E-Learning and TV Teaching during Covid-19 ‘Leaves Behind’ the Vulnerable.
Author/Consultant: Muponda Sydney
“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
Dear reader, I am back with this column after a long break.
I hope you and family are safe against the Corona Virus. Above all else – healthy and in good spirit. Keep safe and follow official regulations.
The debate that the Articles in the previous editions stirred gives me great hope for a better Education System in Zambia. I promise to continuously respond to many facets of concern raised on education and politics, exam-oriented system versus value and innovation, and other dull areas calling for re-defining and re-thinking quality education in Zambia.
In light of recent events, as you may be aware already that the first quarter of 2020 has been characterised with incidences of gassing, mob justice, Bill 10 debate, Kwacha depreciation and COVID-19 cementing it which made it impossible for schools and other learning institutions to operate. Through this now global crisis, we have come to find ourselves in an unfortunate, unprecedented, and certainly unexpected economic turmoil due to the impact of COVID-19. The close human interactions we took for granted just two months ago have been completely turned upside down. The disruptions we were facing then have now been clouded over with new disruptions – thoughts of finances (or lack thereof), shifts in our daily routine, fear, illness, what happens to learning, will this year be skipped (since we fancy examinations at the expense of life skills and lifelong learning of values) …I could go on.
Disruptions in life aren’t new, however; that doesn’t make this time of uncertainty any easier. The good news, though, is that we do have some control over how we respond to these disruptions. There is need for leadership. And swiftly we saw the Ministry of education offer guidance and went ahead to partner with Zambia National Broadcast Corporation (ZNBC) and opened an educational channel 4 on Topstar Decoder and days later launch e-learning platform.
As the events were unfolding and looking at the Sustainable Development Goal 4 which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and running theme in the Seventh National Development Plan 2017-2021 “Leaving nobody behind”, as a people passionate about the future of this nation and understand the role education has it, its unbearable to see this great initiative exclude the majority vulnerable school going children.
From the foregoing, I ask on behalf of the vulnerable learners, should the corona virus be an excuse to leave the larger population of the Zambian people behind? Are there plans to mount television sets in rural places to allow for equal access to school educational programmes. Can traditional leadership be involved alongside local structures of the education system in distributing the donated hygienic soaps, face masks, sanitizers and buckets to our rural population? For urban and per-urban what happens for those who cannot afford the subscription cost for Topstar and worse when we go on DSTV since Television has been made a luxury no longer to be accessed as off digital space?
I leave you with these questions. Till next time we hope to exchange ideas and solutions to change the game plan and stop discrimination against rural child. I am ardent believer in the statement “No education target should be considered met unless met by all.”
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Author/Consultant: Muponda Sydney