The Team Lead for Innovation and Skills at the Youth and Transformation in Africa (YOTA) for the Youth Employment and Skills (YES) Chapter of the Pan African Coalition for Transformation (PACT), Mr Eric Saforo, has urged African governments to invest heavily in digital infrastructure to help advance ICT teaching and learning in schools, particularly in secondary institutions.
Consequently, he called on the government and other relevant stakeholders to reform the teacher training curriculum to ensure teachers have the right skills and pedagogical competencies to improve learning outcomes for young people.
“ICT literacy should be among the qualifications for teachers, along with mandatory ICT training every 2-3 years,” he suggested, adding “This means teachers and students must have access to working computers, projectors, internet, and TVET tools.”
Mr Saforo made the remarks when he delivered a presentation on the findings on some studies that the YES-PACT project at a soft lunch in Accra last week at the premises of YOTA.
The YES Chapter of PACT brings together key stakeholders concerned with policy development and implementation around issues of youth employment, gender, education, and the labour market.
It is active in seven countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda – and is anchored on two key research pieces developed by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).
The first study maps progress in strengthening secondary education systems to deliver a workforce prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) while the second study, “Barriers to women’s employment in the future world of work in Ghana and Senegal” identifies creative working policy options aimed at improving secondary education, skills development, and employment prospects for young women.
The PACT is a platform for governments and local policymakers to gain information and support from key stakeholders, such as the private sector and civil society, as they design and implement innovative policies related to economic transformation.
It was formed to practically translate the concepts of diversification, export, productivity, technological advancement, and human well-being into a practical policy agenda and to address the challenges of industrialisation facing African counties.
Mr Safor said the purpose of the soft launch was to generate awareness of the existence of the YES-PACT project, as well as to ignite discussions about the policy formulation and implementation vacuum around education.
In Ghana, he said, the YOTA was leading the initiative, adding the YES-PACT programme would operate as an extensive knowledge-sharing network and collaborative effort, offering mutual support and motivation for designing and implementing transformation strategies to address youth unemployment and skills deficit.
He noted that the YES-PACT Chapter was expected to enable countries respond effectively to rising youth unemployment rates and to address the skills mismatch problem by providing a platform to share best practices and experiences regarding policy uptake and reforms based on research recommendations.
Mr Saforo said teachers must be better equipped, particularly in ICT areas so as to enable them to enhance their teaching skills and delivery, adding considering the nature of the Fourth Revolution, African governments must to prioritise digital skills for both students and teachers.
For him, ICT skills should be prioritised in schools, particularly in Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational Training institutions.
He also called for an update of the learning materials used for secondary and TVET education, including working computers, projectors, internet, and TVET tools.
By Benedicta Gyimaah Folley