More and better education is crucial for Africa’s continued economic growth and for the job opportunities that such growth brings for the continent’s population. To that end, Africa’s educators must invest much more time, money and effort in information and communication technology.
▸ Published on 9 December 2013
▸ Published on 5 December 2013
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of Tunisia, I would like to wish you all welcome and express my gratitude for your presence here.
The results of this ministerial forum on ICT integration in education and training systems will be of paramount importance for the future of Africa. They will, I hope, make a relevant and effective contribution that will give greater energy to current national policies and strategies.
The fact is that the current African context is highly equivocal: though buoyed by solid economic growth, it is weakened by education systems that leave 30 million children out of school, thus compromising the future of our human capital. The challenges we face include training more than a million teachers, adapting textbooks to learners’ needs, controlling educational costs, and seeking economies of scale.
The equivocal nature of this situation requires that we give our full attention to the potential of ICT, and this is precisely the objective of this forum: to enhance awareness of still under-estimated importance of information and communication technology, which is already available to us throughout the continent. Our societies are changing rapidly and ICT is a major contributor to these changes. It is up to us to ensure, through strong political will, that ICT becomes an integral part and a driver of our education systems.
Information and communication technology will inevitably be a factor in the socio-economic transformations of the coming years, and as such, it needs to be rethought within the very foundation on which a society is built: the education system. Our experience in Tunisia shows how promising the assimilation of ICT can be for a society: these technologies contribute nearly 7% of our GDP. ICT can help us to enter a virtuous circle of development: accumulation of the knowledge and skills that our societies need for sustainable development, development of human and technological capital, innovative societies, economic growth and job creation, particularly for young people, and so on.
With this in mind, I invite you to take advantage of this forum to benefit from the experiences that will be shared here and to return home more aware of the importance, and the innumerable possibilities, of integrating ICT in your countries’ education and training systems.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tunisia