Madrid (E), November 2021 - The Spanish edtech company ODILO is working in partnership with UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring Report and the Global Online Learning Alliance (GOLA) in an unprecedented collaboration to discuss the future of education and technology's role in it. Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, the three have convened an online interactive discussion on the upcoming 2023 GEM Report looking into knowledge generation and the creation of skills development.
The impact of the pandemic has accelerated the implementation of technology in educational systems. In sub-Saharan Africa, policymakers, officials, and educators alike are looking towards a future of blended and hybrid learning, but are conscious of the challenges this will bring in infrastructure, technology use, and digital skills for teachers, among other things.
For the first time, the 2023 GEM Report will address the critical question of the role of technology in education and seek evidenced examples, both quantitative and qualitative, illustrating the consequences of implementing ICT for education. Together with GOLA (Global Online Learning Alliance), ODILO is supporting the UNESCO GEM Report consultation to understand these challenges and set the foundations of said report.
The edtech company is sharing its experience gained offering technology services to public education systems, including to clients in the Ministries of Education of Uruguay, Colombia, Chile, Ivory Coast, The Philippines, and Canada, as well as the Education Departments of Madrid, Extremadura, and Navarra in Spain. In the past eighteen months, they have launched unlimited learning platforms for organizations in ten African countries.
"What we shared with the ministers and officials is how we can support them with launching Unlimited Learning Ecosystems, which include reading and writing programs, STEM and Entrepreneurship programs, Digital Skills, and Teacher Training Certifications - all available through a singular app that works both online and offline, is fully customized, and is aligned to their curriculum requirements," explains Scott Smith, Vice President for Governments at ODILO.
The first consultation of the 2023 GEM Report on technology and education began with a series of group discussions during which ODILO experts and GEM Report researchers met with representatives of Ministries of Education of 23 African countries. Among the attendees were Hon Jerome Ochieng, Principal Secretary of State Department of ICT & Innovation, Kenya; Hon Claudiana Cole, Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia; Catherine Appiah-Pinkrah, Director General Administration, Ghana; and Haroon Mahomed, Chief Director Curriculum Management and Teacher Development, South Africa, Western Cape Province Department of Education.
Government officials from these counties were able to expand and deepen their insights, as well as raise their concerns about the integration of technology in education and to explain their experiences and success stories from the past year and a half. The issues that raised the most awareness were curricula, policies, knowledge, content, basic and digital skills, and the safety of online learners.
"Being a part of this project is an honor for us. It's now been years since we set off on our mission of transforming the learning sector, and this consultation with UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring Report helps us continue in our mission to make learning accessible and unlimited for all," says Rodrigo Rodríguez, CEO of ODILO. Scott Smith, Vice President for Governments at ODILO, added, "the African ministers are dedicated to offering their young people a different kind of learning, broader and more advanced, which will give them the skills they need to find work and combat the high levels of youth unemployment. The answer to this challenge lies in technology."