2020 Plans and 2019 Accomplishments by Jim Teicher Founder & Director

During 2020 our focus is on building out and launching the SmartSenegal.com social network experience and cementing  relationships for the massive uptake by teachers in Senegal and elsewhere in the developing world.

 

Relationships. Relationships. The SmartSenegal.com social network

During 2019 we cementered the key relationships for the start-up and growth of the SmartSenegal.com teacher social network –trusted local partnerships established over  our10+ years here. Relationships emphasising the private sector, teacher unions, and other key influencers outside of government control. It’s all about relatinoships!

SmartSenegal.com overcomes the persistent obstacles associated with teacher training, collaboration, and access to up-to-date learning resources in developing nations: it provides a highly supportive, empathetic platform for teachers to make new, meaningful connections with learning content and each other.  Strategic use of artificial intelligence helps teachers locate and apply the best available resources.

Ground-breaking Research: The Digital Life of New Teachers

CyberSmart Africa conducted ground-breaking research about the digital life of new teachers – something never done before in Sub-Saharan Africa where teachers’ opinions rarely enter into decision making by education authorities. We surveyed 300 new Senegalese teachers and found that the vast majority (89 percent) own smartphones and are substantially more connected than the general public . New teachers are the power telecom users, representing the largest group of stable wage earners in developing countries. This is encouraging news both for telecom players, and for the development of new education solutions which embrace technology. See the Slideshare presentation here first presented at AfricaCom, Capetown, South Africa

Digital Learning

Schools continue to use CyberSmart Africa’s solar-powered interactive whiteboard for low-cost classroom learning. Although not our current focus, this low-cost learning technology will play a key role to bring online and offline multimedia lessons to classrooms without, and with electricity.

NBA Academy

I connected with The National Basketball Association to bring NBA Academy players and staff to the rural elementary school, Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane 1. The NBA Academy is a world-class facility designed to train elite African athletes. The players spent time in classrooms, played games with the kids, and provided inspiration just through their towering presence. We used basketball as a frame of reference for multimedia lessons in geometry – a basketball court is a rectangle!

American Chamber of Commerce

I have assumed a leadership role within the American Chamber of Commerce to strengthen American investment and influence in West Africa. The net impact can be huge, including transparency improvements, and embracing more problem solving and decision making at all levels.

2019 Community Service Activities

This year again we had  numerous opportunities to serve students, teachers, and  their families.

Student Health Care

Once again we were thrilled to arrange the  Maine (USA)-based Partners in World Health return to Ecole Sinthiou Mbadane1, CyberSmart Africa’s first partner school, to provide medical treatment for hundreds of children and their families in the village of Sinthiou Mbadane.

Chef Pierre Thiam visit to Dakar

I was thrilled to facilitate a meeting between the internationally renowned American/Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam and U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, Tulinabo Mushingi. Pierre Thiam is widely recognized as the culinary ambassador of West African cuisine to the world.

Life-saving open heart surgery/Cardiovascular disease prevention

The Cuomo Pediatric Heart Hospital is the new hub for open heart surgery and medical education in the region. During September 2019 I was honored to sponsor life-saving open heart surgery performed on a young man in dire need. Aligned to the Senegalese national curriculum, lessons in cardiac disease prevention, including rheumatic fever, hypertension, and diabetes will all be a vital component of CyberSmart Africa’s new digital learning content.

Feature film “Tall as the Baobab Tree”  This internationally acclaimed feature continues to impact millions of people around the world, Produced by CyberSmart Learning Institute and filmed in the village where I started my work in Senegal over ten years ago, the film speaks to the power of education and its life changing consequences. A free teaching and study guide is available for teachers.

Micro-Sustainable development exemplified

Madame Fataya exemplifies the vision for financial sustainability at a micro-level. This woman increased her sales of street food and boosted her income by offering new, creative versions of a traditional Senegalese donut called “fataya.” We provided the coaching, recipes, and ingredients to make the initial batches. She’s been on her own for over six months, buying the ingredients and profitably selling new bananna and apple fatayas to tourists and locals.

 

 

First ever survey of 300 Senegalese Teachers. Key Market Identified

CyberSmart Africa conducted ground-breaking research about the digital life of new teachers – something never done before in Sub-Saharan Africa – where the teachers opinions rarely enter into decision making by education authorities.

We surveyed 300 new Senegalese teachers and found that the vast majority (89 percent) own smartphones and are substantially more connected than the general public. New teachers are the power telecom users, representing the largest group of stable wage earners in developing countries. This is encouraging news both for telecom players, and for the development of new education solutions which embrace technology. See the Slideshare presentation here first presented at AfricaCom, Capetown, South Africa

HIghlight: Teachers represent the largest professional workforce on the African continent. Teachers in Africa actually take home a higher percentage of GDP per capita than their peers in developed nations.  This means that regularly salaried teachers are important customers in Africa. Plus this market will grow, and grow, and grow as estimated shortages of teachers in primary and secondary education in sub Saharan Africa are dire.

Teachers will facilitate technology use in schools, and will help drive children and families to connect.

 

 

 

 

Teachers: the largest professional workforce in Africa: Ground-breaking CyberSmart research

Discussing the results of our recent survey with 300 new Senegalese teachers with Monahed Moustapha Diagne, Director of Training and Communications for the Senegalese Ministry of Education.  

Teachers represent the largest, regularly salaried,  stable and professional workforce on the African Continent. And their numbers will only grow with the booming child population growth.  CyberSmart’s groundbreaking research found that  the majority of teachers –  fully 66% will pay for the convenience of connectivity when and where they want it and 89%  own a new smart phone – a significantly higher percentage than the general population.

For the full results and implications for telcoms  and education See

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Why Telcom and Education Go Hand in Hand

My experience with telecom players suggests that they care deeply about bridging the digital divide, connecting everyone, and impacting education. It makes sense on every level. An educated society benefits everyone because it contributes to economic growth and well-being – including the expansion of new telecom products and services. (photo from #AfricaCom2019).

 

Africa Comm 2019

Thrilled to be invited speaker on the connectivity stage to reveal results of our recent 300 teacher survey: African teachers are clearly positioned to be the best ambassadors critical to enabling the digital transformation of Africa.  They are connected, they represent the largest group of stable wage earners in developing countries and their numbers will grow tremendously. #africacom  

#AfricaCom First time ever survey reveals major leadership opportunity

Insights from CyberSmart Africa’s first-time ever survey of 300 teachers reveals  a major opportunity for telecoms to play a leadership role to grow education solutions while maintaining financial sustainability. Jim Teicher, CEO and Director  of CyberSmart Africa is presenting at #AfricaCom in Cape Town on 12 -14 November 2019, AfricaCom is the Largest African Telco, Media, and Technology Event.               Conference details here.

 

 

Digital Currency is Valuable for sub-Saharan Africa

Consumers will drive the growth of digital currency, which will and must become part of our daily lives in sub-Saharan Africa.  This is the essence of my remarks when I introduced the amazing panel titled “Consumer Led Innovation” at the WestAfricaCom conference in Dakar.

Technologies like blockchain and digital cash are particularly valuable because they bring the promise of transparency and trust. Blockchain provides a new way to exchange money and other valuable information without fear that it will be stolen or modified.

Telecom should be a leader in this new space. The technology is new and challenges remain, and the telecom ecosystem counts among the key players who must implement it successfully.  For more information about the impact of blockchain on international development see the USAID Primer on Blockchain.

The true test of success will be growing consumer demand to use blockchain in ways that make life easier and more affordable. The benefits of transparency and trust will impact the delivery of public services in ways that bring new efficiencies and renewed integrity to the government.

WestAfricaCom Conference Keynote Panel: Closing the Skills Gap with Technology

Key note panel speaker, Jim Teicher, Director CyberSmart AFrica on the topic of “Closing the Skills Gap with Technology and Innovation” notes that ” highly innovative, practical, and massively scalable educational solutions are required to meet the pressing demands of the skyrocketing population in sub-Saharan Africa.

Two additional points  emphasized:

– To bring more women into the workforce we need to make sure that more girls go to school – and stay in school.

– Public/private partnerships are very challenging and typically unsustainable once project funding runs out. Everyone seems to agree; and now we need to turn talk into action in order to close the skills gap.

West Africa Com 2019 Conference Speaker

 

Thrilled to be returning to West Africa Com 2019 as a speaker on ‘Closing the Skills Gap with Technology and Innovation’.

Great memories of being honored here prior with “Game Changing Innovation” Award.

Millions of Lesson Plans. Valuable and Missing.

Lesson Plan

Millions of lesson plans like this are kept in teachers’ personal drawers. So why should we care? Because most schools in Sub-Saharan Africa lack books and teaching resources are few. So lessons plans and learning content is treasured.

These valuable lesson plans need to be shared. That’s what CyberSmart Africa is working on.

And it must happen sooner than later because the school-age population is skyrocketing.