How can this technology become an integral part of our lives in Africa?
Local content and localization involve decentralization. “A coordinated international effort aimed at producing creative contents for a great local users’ experience”. Throughout the world, especially in developed countries, this technology forms an integral part of governance. The reason is that it brings policy makers and the public or the ordinary persons closer. The people get to know what policy makers are up to, and they also contribute through public agenda formation. Policy makers are able to derive the right needs of the citizenry.
Localization and local content is necessary for the development of education and socio-economic growth of Africa. The only way to develop or grow as a continent is when policies and programs of policy makers live the lives of the local people.
Localization and local content can become an integral part of our lives in Africa through the following:
Teaching learning modules in regional languages. Most research works has indicated that teachers and students find it difficult using other languages at certain levels of education apart from their local languages especially in among the indigenous people in the rural communities in Africa. Therefore, if we make our regional language the main channel of communication in teaching and learning, students would grasp the concept better. I am not advocating for the abolishment of foreign languages in teaching but they could be an alternative to support the regional/local language. If students are familiar with their environment, they learn faster and happily. Their environment could be their language and/or their way of life.
Also, technologies, learning materials, books and policies must be developed locally. Why should most African Countries structure their education system or form policies that are largely of foreign contents? We must identify our core problems, invite institutions and the public to deliberate on issues and make sure that our own problems form part of our plans, strategies and policies. However, we must do these by considering internationally acceptable best practices.
Strengthening our local industries. Local industries in Africa are not given much attention and infrastructural support. If we want to make localization part of our lives in Africa, then much attention must be given to our local industries. We must strengthen them to be efficient in production and expand their capacity to be sustainable in other to supply the needs of the local people. Most local industries are not producing enough products to meet the people’s needs therefore the alternative, which may not be the appropriate need, is used.
Countries in Africa have local traditions and cultures. The traditions are respected by the local people and they would do their best possible to protect them whiles ensuring that they are respected. Also, our culture is the way of life. It shows what we wear, eat, and even when and how we do everyday activities. Therefore, making localization and local content an integral part of our lives in Africa would require an integration of these technologies into the cultures and traditions of Africans without any attempt to change these cultures and traditions. This is important because the local people would not accept it.
Localization does not mean that everything needs to be totally changed. There are plenty of books and movies written in one language about another cultures. When a product is localized, it should be able to compete with such truly local products.
International softwares and computer applications could be adapted for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text. These developments make it easier for the local people to appreciate the technology. They are then compelled to use and continuous use make it a habit. Therefore it becomes an integral part of their lives.
In summary, we must understand as Africans that, adapting international practices including technologies in our plans, strategies or our policies is not bad. What we must do is to integrate them into our local market in a way that would enable us develop as a continent. Africans must realize that in our quest to develop our education sector and ensure socio-economic development, there is the need to decentralize technical skills in the educations systems or the learning processes of our way of life, in a way that could be easily be understandable, accessible and usable by the local people. Advancement in technology is for all and not for the few who can access them.
Written by Prince Baah-Duodu for: www.baahduodu.wordpress.com