Estimates show that the COVID-19 pandemic could last up to 2021 – and historical experiences with other pandemics like the 1918 influenza or SARS support this estimate.
With the high rate of human capital deficit (lack of adequate high-skilled labour) in Africa, it is detrimental for African nations to let her children stay out-of-school for over 1 year due to the stay-at-home guidelines for controlling the spread of COVID-19.
While the stay-at-home guideline creates a temporary out-of-school problem for our Primary and Secondary school children; there is a risk of permanently increasing the number of out-of-school children in the region – as some children (especially older and poorer children) will be lured into the labour market to support their families.
Also, public schools have been an important point where our governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals provide supporting school services like school meals, sanitary pads, and immunization. With school closure, many children will be denied these things for as long as the stay-at-home guideline lasts.
While we must not expose our children to the virus, learning and supporting school services must not cease -- there must be something we can do as a continent.
Today we have invited an education expert – Adedeji Adeniran (PhD). He is the Director of Education and Governance Research at the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) to share some insights on how to practically address this.
Adedeji answers these key questions:
1. We know that learning must not cease especially for vulnerable groups during this time, what measures have been implemented so far in African countries to ensure that children continue education?
2. How effective have these measures been, and what has been the associated problems?
3. You recently developed an approach detailing how education can continue in African countries in the midst of COVID-19, can you run us through this idea?
4. How can African governments set up this new education approach? What is required?
5. How can communities and civil society support this approach to ensure success?
Watch full videocast here: How to safely reopen schools
Read more of Adedeji’s thoughts: Brookings