The growing demand for online learning tools in Africa is accompanied by increasingly sophisticated threats to cyber security, say the organisers of a major online forum, the eLearning Africa Cybersecurity Virtual Exchange, which will take place from 26 – 28 October.
“Online learning is here to stay but people need to understand the risks and not just focus on the opportunities,” says Rebecca Stromeyer, the founder and CEO of eLearning Africa, the continent’s leading network of education and technology professionals, experts and investors. “The response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown what technology can do for education and training. Students and teachers have seen and experienced the benefits. Unfortunately, the rapid roll-out of new programmes, systems and platforms has also exposed some significant vulnerabilities. The pandemic forced institutions to integrate online learning and EdTech solutions into their education and training delivery but, in doing so, it created new risks, as personal computers and smartphones have become more integrated into the education system. The importance of protecting these devices, their users and the valuable data on them has never been more pertinent.
“It is clear that organisations and administrators need to take account of what’s been happening and make the necessary adjustments. eLearning is increasingly important for Africa. It is extending the reach of educational opportunity and making an important contribution to economic growth in many countries. So it’s vital that, at every level, whether in schools, colleges or universities, decision-makers are aware not only of the opportunities, but also of the risks and threats.
“Sharing knowledge and experience is so important now. eLearning Africa has a huge body of expertise, a unique community of experts and professionals, many of whom have been involved in implementing new solutions in very challenging circumstances. They can provide the best advice available. That’s why, at this critical moment for African education, we have created the eLearning Africa Cybersecurity Virtual Exchange.”
The event will take place at a time when cyber attacks on institutions and organisations in Africa have increased and the global education sector, particularly higher education, has been the subject of increasing attention from cyber criminals and hackers.
“As Africa, along with the rest of the world, shifts a large part of its education resources and provision online, it is sadly inevitable that the risks will increase. That’s why it’s so important for African decision makers to be thoroughly aware of what’s happening and to stay ahead of the game. It’s not just about introducing a good system, but about making sure it’s safe and that everyone’s data is protected too.”
The eLearning Africa Cybersecurity Virtual Exchange brings professionals and decision makers in the African education and training sector together with global cyber and data security solution providers and experts. Participants in the event are likely to include professionals from across Africa working in sectors including primary, secondary and tertiary education, vocational training, health education, and workplace learning and development. Government officials, business leaders, policy directors, institutional decision makers are also scheduled to take part, alongside representatives from schools, training institutions, universities, education and training stakeholder groups, businesses, NGOs, IGOs and many more.
Founded in 2005, eLearning Africa is the leading pan-African conference and exhibition on ICT for Education, Training & Skills Development. The three day event offers participants the opportunity to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as to enhance their knowledge and skills.
Over 14 consecutive years, eLearning Africa has hosted more than 18,000 participants from 100+ different countries around the world, with over 80% coming from the African continent. More than 3,830 speakers have addressed the conference about every aspect of technology supported learning, training and skills development.