Some encouraging news in this difficult time comes from the World Bank, highlighting how distance learning is being rolled out in a number of African countries during the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns.
Highlights include steps to implement distance learning and assessment in Egypt via access to the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, providing content by grade level and subject. There's also a digital platform that offers a communication channel between students and teachers to enable approximately 22 million students distributed over nearly 55,000 schools to communicate with teachers.
A contract with the online learning provider Edmodo and free SIM cards to students are also part of Egypt’s remote learning initiatives.
In Kenya the ministry of education has designed online learning programmes and resources. Materials and programmes will also be delivered using radio, television, YouTube and other platforms. Meanwhile, Orange Liberia has announced that it is granting free access to online educational content to students and teachers while all schools and universities are closed via a website called Orange Campus Africa.
In Libya local television stations will be broadcasting lessons for middle and secondary schoolchildren, while Morocco has put together content in order to help students with their remote learning, and, in South Africa, leading operator Telkom has zero-rated education websites to provide cost-free access to learners.
Finally, at least for now, the Tunisia-based Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) has launched an e-learning initiative.
The World Bank says it is actively working with ministries of education in dozens of countries to support their efforts to utilize educational technologies of all sorts to provide remote learning opportunities for students, and is in active dialogue with dozens more.
It is also cataloguing emerging approaches, by country, in an internal database.