Webinar on Distance Learning in Africa during COVID 19 School Closure: African Country Experiences in the Use of Mixed Media – ICT, TV, Radio, Mobile Phones, Print Media and Others Co-organized by IICBA and ADEA

Countries are implementing drastic measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including school closures. This unprecedented situation is forcing governments and educators to find quick solutions to ensure the continuity of quality education at all levels of education.

However, these solutions operate at varied technological levels. Some countries or institutions can provide various appropriate tools for online and distance learning, like a fast internet and interactive learning platform. Others, at a less advanced technological level, are setting up alternative systems such as the use of mass media (TV, Radio, printed media), mobile phones for text messages, WhatsApp, etc., and issue handouts for distance learning. In Africa, most teachers have limited capacities and access to these technologies, especially among marginalized and less privileged communities. 

In this context, on 29 April 2020, IICBA and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) jointly organized a webinar on Distance Learning in Africa during COVID-19 School Closure: African Country Experiences in the Use of Mixed Media – ICT, TV, Radio, Mobile Phones, Print Media and Others.

The webinar helped share experience and educational reality on how teachers and governments are supporting teaching and learning during the current situation. It also facilitated knowledge exchange across national borders and provided valuable evidence for governments and development partners. Over 100 participants across the world attended took part in the meeting.

Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of IICBA, as the session moderator, gave welcoming remarks. In the introduction to the themes, Dr. Fengchun Miao, Chief of the Unit for ICT in Education, UNESCO HQ, demonstrated an analysis of 14 national distance learning strategies around the world. Following that, Ms. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, stressed the significance of collaboration among stakeholders and teachers in developing distance education in Africa, both during and after the crisis. Mr. Shem Bodo, Senior Programmes Officer, ADEA, in his keynote address, shared a status report of a survey of delivering education at home in 12 African countries.

Thereafter, the presentations on country experience were respectively given by Dr. Alfonso Sebaganwa from Rwanda; Ms. Lucy Njura Barimbui and Ms. Veronica Annor from Ghana; and Dr. Yohannes Benti and Mr. Solomon Weldesenbet Atiso from Ethiopia. These were followed by a Q&A session which highlighted the issues of inclusivity of digital devices, sustainability beyond the crisis, and monitoring and evaluation.

Finally, the closing remarks were given by Dr. Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE). He emphasized the need of strengthening cooperation among all educators to provide innovative support to teachers at all levels.

IICBA organizes weekly webinars on supporting teachers and distance education in Africa. The next webinar will be held on Wednesday 6 May to discuss learning assessment during COVID-19. It will be co-organized by IICBA and Teaching and Learning Educators’ Network for Transformation (TALENT).

Presentations from the Webinar

Distance Learning Strategies: What do we know about effectiveness? (Fengchun Miao)

Delivering Education at home in 12 African Member States amid the COVID-19 pandemic: Status Report (ADEA)

ICT in Education in Rwanda Education Board Achievements

The recording of the webinar is available here on Youtube