Afropolitan Portal

COVID-19 and school closures

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools, universities and colleges.

As of 21 April 2020, approximately 1.723 billion learners have been affected due to school closures in response to the pandemic. According to UNESCO monitoring, 191 countries have implemented nationwide closures and 5 have implemented local closures, impacting about 98.4 percent of the world’s student population.

Photo Credit : Daily Maverick

School closures impact not only students, teachers, and families, but have far-reaching economic and societal consequences. School closures in response to COVID-19 have shed light on various social and economic issues, including student debt, digital learning, food insecurity, and homelessness, as well as access to childcare, health care, housing, internet, and disability services. The impact was more severe for disadvantaged children and their families, causing interrupted learning, compromised nutrition, childcare problems, and consequent economic cost to families who could not work.

In most African countries, a lot of students lack the connections or hardware to learn remotely. More nations will confront the same reality if the outbreak continues to spread.

The epidemic’s disparate impact on rich and poor, city and country, is a reality that more of the rest of the world is fast beginning to confront. More than 770 million learners worldwide are now being affected by school and university closures, according to the United Nations.

In Africa, many parents cannot afford to buy multiple devices for themselves and their children. Additionally, data prices are quite high and a luxury for most homes.

In response to school closures, UNESCO recommended the use of distance learning programmes and open educational applications and platforms that schools and teachers can use to reach learners remotely and limit the disruption of education.

What role can you play in meeting the educational divide caused by social and economic differences in Africa?

Source : New York Times/Wikipedia

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