Digital education will create a workforce that can continue to fuel growth in Africa. The academic performance of school-age children is very low in many developing countries. Successful efforts to expand access to education in the developing countries such as Madagascar have not always translated into actual improvements in students skills and learning. Facilitation of transformative digital education and training for youths will drive Madagascar’s accelerated and sustainable development.
In 2020, the world embraced digital transformation at an expedited pace, reimagining technology’s critical role in how we work, learn and live. Over 70% of the jobs that we will have in 2030 have not been created yet. So there are lots of opportunity to strengthen our skills and develop even new skills. Continuous learning and rescaling skills will be absolutely critical to this.
The global health crisis had accelerated the demand for digital services and fourth industrial revolution technologies across all sectors. From artificial intelligence, the internet of things, social media communication, digital learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality, drones, 3D printing and so much more the world has undergone a massive disruption.
According to estimates by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNESCO), indicate that over 60% of the world’s student population was kept out of classrooms during the lockdown imposed by different countries. Governments and organizations were compelled to adapt and improvise at breakneck speed to ensure continuity in healthcare, education, and businesses of all sizes. For education, while the traditional modus operandi of knowledge dissemination was interrupted, the widely held belief that learning is limited to a classroom also was shattered.
The COVID-19 crisis has affected the digital gap as pertains to teaching and learning in Africa in several ways. Schools at different levels of education have gone online. Primary school pupils are given assignments online with no prior teaching on etiquette and/or how to stay in online spaces. Internet penetration in Africa is 39.3%.
Madagascar, an island nation off Africa’s southeast coast, is extremely poor: 75% of the population (25 million) live below the poverty line, and the country scores low on the human development index, performing poorly in areas like education and living standards.Education system provides primary schooling for five years, from ages six to eleven in Madagascar. Secondary education lasts for seven years and is divided into two parts: a junior secondary level of four years from ages twelve to fifteen, and a senior secondary level of three years from ages sixteen to eighteen.
Based on UNICEF findings, the current literacy rate in Madagascar is 65%, ranking it 182 out of 194 countries, thus leaving 35% of the population illiterate. Only 64.5 percent of adults in Madagascar are literate, and literacy rates are similarly low in the school-age population.
Although many in the country are trying to resolve this, the literacy rate in Madagascar has declined substantially in the last ten years. The Malagasy government has begun various education reforms, including the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP) and Education for All (EFA) Plan. The EFA Plan is to achieve general primary school enrolment and advance the quality and efficiency of the Malagasy educational system.
Digital inclusion and skills are required to participate in different facets of daily life in the 21st century. Students need adequate digital access and skills, and they need to be resilient online and offline. Digital pedagogy approach is useful for anyone who sees the profound educational value of creating multimedia projects in an increasingly digital and connected world.
Consequently, students will become skilled multimedia communicators by learning how to gather information, generate ideas, and develop media projects using contemporary digital tools and platforms. Digital literacy enhances a students ability to creativity, cultural and social understanding, collaboration, effective communication, functional skills, and the ability to find and select information.
There are significant opportunities for digital transformation in Madagascar. The country is often commended as having one of the fastest internet connections in the world, the cost of mobile internet connectivity, at 40 percent of GDP per capita for 1 gigabyte (GB) in 2016, remains prohibitive.
Internet users in Madagascar
- There were 3.84 million internet users in Madagascar in January 2020.
- The number of internet users in Madagascar increased by 394 thousand (+11%) between 2019 and 2020.
- Internet penetration in Madagascar stood at 14% in January 2020.
Social media users in Madagascar
- There were 2.30 million social media users in Madagascar in January 2020.
- The number of social media users in Madagascar increased by 321 thousand (+16%) between April 2019 and January 2020.
- Social media penetration in Madagascar stood at 8.4% in January 2020.
Mobile connections in Madagascar
- There were 9.12 million mobile connections in Madagascar in January 2020.
- The number of mobile connections in Madagascar increased by 783 thousand (+9.4%) between January 2019 and January 2020.
- The number of mobile connections in Madagascar in January 2020 was equivalent to 33% of the total population. This provides significant opportunities for multimodal service delivery, which can target people with limited literacy and/or the most basic phones.
The discovery of digital technologies allows the acquisition of generic computer skills and concepts. Digital education is the essential to help reverse educational decline in Madagascar. Empowering youth with digital educational skills they need to compete in the 21st-century workplaces and digital integration into the classroom training for teachers will enhance their skills for smooth technologies integration into the classroom. With social and educational development programmes, focusing on digital literacy will increase the skills of young people in Madagascar.