Prof. Mrs. Goski Alabi, President of the African Council for Distance Education (ACDE), and other participants of the 2nd World Digital Education Conference (WDEC) held in Shanghai, China, have stressed the importance of embracing digital technologies to create innovative learning experiences and empowering learners in the digital age.
To this end, they have called on countries to formulate national digital education policies that would help endow their citizens with knowledge and skills to meet their needs and challenges.
The attendees, which included other educators, industry professionals, and thought leaders around the globe, also encouraged countries to make conscious effort to build the capacity of their citizens in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its attendant Ethics of application.
The two-day conference held on 30th to 31st January 2024, offered a platform for attendees to discuss and explore the latest developments and trends in digital education, including the sharing of insights, exchanging ideas, and collaborating to shape the future of education in the digital age.
Prof. Mrs. Alabi, who is also the Consulting President of Laweh University College, Accra, spoke on the Role of Digital Education in Africa’s Educational Agenda as the African Union has declared ‘2024 – Africa’s Year of Education’.
Other notable speakers included Dr. Jane Thompson, a renowned educational psychologist, who discussed the Psychological Impact of Digital Education on Learners and Strategies for Ensuring their Well-being; Mr. John Chen, CEO of a leading EdTech company, who presented his vision for the Future of EdTech and Highlighting the Importance of Human-centred Technology in Education; and Prof. Maria Lopez, an expert in AI-driven learning systems, who introduced a breakthrough AI platform Designed to Enhance Student Engagement and Adaptive Learning.
Other key personalities who addressed the World confab included H.E Cai Dafeng, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China; Huai Jinpeng, Minister for Education of China; Ms. Simona Mirela Miculescu, President of the General Conference of UNESCO; Mr. Rahamalla M. Osman, African Union Permanent Representative to China; Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister of Education Singapore; and several other Ministers and Ambassadors.
The WDEC also saw the launching of the World Digital Education Alliance (WDEA), where the African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) and Laweh University College were invited to be members.
It emphasised that in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Digital Education is redefining education at all levels, and countries needed to take steps to plan for and prioritise digital education at these levels to enhance both quality and access.
Additionally, the Conference called for the move from the 3Cs of digital education namely, Content, Connection and Cooperation to the 3Is: Intelligence, Integration and Internationalization. Prof. Mrs. Alabi indicated that against the background of Africa’s status, a fourth C, which she termed ‘Capacity’, needed to be added to the 3Cs.
To put Digital Education on a higher pedestal, UNESCO declared the 19 of March as World Digital Education Day, to raise awareness of the importance of the subject. And China, the host nation, disclosed that she would prioritise Africa for Digital Education.
Participants also called for improvement in key areas such as Digital Transformation in Education; Online, Blended Learning and Mix-Mode; and International Collaborations and Partnerships.
Caption( Pix 1): Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu, Romania’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO (left) and Prof. Mrs. Goski Alabi at the Conference.