Covid-19 Impact On Education Africa

How is Covid-19 affecting Africa’s education sector? Covid-19’s has had and continues to disrupt the education industry and its ability to serve its students. The switch from on campus to online learning in the developed world has been well documented. But how is Covid-19 impacting the developing world? Moses Ngware, Senior Research Scientist, African Population and Health Research Centre has written an article regarding Covid-19, which we will analyse herein.

The pandemic has affected over 1.576 billion learners, constituting slightly over 91% of global enrolment. In Africa, about 297 million learners are affected. Underutilised teachers, educational institutes and learners will be drag on economic growth long-term if greater productivity is not achieved.

Edtechis a digital learning platform that used to facilitate learning. Specifically, Edtech provides virtual classrooms, TV, radio and online learning platforms. Thesechannels are being adopted and utilized on an unprecedented level across Africa and beyond.

The experience of mass communication and internet-based resources is uneven within the countries.In Africa, 75% of learners have limited or no access to interactive and internet-based resources. There is a scramble to provide the bare minimum learning opportunities to children by giving internet access and devices. This is a critical first step, enabling educators to reach and engage with learners.

While the world’s primary focus is on providing opportunitiesto learn, developed countries will soon transition from towards improving the effectivenessof these innovations. Meantime, Africa, due to its limited resources will fall further behind because the standard delivery mechanisms available in the developed world are not available in Africa.

The effectiveness of Edtech, and other internet-based resources, depends on the strength of national networks and individual’sconnectivity to technology. Success requires engagement with competent service providers and getting viable devices in the hands of the users. Factorssuch as smartphone penetration and internet penetration are good metrics to assess the viability of Edtech or other technology solutions in targeted communities.

The high-level talk is that Covid-19 presents an opportunity to strengtheneducation technology in Africa. While a positive outlook is certainly beneficial, bringing together the right resources remains an incredibly challenging task. A joint movement by technology and digital solution developers, information service providers, government and other educational stakeholders will be necessary to close or lessen the technological learning gapsbetween the developed and the developing world. The challenges become even greater when remote education involves reachability economicallychallenged families and special needs children, thus they are often left behind.

A home environment that encourages and supportsa viable learning ecosystem in home schooling also becomes vital, as the children are physically at home. In summary, students, teachers, parents, authorities and each and every onethe educational ecosystem needs to stay organised, focused and most importantly motivated, in order to achieve success in these Covid-19 impacted times.

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