Member States to reflect on Open and Distance Learning in Southern Africa

The SADC Secretariat and UNESCO will convene a Member States Consultation Webinar on Open and Distance Learning in Southern Africa on 3 November 2020.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, resulted in the closure of education institutions affecting an estimated 1.6 billion learners across all continents. Some of the anticipated challenges associated with school closures include falling behind in curriculum learning, a rise in the number of children and youth dropping out of learning institutions, a rise in teenage pregnancies, and increased risk for women and girls as they are more vulnerable to multiple types of abuse. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) approaches have shown their importance in sustaining learning continuity during periods of national lockdown. In this context, the SADC Secretariat and UNESCO commissioned research into the state of ODL in SADC Member States, resulting in a baseline report that provides an overview of the status of ODL in the region.

The SADC Secretariat and UNESCO are committed to supporting the learning continuity strategies of Member States through a #LearningNeverStops campaign.

This involves mobilizing resources, implementing context-appropriate remote learning and ODL strategies, and leveraging hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches. It is therefore important to establish a shared understanding of the status of ODL among SADC Member States. From this, Member States could explore how they could support each other by sharing their good practices and exploring possible areas of regional cooperation.

The consultation webinar will thus see Member States discuss the findings of the research on the status of ODL in SADC Member States, share good practices of ODL in times of COVID-19 and discuss the SADC ODL Implementation Framework in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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