On 1st July 2020, Whizz Education, in partnership with Brains Global, hosted a video conference with senior government officials from 12 African countries. The purpose of the conference was to explore options to accelerate the recovery of schooling systems in light of Covid-19, with special emphasis on blended learning.
Key themes from the discussions
Each of the 12 countries presented its own unique context in terms of the severity of Covid-19 impacts, organisational readiness and availability of resources.
Equity is a practical concern for all countries. There is consensus that the digital divide has amplified access barriers for the most vulnerable communities, and that learning loss is subsequently affecting those groups the most during school closures.
Blended delivery models are increasingly sought after as a means of ensuring access to quality learning resources, in and out of school. Yet limited infrastructure has meant that digital content has relied heavily on broadcast channels such as television and radio. Marginalised communities, cut off from technology, remain dependent on printed materials.
Covid-19 has presented a context in which educators are rethinking key assumptions around education such as the role of assessment. The move towards more flexible, distributed delivery models is definite and irreversible.
The role of the teacher is as paramount as ever; they must retain a presence in children’s learning. Blended learning must augment teacher capabilities rather than allowing technology to act as a substitute for them.
A spirit of partnership is needed to facilitate the exchange of expertise, with a strong need coming through for advice and technical assistance around the implementation of progressive learning technologies.