A Pandemic and a Paradigm Shift: Covid-19 and the New Realities of African Universities

A Pandemic and a Paradigm Shift:

Covid-19 and the New Realities of African Universities

Since the first human case of COVID-19 was reported in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019, the world has experienced unprecedented changes in almost everything that involves life and living. According to the WHO, the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus which was subsequently named SARS-CoV-2 (WHO, 2020). This disease comes with mild to moderate respiratory illness with a global recovery rate of approximately 80.69% (Statista, 2021). However, older people and those with underlying comorbid medical conditions stand the risk of a more serious illness and death. SARS-CoV-2 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 (Cucinotta & Vanelli, 2020).

Adjusting to the new normal, caused by the global pandemic, has been one of the most outstanding surprises of the new decade. Worthy of these lifestyle vagaries are hygiene changes such as constant washing of hands, respiratory etiquettes such as coughing into flexed elbows, and other COVID-19 prevention protocols like observing social distancing and adhering to lockdown policies (WHO, 2021). In addition to these is the paradigm shift that has occurred in the world in terms of how technology has been leveraged in cushioning the effect of the pandemic. Although these technological transformations are present everywhere, they are predominantly harnessed in the health and education sectors.

With specific focus on the higher education sector, universities have influenced and have been influenced by COVID-19 in two major ways. One, the closure of educational institutions, as a result of the lockdown, has pushed many universities across the world to adopt online learning and set the tone for the espousal of online processes across various sectors. Two, the active involvement of academics, researchers and even students in the process of developing vaccines for the virus, treating patients, and developing tech ideas (THE, 2020). The efficacy of the pandemic and its effect on universities in various countries have shown the strength of national systems through an unplanned simulation of the realities in the larger society.

 

In Africa, for example, the effect of the pandemic on many universities has been rather adverse. Although the continent with the lowest COVID-19 cases in the world (Chitungo et al, 2020), Africa’s weak national structures, fragile health systems, and grossly underfunded public institutions (Sawyerr, 2004) have done a great disservice to the continent. As miniature African societies, African universities’ inability to contribute to the unprecedented changes has left it vulnerable and at the receiving end of the effects of the pandemic. Many universities were shut for several months at the confirmation of first national cases, and without alternative learning opportunities. With many students struggling to continue their education and lecturers becoming redundant and, in some cases, unpaid, the effects are dire.

Globally, it is argued that the pandemic has ushered in a new world built on technology and driven by new social realities (WHO, 2021). However, these new realities are divergent based on existing social structures, economic capabilities, and the efforts of stakeholders. In the case of African universities, this new reality can be best described as one characterised by a struggle. A struggle to conform to either the status-quo, adopt foreign developed solutions, or to emerge through ingenuity and transformation. The result, only time will tell.

References:

Chitungo, I., Dzobo, M., Hlongwa, M., & Dzinamarira, T. (2020). COVID-19: Unpacking the low number of cases in Africa. Public Health in Practice, 1, 100038. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhip.2020.100038

Cucinotta, D., & Vanelli, M. (2020). WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic. Acta Bio-Medica: Atenei Parmensis, 91(1), 157–160. https://doi.org/10.23750/abm.v91i1.9397

Sawyerr, A. (2004). African Universities and the Challenge of Research Capacity Development. Journal of Higher Education in Africa / Revue De L’enseignement Supérieur En Afrique, 2(1), 213-242. Retrieved April 5, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24486132

Times Higher Education (THE, 2020). The Impact of Coronavirus on Higher Education https://www.timeshighereducation.com/hub/keystone-academic-solutions/p/impact-coronavirus-higher-education. Assessed on 5th April 2021

WHO (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 94. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200423-sitrep-94-covid-19.pdf. Assessed on 5th April 2021

WHO (2021). WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/who-convened-global-study-of-origins-of-sars-cov-2-china-part. Assessed on 5th April 2021

 

7 thoughts on “A Pandemic and a Paradigm Shift: Covid-19 and the New Realities of African Universities”

  1. An expository article that posses the great question. A question the policy makers and citizens must answer sooner or later.

  2. Takipçi Satın almanın faydaları nelerdir
    Kişiler ile uğraşmaktan ise en etkili kuşkusuz ki takipçi satın almaktır.
    Fakat itimat edilir olmayan, mağduriyet yaşacağınızın kaçınılmaz olacağı sitelerinden uzak durun. Takip2018 size en kaliteli takipçi paketlerini
    buluşturuyor, Unutmayınız ki kalite konusunda Türkiye’nin #1 Numarasıyız

    Dilediğiniz Kadar Türk takipçi Organik Takipçi paketleri

    Bir Gecede kaybolmayan takipçiler

    Uygun fiyatlandırmalar, Üstelik Tüm Hizmetler Şifresizdir.

    İlk Olarak Gönderileriniz de Etkili olduğunuzu gösterin

    Uzaktan baktığımız zaman aslında bir resim
    paylaşımı bir çok videoya bedel olsa da (
    Bakışınız önemli ) Biraz da ironi yapalım 🙂

    Bu noktada profilinizde paylaşacağınız postlar amacıyla bir
    plan hazırlamayı düşünüyorsanız, Lütfen Yöneticilerimiz ile iletişime geçiniz.

    2. Biyografi Alanınızı Etkin Bir Şekilde Kullanın
    Instagram da genel de kişiler profilinize ilk baktığında biyografinizi kontrol edeceklerdir, Biyografinizi sürekli güncel tutun ilgi çekici paylaşımlar
    ekleyin göz boyamak önemlidir:)

    3. Bireysel Ya da Kurumsal Farkınızı Gösterin
    Var olmayan her vakit satmıştır. İlginç fikirlerin bezendiği ilgi çekici paylaşımlar, hedeflediğiniz
    kitlenizin harekete geçmesine yardımcı olabilir.
    Bu amaçla içerik stratejilerinde kullananlara
    daha evvelce görmediklerini sunmaya çalışın. Hali hazırda yapılanlara bakın ve yoğun olarak oluşturulanları es
    geçin. Paylaşımlarınızda komik, ironik hem de dramatik bile olun fakat
    sıkıcı olmayın.

    4. Sürekli Aktif Olmalısınız
    Doğrudan iletişime geçtiğiniz takip kitlesi,
    kendini özel hisseder. İster bireysel ister kurumsal mutlaka video
    paylaşımları yapınız, Canlı yayın açın kişilerin size yorum yapmasını sağlayın Bu Sayede Takipçilerinizin beğenileri kazanmaya çalışmanızı tavsiye ediyoruz.

    5. Markalar ile uyuşma ve gelir dayanıklıa:
    Bir niş amacıyladeki daha büyük markalar dayanıklı bir avantaja sahip olabilir ve tanınmış instagram hesaplarına sponsorluk
    verirler, tanıtım yaparlar. Günümüzde ciddi anlamda bu
    yolu izleyen yapımcılar bulunmakta. Dolayısı ile
    para kazanma ihtimaliniz artar. Güven oluşturma: Markalar amacıyla sosyal medya da ki mühim etken kullanıcılar amacıyla itimat oluşturmaktır.
    Ciddi sayıda aboneler ve zevkler bu işi kolaylaştırır.
    İmajınız güçlenir ve ilgi çekersiniz. Dolayısı
    ile sıksık genişleyen bir kitleye sahip olabilirsiniz.

  3. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell
    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off
    topic but I had to tell someone!

  4. First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself
    and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my mind in getting
    my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just
    seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just
    trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Thank you!

  5. Right here is the perfect site for anybody who hopes to understand this topic.
    You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic which has been written about
    for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!

  6. Howdy are using WordPress for your blog platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any coding expertise to
    make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *