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Continuing its engaging series of discussions, the monthly radio show EdTech Mondays in its April episode, is set to spotlight the prevailing lack of infrastructure which impedes the comprehensive implementation of edtech solutions in Ethiopia.

The radio show, produced by the Mastercard Foundation and Shega Media & Technology Plc, chose to address the infrastructure issue as the challenge has consistently emerged throughout EdTech Mondays’ conversations since its inception in October 2022.

Despite the substantial growth of technology-integrated learning, Ethiopia’s ICT systems are still insufficient to meet the existing demand across various sectors, including education. There’s a significant disparity in digital infrastructure between urban and rural regions.

According to Data Portal, internet penetration in Ethiopia was 25% in 2022, with the bulk of users located in urban areas. This contrasts with the global figure where internet users comprise 51.4% of the population – more than double the proportion in Ethiopia. Furthermore, irregular or non-existent electricity supplies have exacerbated issues surrounding ICT infrastructure usage.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of access to ICT infrastructure and connectivity, the cost of connecting to infrastructures, such as broadband, remains unaffordable for many.

This digital divide has inevitably left millions of young learners and educational institutions bereft of the advantages of technology-backed education, such as Open Educational Resources, hybrid learning models like distance learning and e-learning, and other educational technology resources designed to reduce inequality and expand access to education.

The forthcoming show, airing on Monday May 29, 2023, at 8:10 pm via Fana FM 98.1 and 10 other affiliated radio stations countrywide such as Nekemet, Gondar, and Dessie, will explore how Ethiopia can broaden access to ICT infrastructure and connectivity to bolster educational technology.

Featuring a panel of experts, Yoftahe Yohannes, Senior Project Manager and PMI Future SO honoree, and Yonatan Yeneneh, Head of Projects at Ethiopia i Engineering Group, the show will be moderated by journalist and producer Rediet Meshesha. The discussion will delve into whether access and connectivity responsibilities lie solely with the government or if the private sector and other key stakeholders can play an equal role.

EdTech Mondays, now in its 7th episode, was launched as a platform to foster critical conversations on technology’s role in teaching and learning, bringing together key stakeholders including policy makers, edtech entrepreneurs, teachers, and parents.

EdTech Monday holds an integrated, Africa-wide conversation monthly on CNBC Africa and the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Facebook page. Complementing the monthly Africa theme, Mastercard Foundation offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria disseminate these discussions with local context, experts, nuances, and case studies in collaboration with local edtech support organizations.

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