'New technologies are only a tool. Innovation will not come from there.'.

Position::Cheikh Modibo Diarra - Interview

New African: A lot was said about new technologies during the summit. To what extent do they represent an opportunity for Africa? As a means of providing access to quality education for all or more generally, aiding the development of the continent?

Dr Diarra: New technologies are really only tools. We should not lose sight of that. What we need above all is innovation. New ideas. Creating a new model for education. Once that has been done, new technologies will be able to help us. But innovation will not come from the new technologies themselves. Once we have found a new model for the years to come, new technologies will help us to add value to that model and to achieve economies of scale, because they will help us to rapidly spread and share the new solutions we develop to encourage access for all to a quality education. Because we must increasingly, above all in Africa where a vast majority of the population is young, ensure widespread access to education without compromising on the quality of that education. And that is exactly where new technologies can play a role.

What did you think of the summit? And, in a wider sense, to what extent do you think that this sort of initiative can have an impact on educational issues around the world?

I thought the concept was very interesting, that's true. As a pragmatist, however, what I disliked and what I dislike in general with this sort of summit is that they bring together high calibre personalities who have already worked on the issues, but there is no follow-up once the summit is over. Perhaps it does happen and I'm just not aware of it, but a team should be set up to monitor progress on the innovative ideas that came out of the summit and their possible applications. An independent body, of course. This would allow WISE to branch out in a number of directions. There is the summit itself of course, but there could be other bodies that would continue to work on the issues and ideas raised all year round.

In what capacity were you invited to the international summit for innovation in education, WISE 2011, in Doha? Was this the first time you have taken part?

This is the first time I have taken part in the WISE summit. In fact, it was my first time in Qatar and I was wearing...

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