• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Africa must invest in teachers to enhance teaching skills – Experts

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Education experts have called on governments in African countries to invest in building the right skill set for teachers to enable them to keep up with the pace of global development.

Speaking at the #NextGen Educators Forum organised by HP with the theme: ‘The Transformation of Education Begins With Teachers,’ Simi Nwogugu, chief executive officer at Junior Achievement Africa, said educators need to understand that their traditional role as experts imparting knowledge has evolved to that of guides that facilitate knowledge-acquisition, design thinking, and critical reasoning skills in their students.

“Educators need to be equipped with emotional intelligence skills to be able to continually adapt to the needs of the students under their charge. Forums like this help steer all of us in the education sector in the right direction for how best to empower teachers to be more effective in the classroom,” she said.

Mayank Dhingra, senior education business leader for Africa, Middle East, and Eastern Europe for HP, said the time to rethink and reshape the future of Africa’s education sector is now.

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Dhingra said the past few years have thrust the sector into dramatically new ways of learning, adding that it has shown that Africa needs to empower teachers with the right tools to ensure that learners have the best chance at future-proof outcomes.

“The world of education is evolving, and teaching must be transformed to better meet the needs of a digital learner. That is why HP launched its Innovation and Digital Education Academy (HP IDEA), which plays a critical role in bridging the skills gap and forms part of HP’s goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030,” Dhingra said.

Folawe Omikunle, chief executive officer of Teach for Nigeria, said the only way African countries can reach their full potential is by investing in education.

“By investing in teachers, we are investing in our children’s futures, and inevitably that of our continent. We know there are numerous challenges educators face, and these discussions will help in providing African solutions to African challenges,” she said.

On the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brian Schreuder, former superintendent general at the Western Cape Education Department, said the disruption by the pandemic has proven that the education sector is resilient.

“We witnessed teachers implementing innovative strategies to keep learning at critical points of the schooling year. Armed with even better tools and relevant training, African teachers can transform this sector,” he said.

To understand the realities of 21st-century teaching, a study was carried out, which identified 10 skills as crucial to future-proofing classrooms for educators. About 70 percent of the teachers surveyed said that soft skills such as creative, innovative, critical, entrepreneurial thinking, and digital literacy are very important.

One in three teachers said they could benefit from additional training to improve the above-mentioned skills and that the development would have an enormous impact on the pedagogy.