Edtech providing access to remote learning across the continent

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5 EdTech companies in Africa striving to improve education across the continent
Image credit: BRCK

Edtech is now providing essential remote learning opportunities for students across Africa, while schools are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In support of this work, the World Bank has shared a range of emerging approaches, by country;

EGYPT

The Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE) announced steps to implement distance learning and assessment during school suspension that began on March 15.

MOETE extended the access to the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB) to students, providing content by grade level and subject (kindergarten through secondary education). Content is available in both Arabic and English to all students, parents and teachers (does not username/password). This site features multimedia (videos, images, d​ocumentary films) to help explain the various lessons, and numerous full text books, including dictionaries. The EKB can be accessed by mobile phone or computer. ​

A digital platform offers a communication channel between students and teachers to enable approximately 22 million students distributed over nearly 55,000 schools to communicate with teachers “as if they were present in the school”, explaining lessons, answering student questions, and taking exams online. Videos explaining how to do this are being developed. Students will receive a code from their teachers to enter a virtual class to continue electronically.

On March 19, Egypt announced it had contracted with the online learning provider Edmodo to deliver remote instruction to the country’s entire K-12 student body.

There is an arrangement with the Ministry of Communication and IT and mobile carriers to make available SIM cards at no cost to students if they have a device.

Assessment: For students at KG1-2 and grades 1-2, MOETE requires parents to make sure students complete the curriculum published on the electronic library and the platform. For grades 3-7 (transition years), exams will not be conducted for students at the end of the current school year.​ Instead, a research project for each subject will be completed on the electronic platform. For grades 10-11, students will take computer-based pilot tests from home using supplied tablets. The pilot test will be conducted (without grades) for grade 11 as a final rehearsal to prepare students for the year-end exam. Tests will not be corrected but will offer students the correct answer to self-adjust. The grade 10 and 11 final exam will be computer-based from home.

Egyptian students abroad will use the electronic platform and digital library. Examinations will not be taken.

​KENYA

​The Ministry of Education has designed online learning programs and resources. Materials and programs will also be delivered using radio, television, YouTube and other platforms. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) will broadcast radio programs daily from Monday to Friday. Other broadcast platforms include the Edu Channel TV and EduTv YouTube channel overseen by the Kenya Institute for Curriculm Development (KICD). Learners can also access digital learning resources from the Kenya Education Cloud overseen by KICD.

LIBERIA

Orange Liberia announced that it is granting free access to online educational content to students and teachers while all schools and universities are closed via website called Orange Campus Africa. Orange customers who don’t have data will still be able to visit the web site and enjoy educational materials provided, and those who have data can also visit the website and none of their data balance will be consumed while they browse, read or study from the site.​ The web site includes a host of resource partners including Khan Academy. Other content providers include Wikibooks, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia. While each of these providers has a range of content for all ages, there is also specific content for younger children, including Vikidia which caters to children between the ages of 8 – 1. Project Gutenberg, a volunteer based effort to digitize and archive cultural works, is one of the sites included in the program.

​​Liberia began an educational radio program on March 27.

LIBYA​​

The education ministry struck a deal with local television stations to broadcast “compulsory” lessons for middle and secondary schoolchildren.

MOROCCO

​​The government has decided that learning will happen online. The government put together some content in order to help students with their remote learning. Key resources include a digital learning content repository (in Arabic and French) for primary, secondary and baccalaureate levels, as well as other materials.

The national channel 4 is broadcasting educational classes.

A MOOC platform (mainly in French) serves university level learners. They have uploaded a content repository from universities of Morocco.

​​​​​​SOUTH AFRICA​

Telkom ZA has zero rated education websites to provide cost free access to learners​. ​​​

TUNISIA

The Tunisia-based Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) launched an e-learning initiative on March 12 that aims to ensure the continuity of learning and teaching during the coronavirus pandemic. ALECSO has prepared a dedicated website aggregating a list of freely accessible Arab educational resources, websites, platforms and applications for use by students and teachers, in collaboration with partners and experts in the field of educational technology. ​Ten North African and 12 Arab countries are to benefit from​ this initiative.

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