IICBA Organizes a Webinar on ICT and Distance Learning in Tertiary Education Institutions during School Closure

As of 21 April 2020, according to UNESCO, nearly 1.6 billion learners across 192 countries are affected by country-wide school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, it is urgent to ensure the continuity of quality teaching and learning during the school closure. The use of ICT and distance learning in education plays a crucial role in responding to the crisis.

On 22 April 2020, IICBA organized a webinar on “ICT and Distance Learning in Tertiary Education Institutions during School Closure”. The webinar aimed to share information about how governments in Africa are supporting (or are planning to support) tertiary educators to use ICT to continue providing quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the webinar aimed to create a forum in which African educators/teachers could share experience on the use of ICT in distance learning in tertiary education institutions. Education experts from three countries - namely Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria - made presentations and over 160 participants across the world joined the event.

Mr. Saliou Sall, Senior Programme Coordinator, IICBA, as the session moderator, welcomed participants and gave the introduction to the webinar. In her opening remarks, the Director of IICBA, Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, highlighted the education challenges following the COVID-19 crisis, and the urge to explore solutions to continue quality education. The keynote speech was given by Dr. Adewale Adesina, Director, Learning Content Management Systems, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), who shared experience on distance learning modalities at NOUN.

The main presentations were given by Dr. Temesgen Melaku, Teacher Educator from Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia; Prof. Robert Oboko, Associate Professor and Director of School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, Kenya; and Dr. Vivian O. Nwaocha, Head of Computer Science Department, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The presentation session was followed by a discussion, in which participants were given opportunities to ask questions, provide information, and share experience from their own countries on the use of ICT in distance learning during this crisis. The closing remarks were delivered by Dr. Mahama Ouedraogo, Director of Human Resources, Science and Technology Department, African Union Commission, who highlighted the importance of “training teachers/educators in new ways of doing things during the current pandemic”, to ensure that students continue their education. He noted that this is in line with AU continental agenda of Africa We Want 2063 and CESA strategic objective 1, which speaks of revitalizing the teaching professional to ensure quality and relevance at all levels of education.

IICBA has been organizing weekly webinars to support teachers at all levels to ensure the continuity of quality teaching and learning in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Here are themes covered in the past weeks:

27 March: Teachers’ Issues in COVID-19

2 April: Teachers’ Roles in the COVID-19 Situation in Africa

9 April: Teacher Support in Francophone Countries in Africa

15 April: First Knowledge Sharing on Teachers’ Issues in Africa for UNESCO Staff

21 April: ICT and Distance Learning in Tertiary Education Institutions during School Closure

IICBA continues to organize a series of webinars on knowledge sharing and initiatives to enhance cooperation among stakeholders, in order to deliver better support to teachers and to education in Africa. The next webinar IICBA has planned to hold is scheduled for Wednesday 29 April and will be jointly organized by IICBA, ADEA and the UNESCO HQ. That session will focus on African country experiences in the use of mixed media (ICT, TV, radio mobile phones, print media, etc. Webinars on developing teachers’ guides for distance learning and on learning assessment for distance education are schedules for the following weeks.

Presentations from the Webinar
ICT and Distance Learning in Tertiary Education Institutions During School Closure:NOUN’s Strategy and Other Responses (Vivian O. Nwaocha)

ICT and distance learning in tertiary education institutions during COVID-19 induced school closure (Robert Oboko, PhD)

ICT and distance learning in tertiary education institutions during school closure (Temesgen Melaku (Ph.D.)

ICT use in Distance Learning at Tertiary LevelExperiences from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) (Adewale Adesina,PhD)

ICT and distance learning in tertiary education institutions during school closure (Prof. Titanji Peter Fon)

The recording of the webinar is available here on Youtube