832 participants from 80 countries gathered at the first „eLearning Africa“ conference from May 24 – 26 in the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, making it the largest event on educational technologies and development ever taking place on the continent.
13 pre-conference workshops, five parallel topic strands with about 250 speakers and prominent keynotes as well as an exhibition with major vendors and service providers covered all aspects of eLearning in the development context and provided a massive capacity building event for all stakeholders and educational and training professionals. About 70% of the participants came from African countries – a figure that shows the vital interest in eLearning on the continent and made „eLearning Africa“ a real African conference. Europe was represented by 20,6% followed by North America with 4,8%, the Asia Pacific with 1,6%, the Middle East with 0.8%, and Latin America with 0.3%. Africa is on the move and ICT supported education is high on the agenda of most African governments.
ICTs become integrated in many national educational systems in order to reach the Millennium Goal of „Education for All“. This was especially strengthened in the opening session chaired by H.E. Dr. Sintayehu Woldemichael, Ethiopian Minister of Education. This plenary featured keynotes given by Josephine Ouedraogo, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa and H.E. Ato Tefera Waluwa, Minister for Capacity Building, Ethiopia who both shared the patronage of eLearning Africa 2006. Ethiopia with its massive investment in ICT infrastructure certainly provides an outstanding case in Africa, and as Ato Tefera Waluwa emphasised, views ICT not as a luxury but as a pre-condition for an accelerated development: „We recognize that while ICT may be a luxury for the rich, for us the poor countries, it is a vital and essential tool for fighting poverty, for beating poverty that kills and ensuring our survival.“
Beate Kleessen | alfa
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