IICBA Co-organizes an Online Webinar on Teachers' Role in the COVID-19 Situation in Africa

Globally, most governments around the world have temporarily closed schools to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 27 March 2020, according to the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, around 1.5 billion learners and 63 million primary and secondary teachers are affected by school closures in 165 countries. In Africa, the issue is extremely serious with over 90% of schools affected. The immediate tasks are required to find solutions to ensure the quality of teaching and learning during the school closure.

In this context, on 2 April 2020, IICBA co-organized a Skype webinar on “Teachers’ Roles in the COVID-19 Situation in Africa” with the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa. The webinar focused on the role of teachers in Africa to continue teaching and learning during the pandemic using existing means. It discussed the reality, achievements, challenges and way forward of distance teaching and learning on the continent. Around 35 participants attended the webinar.

Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, IICBA Director, and Dr. Victoria Kisaakye, IICBA Senior Program Specialist, both gave presentations on the topic. Dr. Yokozeki presented the influence of COVID-19 on education, particularly its affect on Africa, and ways of supporting teachers proposed by the Teacher Task Force for Education 2030. Following that, Dr. Kisaakye shared experiences on how governments in African countries are supporting teachers and educators to continue providing education during school closures. She addressed contextual issues of education in unprecedented situations, actions that have been taken at school and government levels, critical challenges to distance learning, and significant gaps in teacher support that must be filled in order to respond to similar crises in the future.

In the following week, IICBA will organize an experience sharing webinar on the mechanisms African countries are putting in place to conduct distance education, especially in areas without good internet connections. The first session will be held in French, targeting Francophone countries in Africa and the English session will follow afterward.