Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Use E-Learning to Teach Improved It Skills

Addressing the pervasive skills shortage is not an easy task but a local company believes part of the solution lies in improved IT training. eSkill Learning says its method of e-learning provides a platform that leads to enhanced IT training and professional development.

"There is a direct need for 21st century job skills in developing countries like Namibia. Unfortunately, the solutions that currently exist are difficult to implement, require resources that are currently unavailable in urban areas and are prohibitively expensive. Quality education is an experience for all but beyond the reach of the vast majority of workers. It is vital for governments to overcome the barriers to large scale IT and Professional Development training efforts. Since it is not possible to send out thousands of expert instructors in these fields to every single developing nation, e-learning is a very practical alternative for the cost-efficient delivery of high quality workforce skills" said Moira Cloete of eSkill Learning.

Pointing out the need for improved IT skills, she said the "Premier Graduate Recruitment e-learning platform facilitates wide-scale economic development and societal transformation by equipping the workforce with 21st century skills so that they will be ready to compete in the global economy."

Assets of the E-learning Platform:

* Provides access to state of the art, certification level IT and professional development courses

* Fully scalable and easy to implement, so that there is no limit to the number of students that can be served

* Following course completion, students can join PGRN's online jobs portal called Graduates Connect where Namibian companies outsource tasks and where the students can bid on them and get paid for the skills they have learnt.

"The objective of this program is to improve economic growth by expanding individual skills and competencies within the workforce, thereby reducing poverty and bolstering sustainable development.

"In recent years, a real premium has developed on the knowledge of state of the art IT skills. Due to the nature of this work, there has also been a shift in educational techniques towards self-directed training and quality assurance in instruction. Ensuring widespread access to IT skills training within developing countries such as Namibia is critical to its ability to develop economically and become competitive in the global marketplace. For individual workers, these skills will help to chart a path out of poverty and toward employability and dignity. For companies in the region, including both large multi-nationals and small local companies, there will be a larger pool of skilled workers from which to draw. For Namibia, a broad base of newly trained and highly skilled workers can be the cornerstone for local economic development.

Unfortunately, many developing countries experience barriers which inhibit their efforts in developing a highly skilled workforce. An insufficient supply of experienced instructors to teach course subjects and develop appropriate curriculum, is a major drawback.

Also, training is often hampered by the lack of consistent and accurate monitoring of learning achievement which leads to failure by too many students.

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