The roll-out of digital education in sub-Saharan Africa brings with it a host of opportunities and challenges. As the number of secondary school graduates is set to increase substantially in the coming years, the demand for tertiary education is expected to increase in parallel. Currently, African universities have a student-teacher ratio that is 50% higher than the global average. This lack of institutional capacity is compounded by the region’s economic and environmental challenges. Poverty, gender inequality, the stigmas associated with disease and in some cases the uncertainty brought on by conflict and political instability form significant hurdles to the realization of African students’ educational potential.
Digital education offers a potential pathway for improving access to and increasing the macro-level quality of tertiary education in Africa. Because it bypasses or partially mitigates several of the challenges facing the region’s education system, and because it creates financial opportunities for both students and educators, it promises to make a positive contribution to both access to and macro-level quality of tertiary education in those countries which preside over the digital infrastructure (or state of digitalization) to allow for its in-earnest rollout and applicability.
Not all countries however possess this infrastructure, and therefore this report includes a set of potential interventions and policy recommendations that can improve the feasibility of expanding digital education in Africa.
Contributors: Benedetta Girardi