This year, the theme of International Day of Education was “Investing in People, Prioritizing Education”.

African states were urged to prioritize affordable digital technologies and internet access, dignified investments and commitment to education.

The call was made on Tuesday by Ms. Thobekile Matimbe, Head of Partnerships and Engagements of Paradigm Initiative (PIN), as the organization joined the world in commemorating International Day of Education under the theme “investing in people, giving priority to education”.

International Day of Education is an annual event celebrated on January 24 to promote international education and awareness of its importance in human development. Education is an integral part of any society and we recognize the role of technology in learning experiences, she added.

Paradigm Initiative, through its digital inclusion programs, which include Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy, and Entrepreneurship training (LIFE) training for youth in underserved communities, and LIFE@School training, a technology club which operates in secondary schools, aims to increase access to ICT and digital literacy training for underserved young Africans.

Through its digital readiness program for girls, PIN, which is a leading pan-African organization, has enabled young school-aged girls to learn about technology. Since 2007, Paradigm Initiative has worked in underserved African communities, empowering young people with crucial digital, life and business skills. The organization bridges the digital divide by providing young people with digital opportunities where they are and ensuring that their livelihoods are improved. It also provides support for policy advocacy around ICT and education issues.

“We recognize the obligations of African States to promote the right to education under Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the guidance given to States by the African Commission on human and peoples rights in Principle 37(5) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa,” Ms. Matimbe said.

These principles direct states to adopt laws, policies and other measures to promote affordable access to the Internet for children, which equips them with digital literacy skills for education and online safety, protects them against damages online and preserve their privacy and identity.

The emergence of technology has revolutionized the way educators can use it to enhance the learning process of their students. Technology has also liberated society from traditional teaching methods and opened up a world of new opportunities for teachers and students.

In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the role that information and communication technologies (ICT) can play in education, particularly in developing countries. ICT can provide new opportunities for learning, both inside and outside traditional educational institutions. In addition, ICTs can contribute to bridging the “digital divide” by providing access to information and communication technologies to those who might otherwise not have access to them.

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