IICBA Co-organizes Regional Virtual Meetings for Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa: COVID-19 Education Crisis - Supporting Teachers on School Reopening Strategies and Distance Education with UNESCO International Task Force on Teachers

On 28 May 2020, UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) and UNESCO International Task Force on Teachers (TTF) co-organized the 'Regional Virtual Meetings for Anglophone sub-Saharan Africa COVID-19 Education Crisis - Supporting Teachers on School Reopening Strategies and Distance Education'. In attendance were over 60 participants including TTF member countries and organizations as well as non-members, TTF focal points, representatives of Ministries of Education, and other relevant education stakeholders working on teachers’ issues in the region.

The webinar was opened with remarks by Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of IICBA, who also chaired the session. Following that, Mr. Borhene Chakroun, Head of Teacher Task Force Secretariat, Director, Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, UNESCO, introduced the work of TTF. In addition, the webinar included presentations from Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), Education International (EI), and TTF member countries (The Gambia, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda) on the experiences of addressing teachers’ concerns and issues, promising practices in ensuring teachers’ issues are addressed and teachers are involved in education responses to Covid-19, as well as challenges and recommendations on school reopening.

Thereafter, a question and answer session was moderated by Mr. Peter Water, UNESCO TTF, during which participants underlined issues related to teacher training and capacity building, the involvement of teacher unions, distance learning of science and other hands-on nature subjects, psychosocial support to teachers, and reopening of boarding schools. In the discussion, speakers shared practices and useful tools from their organizations or countries. In addition, many participants highlighted it is significant to have thorough consultations with teachers to address their needs on the training of distance learning, safety, and psychosocial support. It is also critical to adapt the provided guidelines to domestic contexts, according to the discussion.

At the end, Dr. Yokozeki gave the closing remarks, emphasizing the crucial role of teachers in ensuring continuity and quality of education during the current crisis, and the importance of the continuous exchange of good practices to facilitate collaboration among partners and promote concrete actions.

The French session will be held on 4 June 2020 which focuses on teacher support, school reopening strategies, and distance education during COVID-19 in Francophone countries.