Experts At NextGen Educators Forum, Harp On Building Skills For Next Generation Of Teachers

Experts At NextGen Educators Forum, Harp On Building Skills For Next Generation Of Teachers

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Building the right foundation for children’s future learning in Africa begins with building the right skills for the next generation of teachers, education experts have said.

Tech giant, HP Inc. on Tuesday convened the #NextGen Educators Forum where stakeholders gathered to share insights and discussions relevant to the African education sector on how to equip teachers with the necessary skills to take education on the continent forward.

The forum took place ahead of World Teacher’s Day on Wednesday, 05 October themed:The transformation of education begins with teachers.”

The panel of influential education sector voices who participated in the forum include Simi Nwogugu, CEO at Junior Achievement Africa; Brian Schreuder, Former Superintendent General at the Western Cape Education Department; Folawe Omikunle, Chief Executive at Teach for Nigeria; Mayank Dhingra, HP’s Senior Education Business Leader for Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The discussion focused on a range of thought-provoking topics aimed to propel the discourse around the future of education forward. The themes discussed included innovative technologies and pedagogies at the frontier of education in Africa; empowering educators to define new ways of learning for pupils; and digital equity: implementing digital transformation in the areas of teaching and effectively substituting the traditional learning confined to four walls of schools.

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Simi Nwogugu stressed that educators need to understand that their traditional role as experts in imparting knowledge has evolved to that of guiding in facilitating knowledge-acquisition, design thinking, and critical reasoning skills in their students.

“To do this effectively, educators themselves need to be equipped with these and other emotional intelligence skills to be able to continually adapt to the needs of the students under their charge,” Nwogugu stated.

“Forums like this help steer all of us in the education sector in the right direction for how best to empower teachers to be more effective in the classroom.”

HP recently revealed the results of its first education-focused survey in Africa, which shed light on teachers’ skillsets and how the profession can be improved in South Africa and Nigeria.

Understanding the realities of 21st-century teaching, 10 skills were identified in the study as crucial to future proofing classrooms for educators. Across the board, teachers surveyed deemed these skillsets important, with 70% saying “soft skills” such as creative, innovative, critical, and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as digital literacy are very important.

Furthermore, one in three teachers say they could benefit from additional training to improve the above mentioned skills and that the development would have an enormous impact on the pedagogy.

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Omikunle emphasised the need for African countries to invest in education as the only way to reach their full potential. Doing that she added, should involve investing in teachers, to guarantee a better future of children for the overall good of the continent.

“We know there are numerous challenges educators face, and these discussions will help in providing African solutions to African challenges,” she concluded.

Speaking on the impact brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Schreuder noted that if there is anything the disruption of the pandemic proved about the education sector, was that it is resilient.

She said “We witnessed teachers implementing innovative strategies to keep learning at critical points of the schooling year. Armed with even better tools and relevant training, African teachers can transform this sector.”

The world of education is evolving, and teaching must be transformed to better meet the needs of a digital learner.

This informed the decision of HP to launch its Innovation and Digital Education Academy (HP IDEA), which plays a critical role in bridging the skills gap and forms part of HP’s goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030, says Mayank Dhingra- HP’s Senior Education Business Leader for Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe.

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This immersive teacher development programme is designed to enable educators develop and have access to new learning modalities in select schools in South Africa, Nigeria, and other 15 markets across Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

Dhingra said, “The time to rethink and reshape the future of Africa’s education sector is now. The past few years have thrust the sector

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