IICBA Co-organizes Indo-Africa Discussion: Sharing Experiences on Teachers during Covid-19

On 27 May, 2020, IICBA and UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office joined hands with the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA), National Council for Teacher Education in India (NCTE), and the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) to create a sharing platform through a webinar.

With over 80 participants across the world, the session shared the initiatives taken by the governments to ensure quality and inclusive education, and to support teachers in ICT and distance learning from India and Africa. Furthermore, participants reflected on the lessons learned during COVID-19 and proposed much-needed actions for teaching and learning during the post-pandemic era.

The session was opened by the welcoming remarks of Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of IICBA. Following that, experiences and information on teachers’ support during Covid-19 were shared by experts from India and Africa who represented the following organizations: National Council of Teacher Education, India; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India; National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), India; Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA); UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa; Department of Basic Education, South Africa; and Moi University in Kenya.

Speakers introduced previous initiatives on teacher support in previous crises, and current responses to the education crisis during COVID-19 by countries or region. Several common challenges faced by both sides were highlighted, which included the provision of quality teachers equipped with ICT skills and knowledge; development of appropriate educational content of distance learning; identification of the voices of all teachers, especially of those from remote areas; and innovative ways to address the needs of teachers with regard to safety, motivation and psychosocial support. Moreover, India addressed the necessity of delineating existing online resources and converting them to current pedagogical structures, while Africa emphasized the needs of solving issues of connectivity, and considerations regarding school reopening after adequate preparation.

To this end, recommendations and prospects were summarized in the closing remarks by Prof. Padma Sarangapani, Chairperson, Centre for Education, Innovation and Action Research, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India.  She called upon governments to enhance the public-private partnership to address the issue of the provision of equipment for teachers and learners, and to build on existing visions and achievements in the past rather than beginning completely anew. Prof. Sarangapani highlighted that hybrid responses are needed where we do not lose sight of face-to-face interaction and use online approaches as a supplement. In the following discussion, IICBA and India could share more case studies about hybrid responses and technologies that can be blended in contexts of limited resources.