, Moses MBANGWANA, Mamadou Lamine DIARRA, Thierry KARSENTI,  for 2008 Biennale of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa.

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