The Africa Tech Week conference is at the Century City Convention Centre in Cape Town and will run until May 5th. The conference is a gathering of some of the brightest minds in technology, education, and business. One of the most thought-provoking discussions at the event was a panel discussion on transforming education for the future.

The panel was led by global leaders in the field, including Shirley Eadie, Head of Education Innovation at the National Education Collaboration Trust; Ajit Gopalakrishnan, Head of Odin Education; Arun Babu, Managing Director and CEO at Deloitte Consulting Africa; and Claudio Ranaudo, Senior Vice President for Digital Industries at Siemens Sub-Saharan Africa. Shirley Eadie, a highly respected thought leader in the space, presented one particular outlook that stood out.

She outlined four key questions that we need to ask ourselves as we work to transform education for the future and discussed the role that technology can play in this process.

Before discussing the future of education, Shirley Eadie, Head of Education Innovation at the National Education Collaboration Trust, wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past. She highlighted what she called a “silent revolution” that has taken place in education over the past seven decades. “I heard something recently that I thought was amazing,” she said.

“One of the biggest silent revolutions has occurred in the last 70 years, and that is: around 1950, only one in two people had access to formal education, so roughly 50%. Today, that number is 95%.” Eadie went on to suggest that Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest percentage of access to formal education, with some age groups and regions having 60% of children who are not in school. “I think one of our first biggest opportunities for transformation is to use tech to rethink the format of schooling and conceptualize how we include all of our young people to make sure we’re bringing them to the stage,” she said.

According to Eadie, there are four crucial questions that we must ask ourselves as we envision the future of education in a world that will be heavily influenced by technology.

The first question is: What are we teaching, and what are our children learning?

Eadie believes that the majority of schools today focus on imparting knowledge and content. However, she argues that this approach is outdated. Instead, she suggests we should concentrate on teaching skills, mindsets, character, and attitudes. This shift is because the world is changing at an unprecedented pace. While knowledge remains essential, it should be utilized to teach and develop valuable skills and attitudes that children can use to succeed economically and socially after school.

The second question is: How are we teaching?

Eadie believes that we need to transition from passive education to a more active approach. She suggests that this could be achieved through problem-based and project-based learning.

Eadie believes that personalization is a significant aspect of education and that we need to move away from mass education, where the same material is taught to all children. She acknowledges this would be difficult, especially from a South African and African perspective. Eadie notes that many teachers in South Africa and Africa find it nearly impossible to personalize their classes. However, she believes that technology could be crucial in achieving this goal.

The third question is: What are we measuring?

Children receive report cards with grades that primarily reflect their knowledge and understanding of content. Eadie suggests that if we change the way we measure progress, not just assessing children at the end of a process but using measurements to personalize their learning, it would be more effective. She refers to this approach as an assessment for learning.

Eadie shares an anecdote about two 18-year-old developers who claimed to have two years of experience. When she questioned their claim, they explained that they had worked nights for Amazon while still in school. Eadie was impressed by the fact that they had left school with relevant skills and credentials and were able to secure top jobs at such a young age.

The fourth question is: How do we bring joy and curiosity back into learning?

Eadie believes it is essential to consider how we can make learning an enjoyable and engaging experience for children. In summary, Eadie believes that transforming education involves answering how we can help our children become more human. While technology is rapidly advancing, she suggests that we should complement these developments by helping our children understand their skills, attitudes, and uniqueness and teaching them how to bring those qualities into the world

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *