Africa is a jewel. But this jewel needs us. The help it needs is not limited to education but let this subject suffice for this presentation.
As a global concern, the unexpected coronavirus pandemic has crippled us in several aspects. In Africa, aside from exposing the already known poor healthcare system, it has also crippled education. Unlike with the developed economies, we are badly hit. Education and learning came to a halt so as to protect the administrators, teachers, parents, pupils, and students from contracting the virus.
This cessation of activities has lasted for a long while now. It will require careful planning before schools are reopened. So much has been lost already. And we can’t continue as such any longer. But the future of education in Africa must be approached differently. The most common approach to learning, and the school system in Africa, has always been within the 4-walls of a school environment. At the elementary level, the digital approach to learning is not common for the commoners.
Many generations have undergone this sort of learning, and the current generation in most locations hasn’t thought of any alternative. Africa has a peculiar case when considering its schooling system. One thing that shapes what we do and how we go about what we are doing is poverty. Poverty in the continent affects both urban and rural dwellers. The financial capacity of most homes has even dictated the quality of education that the children there can access. Not all schools in the continent can boast of an ICT center.
Most of their clerical duties are still being done manually and with pen and paper and with other standard hardware in use. Digital literacy is below the acceptable mark. So much is yet undone. Will we speak about the poor supply of electric power too? Or the poor level of internet connectivity? No need to raise your annoyance, though these and more are pertinent questions.
Moving forward, what we in Africa do greatly require is the political will to make digital literacy, and ultimately online education, to become a common reality. The needed policy framework must be pursued. Soon, the world will go digital in education delivery. Soon, mainstream education will dominantly be conducted via a screen. Online (remote) education will soon compete for prominence with the traditional system.
Africa must begin its preparation today. May we not waste the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic. All hands must be on deck to press for this future reality. It can be done!
Written by Itoro