Provision of quality and inclusive education

Provision of Quality and Inclusive Education in Sub-Sahara Africa in the face of Covid-19 

Due to the pandemic Covid 19, schools are shut down in many parts of the world. Most of the government and private schools are holding their program online (e-learning) using the technology.  This shift comes with a lot of challenges regarding the provision of quality and inclusive education to all children, especially in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA).

In response to these challenges, on 30th May and 06th June 2020, Pax Romana Africa, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Lusaka Zambia, Zizi Afrique Foundation, the Global Centre for the Development of the Whole Child University of Notre Dame USA and many education experts -lecturer researchers across Africa, held on-line conversations on the topic  “The provision of Quality and Inclusive Education in Sub-Sahara Africa in the face of Covid-19”.

The discussion focused on the challenges imposed by Covid-19, the mitigation strategies, some of the options for delivering quality and inclusive education, the future role of technology in enhancing teaching and learning, and the recommendations to the education providers, especially the governments and the Church.

The key recommendations from the conversation are below:

  1. Having understood that the household serves as the first school for a child, there needs to be progressive effort to make them safe and supportive environments for children.
  2. There is also need to look at nutrition, which has been a major problem in Sub Saharan Africa especially at the very young age below 03 years, this will help in building their cognitive abilities.
  3. Communities can begin to find solutions that will create continuity of education for the African child both informally and at formal schooling. This can be done by offering skills to the local population to enable them transfer knowledge to the children even when they are out of school. A similar approach has been taken by the health sector where they used community health workers who were given basic training and were in a position to identify different symptoms in patients and offered great assistance.
  4. The Church has a major role to play in child development. With the ability to influence people’s behavior, the church needs to build positive parenting messages, bring the parents together when they have young ones for example in baptisms and other church gatherings. They need to understand the responsibility bestowed upon them by God to bring up his beloved children and that violence is not the way to go. This will help get the kids off to a strong start.
  5. Church schools need to go back to being the model of what it means to provide quality and inclusive education as shown in its ministry. Education should be for the full formation of a child. This will help the children identify their gifts and talents which will make them greater men and women who will graduate to serve society and the church. By offering value based education, church schools will help transform the society. The church needs to find ways to blend our value systems with 21st century skills.
  6. The teacher needs to be motivated to do their job. Parents should support the schools especially during this time of the corona virus pandemic. Teachers should also be encouraged to embrace technology as a way of covering gaps. Training of teachers should also incorporate the use of technology as a mode of education delivery.
  7. Communities and private companies can support governments in finding solutions and other means to deliver education to the kids. This can be done through innovations and especially tech companies can create more interesting avenues to make education more appealing to the children. They can do this by making affordable digital devices and make the boring curriculum more fun through gamification and edutainment.
  8. Curriculum transformation ought to be an ongoing process to move away from pedagogies that would be considered boring for young learners. The e-learning that is currently being offered on various platforms like television and radio would be revised to have more activities and play-based kind of learning. This will also help in making education more interesting to the children.

Read the full report of the conversation here