Thepath to inclusiveeducation inAfrica
All the experts who have contributed to this report have underscored how COVID-19 has rewritten the rules of engagement when it comes to education in Africa. In the wake of the pandemic, the AU’s Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) will be closely scrutinized in terms of how effective it will be in reorienting Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills innovation, and creativity required to support inclusive and sustainable transformation on the continent.
“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for African stakeholders to deploy education systems that enhance productivity, efficiency, and employability. Education should remain relevant in the face of rapid societal changes towhich it needs to adapt. Access, quality, and equity in learning opportunities are baselines that cannot be overlooked.”
Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya Head of the Division of Human Resource and Youth Development at the African Union Commission (AUC)
Some African countries have demonstrated swift adoption. According to Nsengimana, the pandemic has acted as an accelerant to Education Technology or 'EdTech' adoption. The closure of schools has forced the EdTech sector to innovate to meet the increased demand for digital learning. An array of platforms are now being used to enable students to continue learning, including radio and television, SMS based solutions, and eLearning systems. In Kenya, the Zeraki Learning tool from Litemore saw approximately 1,000 downloads per month before the pandemic - but in the first month after schools in the country closed, they increased to 100,000. Similarly, in South Africa, Siyavula reported a 400% increase in the number of questions its automated platform sends daily to students who have subscribed, often free of charge.
Joseph Nsengimana Director for the Mastercard Foundation’s Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT. This showed us howwe could liberate learning from the confines of school walls. It is important to see these types of public-private-partnerships continue so that learning content is made available across many platforms and is accessible at the point of need. If every child has access to a device and data, we can achieve equal access to education for all Africans.” “The solutions needed on the continent with regards to ensuring widespread adoption and access to digital education in both urban and rural Africawill require collaboration. Governments that partnered with telecommunications companies to offer free education content during the pandemic provided continuity for students to access content that would have been too expensive otherwise.
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