Within a few months a lot of things changed all over the world. Schools are closed, movements have been restricted, physical interaction reduced; trends changed swiftly, entertaining events postponed, the most priced goods now are nose/face mask and hand sanitizers and many of the busiest city of the world have been locked down. COVID-19 has shown us that in just little time, so much can be change. But how prepared are nations for such change. How prepared is Africa? How prepared is her educational sector?
We will agree to the fact that we need swift and lasting solution to this global pandemic and while the world takes some time to “chill out” during the lockdown, it is important to note that millions of students would be affected. As we have seen in the last couple of months, education is beyond schooling and definitely not restricted by the physical structure in which students learn. With schools shut down while studies as well as assessments have been moved online, it shows that, even in the face of a global pandemic, when proper planning meets preparation, success can still be achieved.
IE University extends delivery of online classes to confront the spread of COVID-19What has happened in many countries of the world shows a high level of preparedness as they were quick to make adjustment even in the face of this unforeseen circumstances. On the other hand, many African countries have had to CLOSE DOWN schools “until further notice”, maybe because they don’t have an alternative platform to switch to or maybe not. A number of African universities do not have school domain mails for their students with no proper student database except for those in the paper files. So, it is near difficult to connect with their students online.
Even when there was no such thing as COVID-19, how many African schools/universities have the capacity to switch from in-person to online access within the twinkle of an eye, how many institutions can afford to let their staffs work from home when we still find it hard to have normal video projection classes from distant location. So if the lecturer travels to another location, class can’t hold till he is back. Some will argue that they are not techy savvy, but you don’t need to be techy to hold online classes. What percentage of the population can actually utilize online collaborations for the sake of work and study? This is important questions that must be answered.
Africa may be slow to change, but we shouldn’t be slow to our learning and development process. It is said not bad to copy, but to “copy the right cat”. We copied rightly by closing down institutions for prevention sake, but where is our plan B? Our Universities do not even know that there are platforms like SIMA Classroom that can help institutions plan lessons and create online classes; easy to reach firms like EDVANT EDGE AFRICA that aims at promoting innovative channels for transforming higher education system in Africa and providing advancement support for institutions.
Africa is Lucky she is the least affected continent with the lowest number of confirmed case of COVID-19 infection; but the time to take action is now. Education in Africa has to develop beyond face to face interaction.