Not a Panacea: ICT and eLearning Integration in Primary Schools in Africa
ICT integration in the teaching and learning processes is slowly and profoundly transforming African education systems. In an increasing number of schools, blackboards are giving way to interactive whiteboards, textbooks are being replaced by digital content supported by laptop computers, tablets, mobile phones; the teacher too is slowly becoming a facilitator instead of the “dispenser” of knowledge he or she used to be given that eLearning is student-centered in essence. This major paradigm shift is premised on the assumption that ICT and eLearning offer opportunities to raise not only educational quality in schools but also to make education and training more accessible by many who hitherto could not be reached. Furthermore, there is a common agreement worldwide that eLearning is the way to the future and traditional education as we know it will one day disappear. A few African governments have embraced this paradigm and as a result are investing millions of dollars to modernize their education systems through ICTs and eLearning.
In Kenya, for example, the government has embarked on a major transformation of its public primary schools which consists of introducing eLearning by providing “one laptop per Child” nationwide. This initiative is in line with both the country’s “vision 2030” which aims at developing a computer-literate society by the year 2030 as well as Kenya’s 2010 Constitution which provides children’s right to free and compulsory basic education, including quality services, learning resources and access for all.
This type of initiative carries with it major implications in terms of policy, infrastructure, curriculum and teacher training reforms and there is a growing chorus of voices coming from education pundits and researchers pointing to the fact that ICT and eLearning integration is no