REVEALED: How Sierra Leone, Rwanda Can be Strong Cases Where Technology is Used to Improve Learning
Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 Tony Blair has stated that Sierra Leone and Rwanda can be strong cases for countries to emulate how technology can be used to get learning back on track.
He made this statement on Thursday, 28 July 2022 during a webinar on how technology is supercharging global education efforts.
“One thing I have noticed about Presidents and Prime Ministers we are working with around the world is that they are much more attuned to what technology can do. So I have quite different conversation quality with them with regards to data and data infrastructure. So for them to accept technology as a way of improving learning, it first comes by example, by showing people what is actually working. Like making them know what Sierra Leone or Rwanda has done and you can do it too, it is not that complicated,” he said.
The Former British Prime Minister said Education is the greatest liberation, noting that without access to education there is no access to opportunities. Explaining how technology can bridge the gap in learning, he said technology helps education with access, quality and at a cheaper cost.
The webinar discussion panel comprises; PM Tony Blair – Executive Chairman, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh – Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Chief Innovation Officer Government of Sierra Leone, Madam Paula Ingabire – Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation Government of Rwanda and Madam Léa Steinacker – Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer ada learning as moderator.
“We are very lucky to have with us two of the most able ministers in the Africa continent. Both of them are people who understand technology and understand how to utilize it. A lot of governments don’t understand how technology is changing the world so they are deeply suspicious of it. These two nations can serve as practical examples of how technology is changing the world,” he said.
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According to Dr Sengeh, there are three concrete steps that should be taken in order for technology to be used to improve learning outcomes and they are; think open source create together and share, think radical inclusion which create room for equity, noting that technology must drive equity and should not be seemed as something that further create the gap, but it should be deployed in such a way that it brings onboard equity, and finally, the world should think hybrid to ensure that all learners get access to quality education.
The Minister highlighted the gains Sierra Leone has made in using technology to improve access to education, ensure quality and reduce spending on education, among them, he talked about the result checker, the digital dictionary, the learning passport, the education radio that offers free distance teaching to most households among others.
Tony Blair served as and serves as Executive Chairman of the Institute. He set up the Institute to support leaders and governments, and he draws on his deep crisis management experience from his time in government and work with African countries during the Ebola crisis to drive the Institute’s response to Covid-19. He has mobilised the Institute’s 450+ staff in more than 20 countries across four continents to promote global coordination and help governments confront this unprecedented crisis and respond to other critical challenges.
According to Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, the global education crisis is real and urgent, noting that today, over 258 million children and young people are out of school and, post-Covid, 1 in 7 10-year-olds would struggle to read a simple text, adding that without radical action, the world won’t even come close to achieving UN SDG4.