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Technology

African Teachers Want To Become Future-Fit With More “Soft Skills” Training

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•          HP study reveals digital literacy and innovative entrepreneurial thinking skills are priority for teachers

•          95% of educators believe technology can have a positive benefit in the teaching environment and can raise learners’ engagement in lessons

HP has revealed the results of its first education-focused survey in Africa, which sheds light on teachers’ skillsets and how learning experiences for students can be improved in South Africa and Nigeria. The research supports HP’s education programme in Africa, which aims to provide the right technology and skills to the education sector.

As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt on the education system, schools must navigate the imperative to catch up with national curriculums whilst providing future-proof classrooms and learning environments.

“Teachers perform a pivotal function in our society, not only in shaping the minds of future leaders and preparing students to take on the jobs of the future, but also inspiring and enabling better learning outcomes,” says Brad Pulford, Managing Director of HP Africa.

Understanding the realities of 21st-century teaching, 10 skills were identified in the study as crucial to future proofing learning. The majority (7 in 10) of teachers surveyed agreed that creative, innovative, critical, and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as digital literacy, are very important.

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

Access to adequate resources and technology is key

Educators face numerous challenges which can negatively affect teaching outcomes, such as a lack of basic materials. 82% of teachers surveyed noted access to instructional materials and supplies as a problem, and a further 89% said access to adequate technological resources is an issue – a crucial aspect of teaching that has been overlooked for over a decade but has been brought to the fore by the pandemic.

Still, an overwhelming majority, 95%, believes that technology can have a positive benefit in the teaching environment and can raise learners’ engagement in lessons.

The Covid-19 pandemic thrust the importance of technology in classrooms into the spotlight, bringing new opportunities and pressures to teachers around the world. The shift has not been without difficulties, with 45% teachers ranking ICT skills as a challenging facet of the role – outpacing other elements like active teaching, homework marking and lesson planning. At the same time, 85% of survey respondents confirmed new skills in this area would have the greatest influence in their ability to teach.

Beyond technology, at least 50% of teachers report having too many learners in their classrooms which impedes quality learning, and 71% say they require more time to assist individual learners. Luckily, despite these challenges at least 95% of teachers are optimistic about their jobs and roles in shaping the future leaders of tomorrow.

Fit for purpose

HP’s Innovation and Digital Education Academy (HP IDEA) programme plays a critical role to bridge the skills gap – in fact, it forms part of HP’s goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030.

This immersive teacher development programme is designed to enable educators to develop and access new learning modalities in select schools in South Africa, Nigeria, and other 14 markets across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

“Through the HP IDEA programme, our aim is to ensure that educators are equipped with the latest tools and best practices in teaching and learning, and ensure they too are ‘future-fit’. Understanding the educational landscape and where we can provide support and expertise is key to its success,” Pulford adds.

Pulford concludes: “We aim to expand and evolve HP IDEA through partnerships with local governments and complementary support for educators to ensure that drives results in the lives of pupils – collective action will make a real impact.”

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