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Deputy Minister Mhaule attends 15th International Conference on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development in Rwanda

Basic Education Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule, led a delegation to Kigali in Rwanda to participate in the 15th International Conference on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development and Ministerial Forum from 10 to 13 May 2022.

The Ministerial Forum, Harnessing Technology to build Resilient Education Systems, which took place from 10 to 11 May 2022, brought together Ministers of Education to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education and how technology can help build back stronger and more resilient education systems. Discussions included tackling the data challenge to enable planning, monitoring, and assessment in Africa’s education systems. The Ministerial Forum was organised by the MasterCard Foundation’s Regional Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT (CITL). CITL invests in the design, testing, and validation of innovations with learners and educators and subsequently shares information and research on best practices and acts as a platform for collaboration among government, investors, and entrepreneurs and explores the potential to scale solutions across Africa.

Participants included Ministers of Education, their technical advisors, key stakeholders and private sector leaders in ICT for education. Deputy Minister Mhaule was accompanied by Ms Elspeth Khembo, Director for Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) and Curriculum Innovation and eLearning at the DBE.

In addition, Dr Mhaule attended the 14th eLearning Africa Ministerial Roundtable held at the Kigali Convention Centre on 11 May under the theme, “Getting Back on Track – Practical Steps towards 2063”. The Ministerial Roundtable examined aspects around the creation of an enabling environment for technology assisted learning and training; how African schools, universities and colleges should learn from global best practice; and how African institutions can create effective partnerships. The core mission of eLearning Africa is to showcase and support sustainable education solutions and improve access to relevant information, education and training, to drive economic and social prosperity.

The DBE was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and had to collaborate with various partners to ensure that learners and teachers have access to available digital technology solutions. “In line with the Framework for Skills for a Changing World, the DBE is expanding the training of both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies, including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence through the development of the curriculum on Coding and Robotics for Grade R-9,” explained Ms Khembo.

The DBE has established the National Core Team (NCT) with 80 members who will orientate the National Training Team (NTT), which comprises of Provincial Coordinators, Subject Advisors and Lead Teachers. The NTT will be responsible for the orientation of subject advisors and teachers in the Coding and Robotics Curriculum. Interventions during the pandemic included Virtual Classroom solutions; broadcast (TV and Radio); online content and support resources (educational portals and websites); social media platforms; the roll-out of tablets and connectivity through SIM cards to learners; support for learners without direct guidance of teachers through digital platforms and materials that support remote learning; and online zero-rated platforms.

“It is evident that COVID-19 has caused a major setback in the basic education sector in South Africa and other countries; and it is imperative for governments to work with global, private and other partners to make sure that resources are used optimally to assist teachers and learners to leapfrog the digital transformation era,” said Minister Mhaule during the Conference.

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