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3 Mobile device trends that are shaping education in Africa

The shifts that have occurred in Africa in the use of mobile devices present new opportunities in multiple sectors, including education. – Written by Kele Scheppers

1. Mobile devices are the most common means of Internet access

According to Think with Google, 60% of the population in Africa is accessing the Internet through their mobile phones. This figure is set to boom and by 2025, 167 million more people from Sub-Saharan Africa will have subscribed to mobile services, reaching a total of 623 million users. In the next decade, the number of Internet users in Africa will grow by 11%, representing 16% of the total global amount.

The surge in mobile device use on the continent offers opportunities for, amongst other industries, the education sector. New ways of teaching and learning, better access to a much wider range of information and resources, new skills for the digital age: all these can transform lives, helping to achieve education for all.

2. Smartphone devices will be more accessible

The MTN Group reports that smartphone connections on the continent will more than double by 2025. Moreover, GSMA Intelligence research tells us that, in approximately five years’ time, there will be around 625 million mobile services subscribers in Africa. This provides teachers with an opportunity to send videos, audio messages, and pictures to students as supporting learning materials for concepts taught in the classroom.

3. WhatsApp has become the go-to communication tool

It’s been more than 10 years since WhatsApp made its debut, during which time the app has evolved from a simple messaging app to a multimedia platform where users can share videos and photos at minimal data rates. With more than 2 billion users across 180 countries, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world and the messaging market leader in all but 25 of the world’s countries. According to the Quartz Africa report, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria already topped the list of WhatsApp user penetration as of 2020 – a ranking that still holds steady in October 2021.

WhatsApp can provide a channel through which teachers can achieve faster and more seamless communication with their students. It can also increase the level of communication between students and create another avenue for learning.

Moreover, the platform can be used to reach students and parents that do not use other communication methods, such as email, which may give rise to innovative learning solutions. Several of these learning solutions have already been developed by Digify Africa in the form of WhatsApp bots to teach digital skills and digital literacy. Try out Digify Africa’s WhatsApp bot, Lesedi, to get a first look at this new way of learning and upgrade your level of digital literacy.

How can you start learning essential digital literacy skills? Just say hi to Lesedi, our free WhatsApp bot that will aid you with valuable skills for your future.

Lesedi is our interactive tool on WhatsApp where you can learn:

  • How to be a responsible online digital citizen
  • Your digital toolkit
  • Online safety
  • Critical thinking
  • Online opportunities