Information, communication and technology (ICT) is a key enabler for economic transformation towards a knowledge-based economy through research, the Vice Chancellor of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Professor Otlogetswe Totolo has said.
In his remarks during the graduation ceremony of 294 ICT teachers’ training programme at BIUST Sports Hall recently, Totolo noted that the university serves as a key platform for transforming Botswana’s economy from resource-based to knowledge-based through skills capacity.
“The use and integration of ICT in building inclusive knowledge societies for all and for overall socio-economic development is increasingly on the agenda of almost all developing countries, Botswana included,” he said.
According to Totolo, ICT is seen as an important catalyst and accelerator for development – having the ability to attract investment, create jobs, promote knowledge building and sharing, facilitate innovation and contribute to good governance and more efficient provision of services.
Totolo said ICT and education in general empower citizens to be aware of their rights and to participate actively in shaping public policy, governance and development. “It (ICT) facilitates inclusiveness by enabling citizens anywhere to access information and knowledge,” he said.
In the development of inclusive knowledge societies, Totolo said the education and training sector is mainly responsible for producing skilled human resources required by industries, as well as citizens who can participate in building a well governed society.
“ICT in turn can contribute to widening access to education, improving educational management and address issues of quality and relevance of the education system,” said Totolo, adding that placing ICT in schools will not automatically improve teaching and learning.
Totolo cautioned: “ICT is only a tool and an enabler with a lot of potential. But the focus should be on addressing educational challenges, objectives and priorities.”
Giving an overview of ICT in education and its infusion in schools at the same event, the deputy Director Regional Operations – Central, Mmamosetsana Maposa said the Ministry of Basic Education has set itself high standards to improve quality of education.
Maposa said her ministry is looking at improving quality of education through making full use of ICT. “We want educators who can produce learners who can fit anywhere in the world. There should be no difference between our student and the one from Japan,” she said.
She said the ministry has since embarked on a nationwide ICT infrastructure development where schools are being supplied with tablets to add onto desktop computers that have been delivered before.