Around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the everyday life of many and forced most people to try and resume their lives in an online setting. This means businesses, social gatherings, and events were hosted online where people can still participate, but within the safety of their homes.
Similarly, schools were conducted online in a bid to allow students to continue their education. UNESCO estimates that about one billion learners were affected at the height of the pandemic.
The move to push online schooling and homeschooling was faced with both approval and criticism. While it may be the safest way to resume classes during a pandemic, it also excludes students who don’t have access to electricity, the internet, or electronic devices.
Business Tech states that communication companies in Africa are helping establish these new systems of online education. But what is the current status of online schooling in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya? And how do they support the students’ education?
The moment it was suggested that online or distance learning is the best option to keep students safe from the pandemic, the Nigerian government took advantage of this to further enhance their online learning system. They organized e-classes to help prevent learning loss and to keep students engaged.
The pandemic offered Nigeria a way to do things differently, as the Edo state government quickly established a digital learning system that could adequately support students through virtual classrooms, study guides, interactive quizzes, and more. Of course, most universities have also adapted these online learning systems.
However, this is affecting the entrance fees of many establishments. As mentioned in our previous post, some of the top universities, like the American University of Nigeria, charge higher prices as the internet is being integrated more into the education sector – and that’s not showing any signs of stopping soon.
Uganda witnessed one of the longest school closures due to the pandemic as most schools in the country were without activities for more than 5+ months in a row.
The country-wide lockdowns disrupted learning – an added problem to an education system that is already facing so many challenges. Following this, there has been a gaping digital divide as most schools push for online learning. However, several schools are rising to the challenge and doing their best to support their students.
Some schools in Uganda also offer a wireless technology model for their students. Bridge Academy Uganda supports students with tools like slates, colored counters, workbooks, reader sets, geoboards, science kits, maps, and national exam prep materials to ensure learning continues to happen — even if they’re offline.
Bridge offers a way to combine offline and online approaches with various applications for both students and teachers. Perhaps in the future, schooling can be elevated into hybrid arrangements for all students in Uganda.
Kenya reported over 15 million learners were affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to forced distance learning, schools in Kenya found ways to embrace online learning, educational platforms, and other technologies.
However, much like in other countries, this movement caused a divide between those who have access to the internet and those who do not since unlike many western countries, only around 80% of Kenyans have access to an internet connection.
The ministry of education quickly sought to amend this by making standardized activities so no one got left behind. Schools such as Dawati maximized their online learning platforms for students to access lessons and have teacher support.
Moreover, it strives to create equal access to disadvantaged groups like girls and students in rural areas. Other schools have created their approaches to bridge the gap among all students as well, using standardized videos, e-books, and revision materials.