NEPAD e-schools Initiative
The NEPAD e-schools Initiative is a transnational ICT technology and skills enhancement initiative by NEPAD of the e-Africa Commission, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) which is based in Pretoria, South Africa. It initiated ICT schooling in 16 countries in Africa through the demo NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project and aims to spread this to all African countries.
The NEPAD e-Schools Initiative was publicly launched in Durban at the Africa Summit of the World Economic Forum on June 12, 2003, as a priority continental undertaking aimed at ensuring that African youth graduate from African schools with the skills that will enable them to participate effectively in the global information society.
The aim of the initiative is to impart ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools as well as harness ICT technology to improve, enrich and expand education in African countries.
The specific objectives are:
- To provide ICT skills and knowledge to primary and secondary school students that will enable them to function in the emerging Information Society and Knowledge Economy;
- To provide teachers with ICT skills to enable them to use ICT as tools to enhance teaching and learning;
- To provide school managers with ICT skills so as to facilitate the efficient management and administration in the schools; and
- To make every learner health literate.
Practically, the initiative aims to equip all African primary and secondary schools with ICT apparatus such as computers, radios and television sets, phones and fax machines, communication equipment, scanners, digital cameras, copiers, etc, and to connect them to the internet. Each school is equipped with a ‘health point’.
The NEPAD e-schools Initiative's web site is at http://www.eafricacommission.org/projects/127/nepad-e-schools-initiative.
The approach adopted for implementation is “Continental Coordination – National Implementation”: the NEPAD e-Africa Commission plans, coordinates and sets standards at the continental level, the actual implementation and execution of the project is carried out by individual countries, which formally establish and capacitate a National Implementation Agency (NIA), which will be responsible for all aspects of implementation at the national level. Governments will take the lead in setting up the agencies.
The NEPAD e-Schools Initiative has a NEPAD e-Schools Concept Framework (PDF), which describes the major features, objectives and priority actions related to this initiative.
From the outset, it was envisaged that project execution would be holistic, including at least the following components:
- infrastructure (including computers, communications, networking, power, etc.)
- ICT training for teachers; content and curriculum development
- efforts towards community buy-in, involvement and ownership of the process
- “health point” definition issues
- organisation and management of the project
- partnership issues
- financial and sustainability issues.
The NEPAD e-Schools Initiative, which involves 600,000 schools across the African continent, will be executed over a ten-year period, with the secondary school component being completed in the first five years. Three phases are envisaged: 15-20 countries in each phase. The phases will be staggered by one year.
The NEPAD e-Africa Commission is spearheading implementation with several components running in parallel, namely: the Demonstration Project (Demo), the business plan, the satellite connectivity project, teacher training and content development.
The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project
The first phase of the initiative is a demonstration (demo) project that is being implemented by the private sector partners. This will accrue a body of knowledge, based on real-life experiences of implementing ICT in schools across the African continent, in order to inform the rollout of the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative.
The objectives of the Demo Project are to:
- Determine typical e-school scenarios and requirements in various circumstances in Africa
- Highlight the challenges inherent in a large-scale implementation of e-school programmes
- Monitor the effectiveness of multi-country, multi-stakeholder partnerships
- Determine best practice and exemplary working models for the large-scale implementation of the initiative, which aims to equip more than 550,000 African schools with ICTs and connect them to the Internet
- Demonstrate the costs, benefits, appropriateness, and challenges of a satellite-based network
- Demonstrate the costs, benefits, and challenges of ICT use in African schools
The countries invited to participate in the first phase were those which acceded to the MOU of the NEPAD African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as follows: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.
The Demo involves six schools in each participating country.
- NEPAD e-Africa Programme, NEPAD, http://nepad.org/regionalintegrationandinfrastructure/infrastructure/ict, , May 2012
- website, Nepad e-africa commission, http://www.eafricacommission.org, May 2012
- NEPAD e-schools Initiative, Nepad e-africa commission, http://www.eafricacommission.org/projects/127/nepad-e-schools-initiative, May 2012
- NEPAD e-Schools Concept Framework, http://www.eafricacommission.org/files/projects/NEPAD_e-Schools_Concept_Framework.pdf, May 2012
- NEPAD e-Schools Implementation Structure, http://www.eafricacommission.org/files/projects/NEPAD_e-Schools_Implementation_Structure.pdf, May 2012