Catering for 21st century students in primary, secondary, post-secondary, lifelong, and corporate education requires a multifaceted understanding of the new generation of learner. After all, today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders: they have the power to transform the way businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions and governments are run.
These so-called millennials and generation Z’s have grown up with smartphones, Facebook, WhatsApp and Google. They are accustomed to accessing knowledge and learning experiences on demand. They have been dubbed ‘the generation of emotional intelligence’, and they will continue to harness technology in their daily lives to collaborate, automate and innovate in ways that we have only begun to imagine.
They already expect their learning experiences to be facilitated and improved by technology and connectivity.
In the African context the picture is a bit different. While many in rural or disconnected communities have grown up with mobile phones and some social networking, gaining a post-secondary education is just a dream. Using technology and connectivity to do so, is the reality.
Technology unlocks opportunity for post-secondary education.
In 2014, UNICEF reported that 47% of Africans were under the age of 18. By 2030, Africa is expected to be home to 770 million under-18s, many of whom will be ready to enter post-secondary education when they leave school. If post-secondary enrolment rates in Africa increase to the levels seen in India it will mean that we need to build 50 physical universities per year up to 2025 to accommodate 16 million students.
It’s a tall order, but the right technology can help overcome some of the biggest obstacles and give more students access to great learning experiences.
Consider the fact that, by 2025, mobile internet adoption is expected to reach 65-80% of primary and secondary education markets in developing countries. This means that there’s a great opportunity for the implementation of educational technologies in Africa to contribute towards the dreams of many. But in order to be successful, this technology must meet the real needs of today’s student, complementing their intuitive nature and preparing them for a technology-enabled workplace.
Their education. Their way.
Today’s students don’t want to stand in long queues to enrol at educational institutions or wait to meet lecturers to discuss course material. They’re used to registering online for a service, accessing the information they need on their mobile or other devices whenever they need it, and learning interactively.
The new generation students are the ‘self-help generation’ and are more empowered, confident and ambitious than their predecessors. They expect their learning platforms and educational institutions to understand them and to equip them for a future in a global, technology-driven world with mentors or leaders and not managers. Educational institutions must find the right set of technologies to provide access and support this non-traditional approach to a student’s administrative and academic journey.
OPENCOLLAB is a software solutions company that is passionate about education and the enabling abilities of technology in education. In extending this passion to Africa and other global locations OPENCOLLAB combines its insights of the fast evolving education market, the interest of all its stakeholders and the talents of its development teams to deliver software that meets the need of the 21st century student and administrator.
As our name implies, OPENCOLLAB utilises open source development technologies to design, develop, implement and integrate solutions for e-learning, student information management, finances and research. In short – education done smartly.
Learn more at www.opencollab.co.za