African ministers debate importance of ICT integration in education and training at forum in Tunis

Education and training ministers from throughout Africa took part in a panel at the First African Ministerial Forum on ICT Integration in Education and Training in Tunis.
The ministerial panel took place on 11 December, the last day of the three-day forum.
Angola’s secretary of state for training, Professor Narciso Benedito, said his country’s policy was that ICT must be integrated from within, saying: “We need an endogenous approach.  We should define a national policy.”
ICT was also something that was necessary for the development of the country, he added.
Also, it was important to have partnerships with different groups, pointing out the importance of Angola’s partnership with ADEA.  It was not just the responsibility of government.
Mali’s minister for employment and training, Mr. Mahamane Baby, said for his country, with its huge surface area and its limited resources, providing ICT coverage was “a real challenge.”
However, he said, the establishment of fibre optic networks was underway, having been interrupted by recent security problems.  Ninety per cent of the country was now covered by mobile phone access, “so we can introduce ICT into education and training.”
He also emphasized the importance of partnerships with organizations such as Microsoft and Intel. 
Finally, he noted that his country “will ensure vulnerable groups and the displaced will not be excluded.”
Mozambique’s deputy minister of education, Professor Arlindo Chilundo, said this was “an extremely important meeting for the whole of Africa.”  He said strategic planning was important in the efforts to integrate ICT into education and training.
He stressed the importance of empowering people at the local level, commenting: “We cannot just import software.  We must produce our own content.”
Niger’s minister of professional and technical education, Mr. Chaibou Dan-Inna, said ICT was an opportunity to “make a leap in development….for sustainable economic development based on quality education for all.”
Uganda’s state minister for primary education, Mr. Bataringaya Kamanda, said his country had an ICT policy in place and had invested in education at all levels.  Schools had broadband access and the use of solar panels for energy was widespread.  “We are moving on very well,” he said.
Senegal’s minister of national education, Mr. Serigne Mbaye Thiam, pointed out how ICT was a “window of opportunity” to make a leap in educational development. 
ADEA’s co-organizers of the forum were the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF) and Intel, under the auspices of the Tunisian government through its ministry of education.

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