How tech geeks in Africa are transforming IT education

Failed by academia and constrained by convention, geeks are self-organising to equip themselves with the expertise and experience needed to solve social problems and enhance their personal development.

It is not just in the UK that ICT education has been found to be deficient – schools and colleges in many countries are failing to provide learners with the appropriate combination of technical and entrepreneurial skills that they need to convert skills into income and social change.

In resource-deprived settings like those in Zambia these problems are particularly acute especially when compounded by the added disadvantage of discrimination.

Zambia, like the UK, is awash with unemployed graduates. Lusaka, like other capital cities in the region, has far more IT graduates than tech jobs. Universities have done a poor job of equipping them with the appropriate mix of technical and entrepreneurial expertise that they need to feel confident developing their own businesses or securing the funding necessary to apply technology effectively to the development problems that they have identified in their communities.

Geeks are not all taking this lying down however; many are building social networks off-line and online to fill the gap left by deficient education. The recent boom in establishing technology innovation hubs across Africa is one manifestation of this refusal to be defeated.

I am writing this article from BongoHive – Lusaka’s Technology & Innovation Hub. BongoHive effectively fills a void left between university education and (self) employment. It is a place where technology enthusiasts and entrepreneurs meet to share experience, learn and collaborate on their latest tech projects. Workshops, bar-camps and mobile app building competitions are organised to provide focused themes for member activities.

Read full story at Computer Weekly