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ela 2012In 2012 eLearning Africa featured the work of 300 speakers from 50 countries, of which 89% were African, addressing all forms of technology-enhanced learning and including a rich mix of themes, topics and a variety of session formats. (Image: eLearning Africa)26 April 2013 – Distance and digital learning in developing countries will be on the agenda in May when experts from across the world come together in Namibia for the eighth annual eLearning Africa (eLA) conference.

The conference, to be held in Windhoek from 29 to 31 May 2013, will explore a range of issues on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for development, education and training.

It is largely aimed at meeting the networking needs of the pan-African e-learning and distance education sector and will be preceded by an annual round-table meeting of education and ICT ministers from across Africa.

eLA will also celebrate the rise of “Made in Africa” solutions. The spread of technology in Africa is set to have a profound influence on education, and likely to improve lives by changing the way people learn, work and play. With tech hubs popping up, new mobile devices and apps being designed and produced in Africa, by Africans, the continent’s e-learning market is reportedly the fastest-growing in the world.

“This year our focus will be on innovation and we are all really proud that some of the most exciting and innovative new solutions in education have been pioneered and developed in Africa,” says Rebecca Stromeyer, founder of eLearning Africa.

Bigwigs in the industry will discuss diverse issues such as Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Africa, e-learning in refugee contexts, technology’s role in preserving oral traditions and imaginative solutions to lack of broadband access. The overarching theme of the conference is Tradition, Change and Innovation, which speakers will explore.

Erin Hayba, the associate community services officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee, will show the results of his work in the Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya, where solar-powered ICT was installed in 39 schools. This is an innovative community-based maintenance and sustainability programme, which has overcome the traditionally problematic language barriers in the camp and improved the prospects of 80 000 young people.

Mignon Hardie of the FunDza Literacy Trust, South Africa will discuss the impact of mobile networks on literacy and literature. Her organisation's creative-writing platform shares quality teen fiction among young South Africans and encourages them to share stories – creating their own African content.

At eLearning Africa 2012, 1 483 education and training practitioners, experts, researchers, newcomers and providers from 69 countries gathered during the three conference days at the Palais des Congrès de Cotonou in Cotonou, Benin.

The conference programme featured the work of 300 speakers from 50 countries, of which 89% were African, addressing all forms of technology-enhanced learning and including a rich mix of themes, topics and a variety of session formats.

Delegates are high-level policy- and decision-makers and practitioners from education, business and government – the three key areas driving e-learning adoption and innovation.

The conference is held in English and French. It includes plenary sessions with world-class experts, smaller presentation and special focus sessions, practical demonstrations and debates on specific topics, as well as various informal networking opportunities where practitioners share their experiences, ideas, new information and perspectives.

With a record number of proposals submitted and more attendees expected than ever before, eLearning Africa 2013 demonstrates the continent’s technology boom.

Click here for the full programme.