Cote d’Ivoire: UN backed e-schools initiative targets humanitarian education

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (PANA) - The UN-founded Global E-schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) plans a new push in the use of information technologies to educate children caught in conflict and refugees under a new strategic plan launched in Abidjan on Thursday at an African ministerial forum.

GESCI Chief Executive Jerome Morrissey said helping senior leaders in the management of education policies and programme implementation was a key strategy of the organisation’s plan to ensure effective delivery of its goals to promote use of digital skills in community education.

“We feel we have something significant to offer in the education sector through our leadership development programme targeting all levels of government,” Morrissey said, describing the initiatives launched by GESCI to ensure effective implementation of electronic schooling initiatives.

GESCI experts say relying on the ICT use in education offers an important tool to reach some 16 million displaced people worldwide, 4 million of whom are currently within Africa.

Mary Hooker, Senior Education Specialist at GESCI, said using ICTs to empower communities was an important step towards eradicating poverty, adding that it was also part of the non-governmental agency’s strategy.

“It is a question of how we are able to deliver quality education for the children so that they have a viable future. We are willing to work with international donors, specialized partners and governments to reach these people using community-based learning technologies,” Hooker said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Resident Representative for Cote d’Ivoire Mohamed Toure said currently, only 3 per cent of children in the refugee camps across Africa, had access to school.

“People are forced to leave in exile with nothing more than a small bag. Any displaced child is a potential rebel given the instruments of war. We have to resort to international instruments to ensure education of children in conflict continues,” Toure said. “Education cannot wait.”

In orders to ensure effective delivery of ICT tools for use in education across Africa, education experts at GESCI, created by the UN Task Force on ICT, which launched it as a project to narrow the world’s digital divide in 2003, have said there is need to reach out to leaders responsible for making state policies.

The leaders at technical and political level are trained under an academic programme jointly sponsored by the Africa Union’s Commissioner for Science and Technology on designing of policies for use in education. The programme has currently been implemented in 16 countries.

Morrissey said working with senior and middle level education managers in 140 schools and currently able to reach 1,400 teachers and 70,000 learners, GESCI is on course to achieving some of its key goals.

Morrissey said providing education in digital technology use among learners enhanced their skills for the job market.

“The aim of our project is to build skills in development, innovative practices and content creation for new business start-up projects in Africa.”

“We are working with governments to build different pillars and work coherently on sustainable development. Our main goal is to ensure good policy practices can lead to high education standards that would change the face of our continent by producing highly qualified children,” Hooker said.

Panapress, 09 June 2016


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