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The inevitability of digital education and Africa’s readiness to adapt post-COVID

PUBLISHED: Wed, 25 Nov 2020 17:24:27 GMT

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The education system in Africa buckled under the demands of hard lock-downs due to the pandemic. With universities and schools required to close, learning institutions had to embrace technology and move to online teaching. This has left parents and students reeling amid concerns that the quality of education may suffer and that high student dropouts would result from this e-learning shift.  

COVID-19 has brought the socio-economic divide into sharp focus and highlighted the risk of learning loss at the lower end of the education spectrum. At the same time, universities grappled with aligning high quality and socially distant learning while maintaining a viable business model, which promulgated the urgency to implement integrating digital transformation into the education system. The world of work, already in flux prior to the pandemic, is set to change dramatically, demanding new skills sets from graduates. Educators have to be innovative, flexible and forward-thinking to stay relevant and equip the new generation for the demands of the future. 

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 20-30% of the working-age population in the United States and the European Union was engaged in technology-enabled and on-demand, independent work before COVID-19 and that number is expected to grow. 

“Much of the developed world has been able to quickly shift learning to online platforms thanks to the pervasive high-speed internet connectivity and broad use of internet-enabled devices in those markets. In Africa, too many children simply don’t have that option. Public and private sector organisations will need to build on the success that has been achieved over the past years to bring digital skills learning to more of the continent’s youth. Such efforts should focus not only on expanding access to technology among especially rural communities, but on equipping teachers and educators with the tools and knowledge they need to be effective digital learning champions. The investments we make in training our youth today will pay huge dividends as we steer through the coming years and decades.” said Cathy Smith, Managing Director, SAP Africa.

Through a series of expert panel discussions, CNBC Africa; leader in business, financial data, news and insight, in partnership with FORBES AFRICA and prominent sponsors across the education and tech industries, will be hosting their first virtual 6th Annual Future of Education Summit. The event is aimed at unpacking learning models, entrepreneurial “innovativity” within education and to unravel the changing landscape of the work environment. 

“Education is one of the cornerstones in the development of a country. Given Africa’s growth, it is becoming increasingly important to focus on matching future opportunities with proper capacity building. The Forum on Education which is now in its sixth year is a platform that debates the needs with useful solutions for the future by bringing together a wide range of thought leaders. This year is our first virtual summit and we are looking forward to an interesting discussion on issues that have been compounded by COVID 19.” said Rakesh Wahi, Founder of the Future of Education Summit, and Co-Founder of the ABN Group. 

How do we engage and retain students, digitally, and create differentiation? What is the best way forward to pursue new markets, monetize assets, restructure business models, or accelerate digital learning environments? These are some of the critical questions that will be addressed during the virtual conference, set to take place on the 26th of November from 12:00 CAT.  

Speaker line-up:  

  • Rakesh Wahi, Founder of the Future of Education Summit, Co-Founder, ABN Group. 
  • Dion Shango, Chief Executive Officer, PwC South Africa 
  • Cathy Smith, Managing Director, SAP Africa
  • Prof. Zaheer Hamid, Academic Director, MANCOSA 
  • Prof. Seth Kunin Deputy Vice Chancellor International, Curtin University 
  • Prof. Malcolm McIver, Provost,  Lancaster University: Ghana 
  • Prof. Gary Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Management: Western Australia 
  • Dean McCoubrey, Founder of MySociaLife 
  • Omar Farooqui, Founder of Coded Minds 
  • Dan Adkins, Group CEO, Transnational Academic Group 
  • Prof. Mark Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton 
  • Sunil Geness, Director of Government Affairs, CSR and Global Sustainability Lead, SAP Africa 
  • Anita Nel, CEO of Innovus and Chief Director: Innovation and Business Development, Stellenbosch University
  • Jon Foster-Pedley, Dean, Henley Business School 
  • Bethan Grillo, MD: Global Purpose, Corporate Responsibility, New World New Skills, PwC United Kingdom

CNBC Africa’s virtual platform allows attendees who register and watch its free events, to take part in discussions via Q&A sessions, and also get the opportunity to network with other attendees. 

For more information on the Future of Education Virtual Summit or to register for the event, please visit https://bit.ly/3kFJ4Ms, or follow us @cnbcafrica, @forbesafrica for more updates. 


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