COVID19 Renewing the Opportunity to Close the Digital Divide in Africa

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COVID19 Renewing the Opportunity to Close the Digital Divide in Africa
William Jackson, M.Ed. wmjackson – Twitter My Quest To Teach
Victor Owuor @victoravikobits – Twitter – Sunflower Trust

Victor Owuor @victoravikobits – Twitter – Sunflower Trust

COVID19 has uncovered multiple disparities that will need to be addressed for years to come. One of the most important is the access to technology for students to continue to be involved in the educational process

because of the closing of schools and self-isolation.

Years previous it was generally known that there are differences in access to the Internet made by socio- economics of not just people of color and culture, but rural people and their families. The global influence of

the Internet cannot be denied.

Africa at one time in history was the center of learning, research, study, science, medicine what we call STREAM in educational circles. Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts Math


We have past Africans to thank for their vision and innovation. Not in all cases do people choose where they want to live, some do not  have a choice, but access to educational learning materials for school age children should not be an issue because of the richness of tools, Apps, platforms

of free learning materials.

Even on the continent of Africa, the nation of Kenya has educational communities of learning like “Sunflower Trust” that is an after school program that aids youth, teens and young adults in learning directions for success and helps those even with learning disabilities. There are multiple layers of instruction that provide a solid foundation for learning and a holistic approach involving

families, communities and even villages.

Sunflower Trust – provides needed resources for youth to help them overcome academic challenges, build self-esteem, self-confidence and build a foundation of academic skills that will allow many of the students to go on to

higher education and employment.

The access to the Internet is still important so the youth attending “Sunflower Trust” will have a well rounded educational experience with global digital


COVID19 is changing the view of life in this developing digital age showing the enormous digital divide globally. Using Sunflower Trust as an example because of the global ability to obtain information, but lack of stable

access that is sustainable and scalable for growth.

There was a time when African youth did not have access to computers, now there are digital devices that are wireless and have high bandwidths. The recent shelter in place put many African students in isolation and no learning at all, this places them even

further behind academically.

African nations like Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and a few others are increasing their infrastructures to facilitate wireless access through cell phones, tablets and other devices, but the trickle down through cities, communities, neighborhoods and even in rural areas is sometimes

slow and not a priority.

The lack of access to technology and the Internet takes African youth out of the mainstream of information. Information that can help them build PLN – Professional Learning Networks that can help provide mentors, role models and provide valuable information to help

choose a career and gain additional educational access.

The Internet provides key connections for collaboration, communication and cooperation in project based learning. Information relevant to STEM, STEAM and STREAM can help make learning real, relevant and ready to have

digital skills that are needed today.

African youth want to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Wanelo, Tumblr, Tinder, Vine, and other platforms. African youth, just like American youth, need to be taught how to use these to better themselves

educationally and even professionally.

To build their knowledge, their personal and even business Brands and to be able to Market their skills, abilities, knowledge, creativity and innovative talents. Africa dates back to previous levels of advanced knowledge and at the time technology, which ironically in history Africa was the center of global knowledge because the first centers of learning were in Africa. Moroccan – University of Al-Karaouine

There are other historical and archaeological places like the ancient India’s Taxila and Nalanda Universities, ancient Sumerian societies first began incorporating scribal schools (Eduba) just after 3500BC. Al-Karaouine holds the world record as it has continually offered education since its founding. The school is also the first degree-granting

educational institution in the world.

It is shown time and again that the nations that embrace learning for all its citizens no matter their socio-economic levels are influential in the world longer than nations that

only think education is for the elite and well to do members.

Africa is growing into a powerhouse of digital influence and needs to have its youth, teens and young adults capable

and ready to lead the way into the 21st century.

William is the digital innovator for his brand My Quest To Teach using the hashtag #MyQuestToTeach sharing his journey teaching,  mentoring,

community activism and community collaborations.

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