ICT Integration and Paradigm Shifts in Teaching and Learning: An Urgent Call to Action
It is undeniable that the penetration of the Internet and the ubiquity and affordability of ICT devices have brought about lifechanging and systemic changes in the social, economic and political spheres in Africa. This important contribution of ICTs and the Internet to the socioeconomic development of the continent is expected to grow and significantly transform key sectors such as health, education, agriculture, etc. However, and paradoxically, the majority of users of ICTs and the Internet have acquired their ICT skills and competencies through “learning by doing” and not through the formal education and training system. If anything, the system not only lags behind in imparting ICT and Internet skills and competencies but also in implementing the necessary paradigm shifts in teaching and learning that can significantly improve access to and the quality of learning for the 21st Century that the continent needs to compete globally.
According to a study presented at AVU’s 3rd International Conference in July 2016 by Jacinto Cipriano Banze Junior entitled “Does the lack of knowledge in information retrieval and computer and Internet skills and competencies impede the use of Open Educational Resources[OERs] for learning?, the education and training system of Mozambique, for example, is not preparing learners to take full advantage of the potential of ICTs and the internet to become savvy users of computer and mobile technologies and the Worldwide Web for their own learning and in fulfillment of academic programs. Banze indicates that Mozambique does not have an aggressive ICT integration policy in education. For instance, there is a very limited number of public schools and teacher training centers where students learn to use ICT tools for educational purposes. For a population of 28 million, there are only 200 such public institutions. Among the majority of users, there are those who have learned either in a private school, a private training center or in a family environment. Moreover, and a source of alarm, computer literacy courses are not included in pre-university curricula,secondary education programs or in primary education. The same phenomenon is also observed in most of the courses offered at certain state universities, for example at the Pedagogical University of Mozambique (UP), where computer courses are exceptionally reserved for students who have computer science as their area of specialization.