ADEA calls for the revival of ICT in Education Task Force as IsDB and AfDB commit to support investments in ICT for education sector resilience in African countries

Dakar, Senegal, 30th May 2023: The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is set to revive the ICT in Education Task Force1, a vehicle driving policy level engagement on ICT integration in education in Africa through high-level ministerial forums. Albert Nsengiyumva, ADEA Executive Secretary, made this proposal at the launch of the report of the study on ‘the Use of ICT in Education and Remote Learning during crises and the required investment in Digital Transformation for African countries’ held on Thursday 25th May 2023 during the Ministerial Roundtable session on the margins of the eLearning Africa Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented varying challenges to countries towards ensuring education continuity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most countries had policies and initiatives in place, they were not optimized to deal with complex emergencies. As a result, the gains made in education in the past few years were lost. The ADEA 2022 Triennale’s Ministerial Declaration acknowledged the disastrous impact of COVID-19 on access, relevance and quality of education and learning in Africa. It, thus, became imperative to support the evolution of proactive and resilient education systems in Africa to ensure learning continuity during similar crises. Ministers at the Triennale equally recognized the role of innovative technologies in promoting inclusive and equitable quality learning and committed to leveraging technology solutions to re-skill teachers, invest in technology infrastructure and promote the digital transformation of Africa’s education system. 

Ministers present at the Dakar launch event acknowledged the low level of preparedness to deal with the pandemic despite genuine efforts at integrating and using ICT in the delivery of learning. Ministers from The Gambia, Rwanda and South Africa shared their country’s experiences on leveraging radio and television to ensure the continuity of learning.

Honorable Claudette Irere, Minister of TVET and ICT in Rwanda said, ‘pre-COVID-19, ICT was like our bible. We worked very diligently to adhere to this bible. Then COVID-19 hit, and all our schools were not linked. In response, we resorted to radio and television, just to continue learning. Our digital content soared. Our platform was hit with traffic we couldn’t handle. But post-COVID, we are revising our policies to reflect these new realities. We are also changing the way we are teaching.’ 

Dr Regina Makgabo Mhaule, Deputy Minister of Basic Education in South Africa, acknowledged that COVID-19 amplified the gaps. According to her, ‘COVID-19 opened our eyes to see the gaps, especially in rural areas. When schools were closed, we discovered that the schools in urban areas-maintained access and contact with their learners. At least 90% of our people have access to television or radio, regardless of urban or rural areas, so we leveraged that to continue learning.’ 

According to Honorable Claudiana Cole, the Minister of Education in The Gambia, it was about leveraging the lessons to build a resilient system and the country is already taking steps to deepen this process. ‘We plan to have regional, community-based television and radio stations to support teaching and learning. We plan to get this working by the school holiday in August 2023, so that pupils can make use of this to continue learning during the holidays. We want to digitalize the curriculum’ she said.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) reaffirmed its commitment to support interventions on strategies that will strengthen pedagogy among its member countries. In his statement at the launch event, the Vice-President Operations, Dr Mansur Muhtar, represented by the Director of Economic and Social Infrastructure at the Bank, Idrissa Dia said, ‘The Islamic Development Bank will focus its interventions on key strategies for integrating ICT in education including the building of appropriate support infrastructure, prioritizing sound pedagogy and training teachers on the use ICT to effectively support instructional processes and build the overall ICT capacity.’

Similarly, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) said that it has expanded ICT uptake in Africa. Patience Ekoh, Principal Education Economist, who represented Dr Beth Dunford, the Bank’s Senior Vice President for Agriculture, Youth and Skills Development at the Bank, said, ‘The Bank has invested over $1.5 billion in the past 10 years on ICT infrastructure development. Some of the projects include, $196m backbone fiber optic projects in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad; EUR 70m in the Digital Technological Park in Senegal, an infrastructure that currently hosts the Virtual University of Senegal, EUR 35m for the Technological Park in Cape Verde. The aim of these projects is to overcome the challenges posed by the lack of digital infrastructure in Africa.’

The launch activity featured a detailed presentation of the study, including the goals, methodology, key findings, and the recommended policy actions and investment areas towards a resilient education system in Africa. The study made five recommendations including increased investment in the identified areas. It proposed for countries to define ICT integration policies and develop implementation strategies; build the digital competence and capacity of the teaching workforce across Africa. This will require a revision of the teaching curricula. Other recommendations and priority investment areas include the development of solid partnerships that support ICT integration into education; drive the integration of ICT into teaching and learning exemplified by a sustainable e-content development strategy; invest in basic facilities and infrastructure, especially in renewable energy and affordable internet, expand television and radio coverage.

Prior to the launch event, ADEA and the commissioning partners engaged expert representatives from 112 of the 343 study countries on their country-specific priority areas for possible investments to strengthen the use of ICT in promoting the resilience of Africa's education. The common areas of urgent need include appropriate policies and strategies to guide ICT implementation in education, sustainability of interventions, electricity, broadband penetration, institutionalized in-service teacher capacity building, partnerships and collaboration especially with the private sector and the availability of digital devices in classrooms.

When revived, the ICT in Education Task Force is expected to use the outcome of this study, working with IsDB, AfDB, and the Mastercard Foundation, to support countries in implementing the recommendations under the key investment areas in a phased approach among other things. 

The ICT in Education study was commissioned by the ISDB and AfDB and was implemented across 34 countries in Africa, with the Mastercard Foundation supporting 10 of these 34 countries.


About ADEA 

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a critical voice and a forum for policy dialogue on education in Africa. ADEA seeks to empower African countries to reform their education systems to sustainably respond to key development needs. Visit ADEA’s website:

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  2. Benin, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and The Gambia.
  3. Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.