Distance education in the context of COVID-19: accomplishments and perspectives in sub-Saharan Africa

Author(s): Gil Alcazar, Mireia; Nkengne, Patrick; Lethuillier, Ghyslaine

Organisation(s): UNESCO IIEP Dakar. Africa Office

Publisher(s): UNESCO IIEP Dakar. Africa Office

Date: 2020

Pages: 12 p.


In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, education officials at the ministerial level have had to reorganize and find alternatives to the in-person model to ensure continuity in education. As much as a month went by without students receiving any form of education. This first observation should lead systems to be better prepared in the future to reduce their response times, bearing in mind that similar outcomes might stem from different causes: epidemics, flooding, etc. The objective of this note is to examine concrete measures put in place in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to ensure educational continuity. It also analyses the challenges that have arisen when it comes to maintaining quality education for all students, in order to reflect on other solutions for the future and to consider how actions could be improved. The note first analyses the different media chosen by countries, and their limits. Second, it identifies the students most likely to benefit from distance education programmes, who may be too few in number. The third section provides an overview of the attention paid to the quality and use of available content. The fourth section addresses the issue of funding for distance education initiatives. The note concludes by identifying a few avenues for improving distance education, based on promising initiatives.

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