This resource page was created to help higher education institutions plan for possible campus disruption by COVID-19, or Coronavirus 19—a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.
The Association of African Universities (AAU) has observed with growing concern developments related to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The life-threatening nature and rapid transmission of this disease has been felt globally – its significant impact on the global education systems is also being felt, especially in African countries. Numerous African higher education institutions (HEIs) and other educational institutions have been ordered to close in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. UNESCO (2020) monitoring estimates that 776.7 million children and youth worldwide will be obstructed by the closure of schools resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below is a statement from the AAU Secretary General pertaining to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
Appeal to African Governments to support African Higher Education Institutions and to use this COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to strengthen our educational institutions by making them much more resilient to unforeseen crises. Below is the letter sent to African Ministries of Education in 4 languages:
- Arabic Version of the letter to Ministries of Education
- English Version of the letter to Ministries of Education
- French Version of the letter to Ministries of Education
- Portuguese Version of the letter to Ministries of Education
For further information concerning the source and spread of the disease:
- World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- African Union: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Centers for Disease Control: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Below are resources that could be useful for African Higher Education Institutions as they grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Commonwealth of Learning various Resources and Tools on the COVID-19 crisis: https://www.col.org/news/press-releases/keeping-doors-learning-open-covid-19
- Free access to the scientific literature on COVID-19: https://pages.semanticscholar.org/coronavirus-research
- EDUCAUSE Resource Web Page on COVID-19: https://library.educause.edu/topics/information-technology-management-and-leadership/covid19
- The Chinese Experience in Maintaining Undisrupted Learning in COVID-19 Outbreak: https://iite.unesco.org/news/handbook-on-facilitating-flexible-learning-during-educational-disruption/
The AAU is also pleased to note various initiatives by African Universities to actively participate in high-end research towards finding a cure for COVID-19. We applaud them for their efforts to safeguard the populace.
- The African Centre of Excellence for the Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID) at Redeemer’s University, Ede, Nigeria that is leading the way in fighting COVID-19 in Africa (Read More Here)
Alternative Educational Delivery Methods
In case of disruptive events that prevent students and staff from meeting face-to-face, learning institutions are developing alternative teaching continuity plans to move their classrooms online.
Below are recommended short-term measures that African Universities are being advised to consider:
- Use Zoom, Google Classroom, etc. for meetings and online classes
- Devise options for students that cannot connect – e.g. recording the sessions and sending them to those students via WhatsApp or email
- Review learning activities in line with online / distance delivery: e.g. assess what activities are most feasible for remote learners.
- There is a plethora of courses online. Incorporate existing online content that matches the universities’ requirements – e.g. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), COUSERA courses
- Incorporate Cloud Hosting Services to eliminate the challenges associated with campus-hosted services that are affected by power outages or internet outages. Examples are IBM Cloud, Microsoft Cloud, VMWARE Cloud, etc
- Communicate as much as possible to the university stakeholders – students, staff, partners and communities. The universities’ websites & social media must be alive and vibrant with updates concerning teaching/learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
- The AAU and Regional Research & Education Networks to facilitate negotiations with Telcos for the zero-rating of educational websites. Coordination with National Research and Education Networks is also key as African universities move to implement medium and long-term interventions
- Coordination teams must be established to handle crisis communication, students’ queries and implementation of the short, medium and long-term interventions
Offers by the private sector and other players to assist African Universities transform their delivery methods