Digital transformation in education key to stirring growth in East Africa
Africa’s ‘skills of the future’ requires firm partnerships between NPOs, private and public sectors
By Abey Tau
There’s an ongoing discussion about development in East Africa and a new narrative have emerged in recent years that it is a lot more exciting. It is a story of resilience, self-reliance and a passion for growth facilitated largely by technology.
It is therefore encouraging to see trade investments being committed by South Korea and its East African counterparts, as it will allow more people to access technology and address the issues of skills and employment. Case in point is the signing of a bilateral deal to set up a key science and technology institute in Kenya for a tune of 10 billion Kenyan Shillings (US$98 million) which could prove to be an important accelerator of growth.
But the issue of education, skills and employment are not for the public sector alone. It is against this backdrop that Samsung Electronics Africa have adopted an attitude of innovation; introducing world-class technology where it previously hasn’t existed.
Our aim is to make sure that every African child have access to education no matter where they are – be it in a rural area lacking infrastructure or perhaps in an existing infrastructure but lacks educational resources – by providing access to technology.
Samsung sees education as the seed of innovation and we believe digital technology can completely transform the learning process, as well as the nature of teaching and learning, to create inclusive environments for everyone.
Our Solar Powered Internet Schools, Smart Schools and E-Learning Centers provide solutions that deliver on this vision, and improve the quality of learning, enhance teaching effectiveness and allow administrators to run institutions more effectively. We work with educators around the world to improve learning experiences through the use of technology, facilitating a classroom environment that gives students access to a world of knowledge.
Through these initiatives, Samsung hopes to instill a love of learning in students so that they may have equal access to opportunities and go on to become active participants in the economy.
For example, the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy provides extensive, hands-on training to learners in the technical field. The programme forms a core part of Samsung’s vision to fast-track the entry of African youths into the electronics job market and to reduce the shortage of scarce skills in the IT industry.
We see our efforts – along with those of our government and NPO partners – as an ecosystem. Samsung’s aim is to increase the number of learners accessing technology, an aspect vital to their education process. This in turn allows learners to learn apt skills which will prepare them for the workplace of the future and acquiring in-demand skills is a critical step not only for individual, but also for social and economic development and the upliftment of the continent.
Africa has a beautiful story to tell. And a responsible corporate citizen, Samsung is committed to help write this story through the innovation, expertise and technology we provide.
And from were we sit, the story is made up of various episodes of digital innovation, hope and triumph that will soon be seen and heard around the globe.
Abey Tau is the Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship Manager for Samsung Electronics Africa. With over 10 years’ experience in the local and global development arena, Abey was a South African finalist in the 2014 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) / Mandela Washington Fellow and was selected by the National Empowerment Fund as one of 56 young junior managers for a secondment in Paris in 2011. He continues to sit on the Board of AIESEC at Monash University.