The fact that digital is the new way of life is no longer rocket science for anyone living in this new era. We are swamped with new technologies which have contributed to the birth and growth of this era that is also known as the “Internet” economy.
It’s absurd that some of the schools in the African continent have not yet fully embraced the digital economy. And yet, truth be told, Africa’s youth spend majority of their time in school right from kindergarten till they graduate from the university and may later go ahead to further purse their education on master’s level.
It is therefore important that the education system be revised, and the curriculum greatly polished to best suit the digital economy. It is not enough for students to just be taught basic computer skills but rather, their learning should be centrally based on digital technologies such as; the internet, software’s, computers and other information technologies. This will help the students get more familiar with this new era and from a tender age they will have enough room to fully understand how the digital economy operates as well as be able to interact with various people, institutions and organizations on a global platform. We can’t base our education entirely on theory and ignore the fact that the digital economy is more practical and is the new way of life.
From personal experience, I spent about 18 years of my life in school and majority of what I studied was theory based. It was not until I was finalizing my time at the University that I was taught one course unit of Digital Communications. But this didn’t provide ample time for me to get extremely well versed with how the digital economy operates. Fast forward, I have spent two years working in different public relations’ firms where our work is based mainly on digital marketing. Truth is, I was never well prepared with the right skills from school and thus I had to learn the hard way. Well, if you are thrown in the deep ends, you must find a way to swim because survival is for the fittest. So, I had to learn the hard way.
Therefore, I urge the stake holders involved in preparing school curriculums and managing how the education systems in African countries operate, to revise their traditional systems to fit the digital economy. Otherwise, many African youths will be left behind as they will be ill prepared, incompetent and unable to survive in this digital era.
We can no longer afford to focus solely on theory and traditional ways of learning when the world has gone digital. We must embrace this new way of life and the faster we do it, the more prepared the youth will be for the digital economy because it is changing how everything operates. The time is now!
Pearl Denise Agasha, a Ugandan national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.