EDUCATION AND PANDEMIC IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS TO STABILIZE A FRAGILE BUT VALUABLE SECTOR.
This study uncovers the major factors that led to the disruption of education systems in Sub-Saharan Africa after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data was collected from major stakeholders and was analyzed through descriptive analysis. The study also highlights the value of education in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study also analyses the detrimental effects on the children, teachers, parents, school workers, and other stakeholders that resulted from the disruption of learning. Additionally, the study provides a viable intervention that the governments in this region should implement to accommodate future disruptions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the major solutions cited is the need to embrace digital learning and cultivate an enabling environment. This involves; improving internet coverage, reducing internet charges, providing affordable devices to teachers, and creating systems where these devices can be bought at cheaper prices. It also highlights the importance of intentional digital training and its incorporation into the curriculum.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the procedures and system in which things were done before. Education has been on the receiving end, with learning systems in Sub-Saharan Africa disrupted. In most countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, the education sector came to a standstill, learning institutions were closed, and children were sent home (Ogunode et al., 2020). The study identified the. This happened throughout the world. However, the glaring difference was that learning continued in developed countries through digital learning while Sub-Saharan countries found great difficulties introducing digital learning. Studies down point out several challenges (Viner et al., 2020). One of the challenges cited was poor internet accessibility within countries in this region. The problem of accessibility was potentiated by two major factors: poor internet connectivity and the high cost of internet charges relative to the majority of the population. A large area of Sub-Saharan Africa lacks 3G coverage (World Economic Forum, (2020). The other major challenge highlighted was the lack of supporting infrastructure such as electricity. According to the World Economic Forum (2020), about two-thirds of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. The other challenges outlined in the studies included: unaffordability of devices, language barriers, lack of skills, cultural barriers, and poor attitudes and perceptions regarding digital learning (Adotey, 2020).
It was found that the closure of educational institutions had far-reaching economic and social effects. One of the interventions offered was the need to earmark the internet and other infrastructures as basic needs. The first step was for the government to realize that the internet had become an essential need and improve access to broadband internet in Africa. This would enable mainstreaming digital or blended learning in most learning institutions (Di Pietro et al., 2020). There were also calls to improve digital literacy by introducing these concepts into the curriculum for a very young age (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2020). The other major intervention that was highlighted in most of the studies was the need to have guidelines and systems to ensure the quality of digital learning.
Research study details:
The purpose of the study was to determine the underlying factors that contributed to the disruption of learning during the study, the value of education in Sub Saharan Africa, and the potential solutions that key stakeholders could capitalize on improving education delivery during and after the pandemic. The research questions for the study are as outlined below:
1. In your opinion, which factors led to the complete disruption of learning activities in many African countries in the Sub-Saharan region?
2. Why do we have a digitally divided Sub-Saharan Africa?
3. How important is education in Sub-Saharan Africa?
4. What are the major challenges facing the flexibility of educational systems in Africa?
5. How can the digitization of education systems be implemented in Africa?
6. How do you visualize the learning system in Sub-Saharan Africa in a post-pandemic phase?
This study is significant because very few comprehensive studies have been done on this topic despite its severe effects. The study is handy when governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are trying to introduce E-Learning due to the prolonged effects of the pandemic. The study will provide relevant and accurate insights to policymakers, institution administrators, and other key stakeholders on the viable interventions that need to be implemented to ensure that learning systems are feasible.
The study will be a survey. Data will be collected from industry experts and key stakeholders such as teachers, students, and parents. Expert opinions offered in various sources will also be analyzed. The method of data analysis to be employed is descriptive analysis.
COVID-19, Learning practices, digitization of learning, Sub-Saharan Africa, Governments, education systemAborode, A., Anifowoshe, O., Ayodele, T. I., Iretiayo, A. R., & David, O. O. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on education in sub-Saharan Africa.Adotey, S.K. (2020). What will higher education in Africa look like after COVID-19? Education Forum https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/higher-education-africa-covid19-coronavirusdigital-online/Agenda. Accessed Online (18/04/2020), From:Di Pietro, G., Biagi, F., Costa, P., Karpiński, Z., & Mazza, J. (2020). The likely impact of COVID-19 on education: Reflections based on the existing literature and recent international datasets (Vol. 30275). Publications Office of the European Union.https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/infographic-covid19-coronavirus-impactglobaleducation-health-schools/.Ogunode, N. J., Ndubuisi, A. G., & Terfa, A. C. (2021). Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Nigerian educational institutions. Electronic Research Journal of Engineering, Computer, and Applied Sciences, 3, 10-20.United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2020). Covid-19 Education Disruption and Response. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/covid-19/educationresponse Accessed on 10th June 2020.Viner, R. M., Russell, S. J., Croker, H., Packer, J., Ward, J., Stansfield, C., & Booy, R. (2020). School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 4(5), 397-404.World Economic Forum (WEF). (2020). COVID-19’s staggering impact on global education; Global