N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Well, greetings, everybody. I say greetings because we are in different time zones. It is late afternoon in Nairobi, in Cairo. It's the middle of the afternoon in both South Africa and Nigeria, for our panelists.
My name is N'Dri Assié-Lumumba, Director of the Institute for African Development. It is my utmost pleasure to welcome you to this first webinar for the new academic year. We had one a couple of months ago with Professor [? Ndulo. ?] And this is a new one.
We have been wondering what's happening in Africa. We have all sorts of information. There were predictions, when this pandemic started-- well, when it was declared a pandemic, there were some sort of doom that was predicted on the African continent. Of course, it has not been spared, but happily, so far, we have not seen the scenario that we're imagining.
But still, we cannot say that we are out of the wood, so to speak. But we need to know where things are. Of course, it will be really important to know what is going on across the entire continent. But Africa is a big continent. And we have 54 countries. It would be difficult to have all of them. Even when you go to the African Union, not everybody speaks because of the number of potential speakers.
So what was decided was to focus on a few countries so that in the two hours we have we can have some broad information, and also focused information on what is gone-- going on in the different countries. So I would like to start by introducing our four great panelists. We tried to cover the continent. The effort we made gave some good results.
So I will start by presenting Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, who is the Commissioner of Education of Lagos State in Nigeria. She's also the Principal Consultant CEO of Leading Learning Limited, an educational consultancy incorporated in 2014. Madame Adefisayo has consulted for public and private schools, state governments, NGOs, and development partners. Her areas of professional focus include teacher training, leadership training, school set up, and schools transformation.
I had the honor of participating on another webinar recently with Mrs. Adefisayo So welcome.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: And Professor Kabiru Kinyanjui is an international development consultant and former Chancellor of Chuka University in Kenya. He served as Chairman of the Kenya Public Universities Inspection Board, which was instrumental in the preparation of policy report to guide the transformation of higher education in the country. Professor Kinyanjui recently coordinated studies on [INAUDIBLE] 3 of the 2008 biennial of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, ADEA, on the development of knowledge workers in Africa.
I have been honored to work with Professor Kinyanjui for some time. He's a reference throughout the African continent and beyond.
Professor Malak Zaalouk is a Professor of Practice and the Director of Graduate School of Education, GSE, Middle Eastern Institute of Higher Education. She previously served as a UNICEF Regional Senior Education Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa, MENA. Professor Zaalouk led the founding of Egyptian community schools and has promoted girls' education and quality education reform, and has been a noted global leader on issues of human rights and gender equity. And she teaches at the American University in Cairo. A dear colleague, as well, organizer-- very great conference on African development last December which I had the opportunity of attending. So thank you for joining us.
Professor Moeketsi Letseka is the holder of the UNESCO Chair on Open and Distance Learning at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. He is a Professor of Philosophy of Education and Editor-in-Chief of Africa Education Review. Professor Letseka--
Professor Letseka is also the Chairperson of the Finance Standing Committee of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies and a member of the Council Da Vinci of Technology Management, Modderfontein, Lethabong, Johannesburg, in South Africa.
So these are the panelists who are going to enlighten us on the issues, fundamental questions, and also realities that, in their respective countries and subregion of the continent, they are aware of, they are going through. And so without any further ado, I would like to invite Mrs. Adefisayo to start.
Each panelist has 10 minutes, maximum 15, because we would like to have the opportunity for our participants to ask questions, for you to elaborate on things that you touch on on your presentation. So we're going to give 10 minutes, 15 maximum. So Mrs. Adefisayo, we will start with you.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: Thank you very much. Good-- well, good day, everybody. [INAUDIBLE] different time zones. Thank you for inviting me to this very important webinar. I have been given some discussion points, and I would like to focus on them.
First, let me introduce you to Lagos, State of Nigeria. It's the smallest state geographically, accounted for less than 0.4% of the land area of the country, but accounting for 20% of the population. So you can imagine the stress on population, the stress on facilities, the stress on social services and so on in the state. It is the most popular state in the country. And you can imagine the impact on us as migration-- we've studied migration statistics and found that 80 people come into Lagos every hour.
Now, having said that, the COVID-- we were the epicenter of the COVID in Nigeria. This was where some of the worst cases were. This was where the first case-- oh, OK. I'm sorry. This was where the first case was found in Nigeria. I'm sorry, it was-- the first case was actually in Ogun State, which is next door.
And but we have the facilities in Lagos State, because our governor was very proactive. Once we knew that there was a possibility that this pandemic would get to us, he had already set up a command center. And we had isolation centers. And also, when the first case presented itself in Nigeria, the person actually was in the state beside us. He had come in from the UK-- from Italy or somewhere. And immediately, we swung into action and got the fellow into Lagos State's hospital.
And eventually, we became the epicenter, with some of the highest figures in Nigeria, but never, ever large. I don't want to call the figures, because I don't have them off head. But I do know that in the past month or so we have noticed that it has peaked and it's slowly declining. So every day, the numbers presented are reducing. And this, of course, has affected many of our policies.
What we had to do was, we locked down our schools. And in locking down the schools, this was very hard on private schools, especially. Lagos State is peculiar in that there are more children in private school than there are in public schools. It's reckoned that there are 60% to 70%-- that 60% to 70% of our children are actually in private schools.
So the lockdown was very tough for them, for private schools, because then they couldn't collect school fees anymore. Many schools-- a number of schools tried to do online teaching. But again, this was at considerable cost to parents, because parents were very upset about the data they had to use, the time they had to spend with their children. I'm sure all of us know what the issues have been with parents staying at home and working through a school day with their children online.
But in our public schools, we were Now, the demographic in our schools are such that the children do not come from homes where they have access to devices with which they can log onto the internet and enjoy online classes. Also, frankly, we had not invested sufficiently in technology. And so even if we wanted to, we just didn't have the solutions.
So we, too, had to swing into action very quickly. And while this age was a terrible thing-- and it was. The loss of life is unconscionable, and it was really a fearful and fearsome time-- but I'm happy that at least, out of it, we had no choice but to invest significantly in educating the vast majority of children, who are at home and were not learning.
Now, remember I said there are more children in private schools. But the majority of the private schools are actually low-cost private schools where the children also come from the same demographic as the children in public schools. And so they-- their access to learning just went from, maybe, 100% to 0%. Now, what would we do?
Initially, we started off with radio and television. We got some radio stations to offer us free time, because the cost prohibitive of broadcasting every day on private radio stations. So we had to-- we entered into these relationships. And our teachers started teaching online.
This, of course, had its own challenges. Teachers were not used to this new method, this new milieu. They were used to calling a student in class-- please answer the question. Have you done your homework? And they lost that personal contact with students entirely. So we had to do a lot of training of our teachers.
In the meantime, too, we tried to find out how many children were actually using radios. And to our deep shock, we found that about 25% of the children couldn't access radio sets, either. Don't even talk about television. So again, we entered-- we started raising funds to buy radios. This was done with the help of the public, and were able to get radios to the children in underserved-- the poorest communities in the state.
Now, we knew that radio was not the ultimate. We all know that. We describe it-- the way we describe it in my dialect is something that you talk to that does not reply you. So that means that we didn't know whether children were actually learning or not, whether that they were doing homework, whether this was just sheer entertainment for them.
And so we tried to collect as much data as possible and found that the television-- people were actually listening. They were also listening to the television. And some of them, who had access, were going onto YouTube, but not enough. And we felt that we could reach them through another medium. And that was through the internet.
We entered into a relationship with another organization and got devices. A bank actually set up a $1 million match for us to raise money to buy devices for children who couldn't afford it. And so we were able to get devices. We were able to get online content. Our teachers were able to teach and were able to give children across the state.
They've been home for weeks now, and in the-- in collecting data on the COVID pandemic, we have not had any case of any child dying in Nigeria. And in fact, most children who present-- and that's been very rare-- they've been generally asymptomatic. So we had a lot of meetings, again, full of trepidation and concern. And as a country, because we are parts of the-- we're just a subnational.
So talking to other commissioners and the Federal Minister for Education, we agreed to open to the exam classes, the terminal classes, so they could sit for the exams. And we could then judge and use it as a test case to see how the pandemic would react when children were going back and forth to school, when some were in boarding school. And that started two weeks ago. In fact, this is the third week.
And there's been no effect on the numbers. The numbers keep declining. And it hasn't caused a spike like it has in some countries. But remember, it's just the terminal classes that are back. But it's been a test case. And we are now looking forward to opening school to all the other children in the state.
But one thing we are clear about-- even when we open schools, not all the children are going to come to school every day. Not all the children are going to-- we can't have school hours as long as they used to be because of the need to clean up school after every-- at the close of business every day and disinfect again and fumigate, if possible.
And so what we have agreed is that we are going to have what are called the Integrated Lagos State Learning Ecosystem, which is a blended system with some of the-- blending the physical school with the radio and TV programs, which will continue, as well as a digital school which is online. And luckily, we had the whole lockdown period to be able to pilot the radio and TV programs and the digital school online, the mobile devices. But we are taking a step further. We don't want to rely on the largesse of private primary school providers, so we are starting up our own radio station.
We are actually in the process of organizing for that. And I'm happy that there's a colleague from Kenya here. I was in Kenya about two years ago, and I visited the TV station in Nairobi. So I'm excited about-- ah, you just said hi. Hi. So that showed me that it's possible. It's doable. And it can be very successful. So thank you for showing us the way in that respect.
And so we are going to-- [INAUDIBLE], I want to talk about the long-term consequences. The short-term consequences are we are almost certain that we are going to have a loss of-- a lot of children are not going to come back, some because they've started working. On the streets we see them hawking, selling things. And somehow, people started work. They've gone to apprentice themselves to craftsmen and so on.
And while they have started-- we haven't opened school to everybody, we are quite concerned about the possibility of the out-of-school children increasing. I know you know-- I hope you know that our numbers in Nigeria are quite high. And we are very worried that this is going to lead to even more out-of-school children.
And the long-term consequences are clear. They've been to school partially. They have no qualifications with which they can get good enough jobs. So they are going to end up being menial workers. And that has long-term economic consequences for the country.
The long-term consequences can be immense. And then, again, many children have been at home. And we are worried about their mental state, because they must be depressed. They must be bored. They must be fed up of it all. And, of course, there's going to be significant learning slide, because no matter what we've done, we do know that there are still some students who never, ever had access, who never went to a radio, who never went on the internet.
So I think these are the major problems that we foresee. And we need to start to develop strategies to manage this situation. Especially for us, that's why the radio and TV is especially important. We want to use it to also reach out-of-school children. And we are trying to work with communities and neighborhoods and NGOs so that we reach these children.
And as for the mental state, we've entered the Nigerian-- we have a society for mental health in schools. And they've come up with protocols. In fact, tomorrow we are going to meet to discuss the protocols so that we teach every teacher about their expectations. When the students come back, some have-- would have gone through some really frightening experience-- loss of parent, loss of livelihood, loss of home, and the sheer boredom of it all. So how do we help their mental and emotional states?
So these are some of the mitigating factors. We know the negative effects. And we don't-- there are studies to show that this learning slide will affect whole generations. And I think so, too. But it's for us to now not just sit and wallow in despair, but look at what strategies we can actually implement so that we reduce the long-term impact of this.
And also learning slide, we are ready to-- that's why we are going to have this interconnected, integrated learning system, so that we support us in all sorts of ways. When they come back, we'll do a baseline assessment. And once we see those who have actually slid considerably, we'll do some work. We'll do some work.
We are also beefing up our learning support, looking into our curriculum so that our curriculum will not just integrate the learning, but the curriculum will also support children who have-- whose learning has slid during this period. So it's affected virtually everything that we are doing-- funding, curriculum development, classroom development, classroom furniture and all-- just to get the schools to a level where they can again attract children.
I think my time is almost up. I could go on and on. But thank you very much for listening to me.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you so much. Thank you. So if you have questions for Mrs. Adefisayo, either post them in the Q&A, and we will address them later.
So let us move to Professor Kinyanjui from Kenya. Professor?
KABIRU KINYANJUI: Thank you very much. And thank you for the invitation. It's my joy to be-- able to join this web seminar and to share platforms with the distinguished [INAUDIBLE] and practitioners.
I have three preliminary observations to make. The first one-- when COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally has disorganized and disrupted the education processes. And in my country, and in Africa in general, it has also revealed major weakness in the education. It has indicated that the [INAUDIBLE] of the education process which we need to address.
Last [INAUDIBLE] talking to a student, he said to me, we-- when we were told to wash our hands we discovered we had no running water. When asked to keep social distance, we found that we had no space, as school land had been grabbed. When told to-- we could learn online, we discovered we did not have gadgets-- no internet or electricity connections. And we could not afford the cost involved. This is a rural student who was sharing happenstance with me.
The second thing which we have to understand-- that educators and policy makers have to embrace technology and innovation. This is the way forward if we want to be able to deliver learning, teaching, and even assessment online. And also, we have to embrace the challenge of ensuring that my observation to deal with the disruption and the prevailing uncertainty. In our country, on the continent-- a paradigm shift in practice of education is required.
Now, Kenya, which I'll be talking a little bit more, has had major gains in education in terms of [INAUDIBLE], even in terms of the parity, gender parity. If you look at the lower levels, we have achieved gender parity. It is more on the higher levels where the inequalities, gender inequality is much more pronounced.
We have also recently rolled out a competency-based curriculum. And we have also, as a policy, indicated that we can-- all the students who are finishing primary education could move to secondary education. These are gains which were made. And with-- now, with the closure of the schools, there's [INAUDIBLE] which is [INAUDIBLE]. This element, these gains could be lost.
Let us look at, closely, the extent and the magnitude of the challenge-- education challenge we are facing. First, we have 18 million pupils and students engaged in education sector in the country. And we have 300 teachers teaching and supportive staff at all levels of the education system.
If you are service providers-- transporters, people who provide food, and others-- and then you will add, on top of it, the parents and the guardians, you will see that we have a large population who are engaged in education. And the impact is quite substantial. I was speculating that 38% of the Kenyan population, which is [INAUDIBLE], are engaged in education either as learners or supporters of the learners. So this is a major impact which we do have when we [INAUDIBLE] the students.
We also-- it's affecting, at least this year, about 20 million-- 2 million, not 20-- 2 million candidates who were supposed to sit for national examinations at primary and secondary, and also college and university examination. So when we look at the extent of the problem, we also see that the institutions which we are to operate with we have widely scattered. We have 91 schools scattered all over the country-- 91,000 schools scattered all over the country, and 74 universities in the country, and colleges, which are ignoring students and which have to be closed because of this pandemic.
We also need to note that there are fiscal challenges. These institutions don't have the infrastructure. And they have to think very carefully of how they can be able to do social distancing if they are open. So what's the point I'm making here? We have a larger problem which is complex, which requires complex policy making and complex intervention.
The other thing which we have to note is that health requirements are not certain in those schools. Water is not available. Toilets for both girls and boys? Not available. And the institutional response to students with disabilities are actually limited. So this is the extent of the problem, the magnitude of the problem we are facing in the country.
We have our first case of coronavirus in March, on March 13. And the country came up with the National Emergency Response Committee, which is located and guided by the Ministry of Health, to be able to coordinate containment and interventions which were done here. Then there's the Ministry [INAUDIBLE], which has started guiding education. And the education-- all education institutions were closed, but on 20th of March, five months to date-- and this related from basic all the way to the universities, technicals, and on. They were closed. And they have to go home. And that population went back to the households, to the community.
Minister of Education has been trying to indicate when the things would be open. And all those have been false starts. If you have indicated the schools would come back in August, then September. But now it has indicated that the schools would be reopened at the-- in January, 2020.
The reason this challenge is there-- the infrastructure is not there for social distance, for washing hands, for sanitizing. The space is not available. The schools are not prepared, really, to receive the cases. And again, the cases are rising, the fighting of the cases. As of yesterday, we had-- the country had an infection of 30,000 in the country. And 17 cases have recovered. 20,612 have recovered. And unfortunately, more than 500 deaths have been noted.
So what we are noting is that the surge is going up. And it is affecting the reopening of the schools. What we can be able to say is the shortcomings of the education system, which they are noting as we try to reopen so that the schools don't become the center of the pandemic and the spreading from a child to parents, and then to the community.
Here, let us also note that the provision of gadgets and access to internet has been limited, although the ministry tended to say this is what needed to be done. So what we have seen at the underbelly of the education system is the inadequate funding, inadequate infrastructure and facilities for learning, particularly in schools and homes. Yet we have also noticed a major thing-- inequalities in access and provision of schooling opportunities. These have regional, these have gender, urban, rural, and regional [INAUDIBLE], and the class inequalities in provision of education.
And we are seeing the vulnerability of certain communities. Girls-- there are many-- there are quite a number of cases of girls who have become pregnant and who will not be able to go back to school. This is a major challenge in the country. We have also seen that children with the disabilities, really neglected. And the parents are unable to deal with them. And also, we are seeing the problems of orphans and refugees. In this country, we have two big refugee communities. And this is posing a challenge. And also the poor children.
Now, when we look at these things we see that learning is not going the way it is expected. But some private schools and public-- private universities who had initiated online learning and we had a platform for learning-- they have continued. But these are few.
I said there was indicated, in the case of Nigeria, private schools have suffered a great deal. Some of them are closing. But there are a few who were prepared ahead of time who are continuing, and a good number-- and a small number of private universities are continuing. So it's also a few public universities, particularly the older ones, which have the infrastructure to continue online learning.
So some learning is going on online. But the way we knew it, it is not going on. But it is covering only a small proportion of the students, particularly in the rural areas, less than 20% who are being reached by radio, by computer, by other-- by phone. Although in Kenya, we have a high penetration of phone, these are not gadgets which can be utilized for learning. So we have a major problem there.
The other thing is that we are planning-- the next plan is to open in 2020-- January 2021. But the challenge is, will the infrastructure be there? Will the teachers be in place? Would the hygiene, which is required in the schools, be in place? This is the challenge we have.
My reflection is that-- on the future of the school and the learning system is that we are going to continue with face-to-face pedagogy. And that's what some of the parents and students are waiting for. But this will have to be complemented in a-- by-- in a big way on-- by online and digital learning. But it will require heavy investments at the institutional and the household levels. And this is not something which can be done soon. We know it will take time, because it's costly.
Secondly, the transformation of the education sector will require partnership, will require investment by the state, will require education institutions to reorganize themselves, will require the internet providers to provide the infrastructure which is required for learning. And so is also, the electricity companies.
And here, also, we have the teachers building their capacity. And as it was indicated earlier, the parents now are taking bigger responsibility of teaching their children on-- when they are home. The parents have also to learn how to be able to teach within their home. So the main thing, as I stated at the beginning-- we will need, certainly, paradigm shift in education sector.
Let me talk a little bit about best practices. What I'm seeing is what some of the private universities and schools are doing. They managed to shift to online learning. And these institutions have invested earlier in the infrastructure which is required.
They have invested and they had encouraged their students to be able to do so. Now, if the public and the schools have to do so, they have also to invest. And I see the school-level investment and the university or the institution central to the kind of investment and the [INAUDIBLE] which we do require in this view.
Internet providers need also to provide special vehicles for a platform for learning. And this is where, also, the state has to intervene so that the cost can be cheaper. In Kenya, we have what is called Kenya Network, which provides services to the university. This now has to be extended to secondary schools and other institutions which are involved in the education process.
The other problematic which has to be dealt with is the provision of gadgets and affordable internet connections to the students. This is going to be a challenge, and something which needs to be addressed. So in conclusion, I note three [INAUDIBLE] which we have to learn.
The rethinking of education policies and strategy in the context of COVID-19 and beyond requires serious dialogue of all the stakeholders. The stake-- the [INAUDIBLE] countries [INAUDIBLE] in Kenya-- it has to involve parents. It has to involve teachers' union, help providers. And if we are going to have inclusive and equitable education as anticipated in sustainable development rule number 4, this engagement in dialogue is very vital so that we can bring the views of all stakeholders to see where education goes and to see where the resources would be coming from.
Secondly, online education-- its time has come. And the policies have to be articulated, and strategies to make sure that these facilities are available to all and all students from-- in urban areas, in poor communities are brought into the picture, and they are able to access the online learning. We have to build the capacity of the teachers. We have built the capacity for writing the materials. And we have also to build the capacity of the parents who are becoming [INAUDIBLE] online education. And all of us have to put some effort to see quality assurance is there, assessment is there so that quality education is available to our children.
Finally, reform of education curriculum, curriculum which will bring into focus much more the emerging health issues. Here in Africa, we have major emerging health issues. Malaria is there, HIV, Ebola, and so on. And now, Coronavirus. Education system has to be central in bringing awareness of our young people-- what it is requires-- what is required to remain healthy and well. And then, our universities have to invest in research, in building capacity for the health people, and also for making sure that the appropriate research is done to make our people remain healthy and continue to be healthy. Thank you very much.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you very much, Professor. So there are questions that pop up as you were presenting. This is Adefisayo and Professor Kinyanjui. But we have to continue, to give the opportunity to the remaining two panelists to present. And now we turn to Professor Malak Zaalouk.
MALAK ZAALOUK: Hello and good morning, good afternoon to all participants. It gives me the greatest pleasure to join this very exciting webinar. I speak from Cairo, Egypt, North Africa, which has one of the really-- or, the largest educational system in the Middle East and North Africa. Very close to many of the interventions that were made previously. We have an educational system where we have 20 million pre-university students, roughly 56,000 schools, 2 million teachers-- so really, a large system to manage.
Fortunately, I do have to say that we started a process of digitization fairly early with establishing a lot of online initiatives, interventions, and quite a lot of digital platforms, libraries that have supported online learning when we had to lock down, like everyone else, in March. However, what I do want to talk to you about today is slightly different. I will not do an overwhelming country report, as such. But I would really like to be able to focus on a number of issues.
And I will share my screen, if I may, with the audience. I hope you're able to see the screen.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yes, we see. We see it. Yeah.
MALAK ZAALOUK: So in fact, the ideas I want to put forward for our debate and understanding and the concerns are really talking about, how do we contextualize education in Africa generally? How do we indigenize, to a large extent, our systems? And how are teachers-- I will really focus on teachers, because much as in Egypt we have really done quite a lot in terms of changes in curriculum online and a lot of digitization, as I mentioned, preempted, and were importantly established even before the pandemic-- but we still have a large gap with teachers. And I think this is the concern I want to talk about. And that's an area where a lot of indigenization needs to be established.
I want to talk about a case study of some work we did in Egypt-- very positive work on how to move from social capital to professional capital in empowering teachers and, in a nutshell, how establishing quality education really is the foundation for education in times of crisis. I mean, if the pillars are there, we will-- chances are we will all go through it quite smoothly. And building back better in this little intervention I am presenting is really talking about teachers. Treating teachers better is how we build back better. They are the pillar to education.
I really would like to start my intervention by bringing to your attention a quote from Julius Nyerere, the late president from Tanzania, really emphasizing how education is contextualized in many ways. And this is a quote, if you would like to read it for yourselves. But it re-emphasizes the fact that we cannot have-- even though we're in a globalized situation at the moment, we cannot have a one size fits all. And there are elements of educational systems that have to be contextualized. And this quote I picked up from-- I had this book on Issues in African Education, a Sociological Perspective. A very interesting book, as well.
But to have emphasized that, I really want to pick up again on, what have most people written, whether [? Walter ?] [? Rodney, ?] [? Abadji, ?] [? Mooney, ?] or various others have written about the significant features of indigenous and traditional African education. So if we really go through them very quickly, we find that these systems were very closely related to social life-- very holistic, not compartmentalized. Underlined collaboration quite a bit, and collective nature of society.
We're also conforming with child development and emphasized age appropriateness. Had a lot of outdoor and was-- and teamwork, and didn't really separate between productivity and learning. And produced well-rounded characters, engaged families and elders, and respected elders quite a bit. And paid attention to life skills and lifelong learning, obviously. And were very concerned with values and morality. Education was, in fact, moralistic in nature and very harmonious with environment.
So looking at all these traditional pillars of what African education would have looked like, one is not calling for a return, but how does one create hybrid possibilities of both modernity with features of indigenous, traditional African systems? And one immediately goes to the undisputed pillar, namely, teachers, who are globally disempowered with the advent of neoliberal policies. And in particular, African teachers really need a lot of support, including in my country. A lot of support is needed.
And they are the obvious gap in the system. UNESCO talks about a need-- and that's back in 2016-- a need for 25 point million extra teachers globally to reach the 2030 SPGs. And sub-Saharan Africa alone is 5 million. And North Africa is, altogether, another million. So in a sense, this is a huge gap. And this is something that was picked up, as I said, in 2015. But now, with the pandemic, we need tenfold that amount of extra hands if we are going to mitigate the necessary teaching that we need for during the pandemic.
So as I want to emphasize, this is the gap in most of our countries, including Egypt, is the teachers and how to support teachers. What I want to present quite briefly is really an initiative that we tried in Egypt. And it's an initiative that was based on a European funded program entitled SOUP for PCL, SOUP standing for School University Partnership. So a strong school-university partnership for peer communities of learners.
And this was really formed as an Egyptian hybrid model. It was based on partnerships between national universities and national public schools. Each faculty of education was adopting roughly 15 public schools and working closely. And that was before the pandemic, by the way. And so naturally, our cultural inclination is towards creating social capital. People are naturally gregarious, are interconnected. How-- and we were able to change this into, actually, professional capital by creating peer communities of learners amongst teachers who worked very closely together in schools, on site-- which is extremely significant as a methodology of continuous professional development.
In addition, we are a country that is using a lot of social media, particularly phones. And so how we were able to change social-- or transform the use of social media applications such as Whatsapp and other groups into proper communication technologies for continuous professional development and connectivity amongst teachers.
What this wonderful initiative highlighted-- and we've just now submitted our final report. And we're able to produce six case studies. I'd be very happy to share those to show what came out of this model-- a lot of collaboration amongst teachers with reflection, integrated project-based teaching and learning, particularly like STEAM and global citizenship education. We were able to produce sustainable modalities of mentorship and continuous professional development which is school based.
We enhanced quite a bit teacher identity and professional identity and empowerment. Of course, sustainable development was an integral part of all the learning that took place. And by partnering theory and practice, namely university and schools, we brought theory and practice closer together-- of course, emphasizing mother tongue. And bringing in a lot on values and etiquette generally. Out of this, the impact was enhanced student learning and quite a bit of transformation in professional identity.
We came back during the COVID for a follow-up research and found that these modalities were extremely sustainable and extremely important in enhancing teacher resilience and psychosocial health during the pandemic. We're always talking about the children, which is very important, of course-- the students. But we forget the teachers. They also need support. They even need support in normal times. But we found that these modalities that we had introduced even prior to all that had, in fact, mitigated the impact quite a bit, and these peer communities of learners were continuing.
The government of Egypt has used platforms like [? Admodo ?] to create communication between students and teachers. But teachers were not sufficiently trained, were not sufficiently introduced to those platforms. So those that had been part of this initiative were landing running. They had already had this introduction, were able to continue this modality in quite impressive ways.
I think the point that one wants to make is that putting in place some very important quality lifelong learning bodes very well for laying the foundations for reform, but also creating conditions for quality collaborative learning during situations like the ones we are confronting-- those crisis situations we are confronting now. And so if we can assure these important pillars, particularly for teachers, we're sure to be in better-- in a better situation. We need to, for our future, to really emphasize collaboration in the ways we really perform our learning. And the humanization of learning is so critical and so important for our students and teachers, in particular.
Empathy, social and emotional learning, is so important. And it starts with normal times. But it's ever 10 times more important during the times we go through pandemics. Also, recognition and really [INAUDIBLE] intrinsic motivation for teaching and learning, empowerment, and autonomy are so important for our teachers who go the extra mile, even during those critical times. Lifelong learning, obviously, and celebrating learning.
And these are all aspects of indigenous cultures. These are aspects that touch very close our traditional ways of doing things and are also very cost effective. All of these don't really cost a lot, what I just mentioned-- collaboration, empathy, et cetera. Of course, the online modalities have accentuated, like everywhere else in Africa, the digital divide-- have, of course, accentuated inequalities, for sure. But I guess some progress is being made. And there is a determination to invest a lot more in infrastructure at the moment. And the government is putting huge amounts, now, for the amelioration of infrastructure, et cetera.
But I think what's more important, in my view, is not so much the infrastructure-- yes, it's important. It has to be there. But I think the human aspect of how we deal with our teachers-- no matter how much infrastructure you put in place, if you're not doing the right approach for teacher professional development and teacher support, chances are your results will be very weak. So I would like us, when we're thinking to build back better-- is what we usually say in crisis situations.
It really gives us an alert of what it is that we-- things that happen during the pandemic that we should have been more aware of, like parent-teacher collaboration, like having more families engaged in schools, et cetera, having more support from community, mentors, elders, and volunteers. These were all in our traditional systems, as well. But they need to be re-emphasized. That's the kind of thing you need to build back better in the future.
Of course, teachers need a lot more status and a lot more recognition. This is an area where we all, in all our countries, have to work a lot on. And psychosocial support for teachers is needed. They have immensely complex chores, immensely complex tasks and professions. They are not sufficiently recognized. They play multipurpose tasks. They are mentors. At the same time, they're educators. They are parents. They are so many roles. And they burn out. And they're not sufficiently supported. So we need to build, in our systems, a better way of supporting our teachers.
And higher education has to be supportive of schools. That's another area where this partnership between universities and schools has to be emphasized as a way of building back better. And of course, it goes without saying that we all will be investing a lot more on our online possibilities, but bearing in mind that we need to have diverse opportunities of distance learning-- not just the normal internet, but diverse methods, be it radio, interactive radio, television-- finding ways of having hotspots, especially in areas where there's no electricity. I think we would do very well to borrow from some of the education and emergency lessons best practices and lessons learned, where there have been very great attempts at using solar energy, at using all kinds of technologies that work in times of conflict and in deprived areas that we should really be able to learn about and utilize.
I think I will stop at that. And these are the main points I really wanted to re-emphasize for building back better. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you so much, Professor Zaalouk. And the questions are coming, but let us listen to Professor Letseka. So it's you, Professor Letseka. You have the floor-- the floor, or the air, or whatever.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: I have the digital space.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: OK.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: Thanks, N'Dri. I need to preface this-- and I'll be quick. I know we have-- I'll take it, N'Dri, that I have a maximum of 15. So I have to preface this. I'm taking chances here.
I have to preface my talk, really, by saying I'm so full of-- I'm full of appreciation, first of all, for the message, the presentation from Nigeria. I'm very passionate about Nigeria. As you know, N'Dri, I've been to Lagos many times. But, Professor Kinyanjui, I often touch along Nairobi on our way to Addis Ababa. Unisa has a satellite campus in Addis Ababa, as you know.
So often, I stop in Nairobi and go around to the market. I normally hop into the matatu. And people say, no, the matatu are dangerous. But hey, this is the way we live. So I'm very excited. And Professor Zaalouk, I really appreciate your presentation. You took us back to school. That's exactly what it is. And you saw, when you finished, I clapped my hands because I thought this was a wonderful, scholarly presentation.
Now, where do I start? South Africa-- and I'll set this [INAUDIBLE] by just giving numbers. South Africa is a country with a total population of 57.7 million people. But when talk was on access to digitization or online learning, I think every one of us recognized that as Africans, we do have serious socioeconomic issues. And South Africa is no exception. One of the things that besets our country, even though for quite a while South Africa was regarded as one of the strongest economic countries in Africa-- but we have serious, serious inequalities in this country. And they all date back from our history of apartheid. And I'll touch on that.
In this COVID era, South Africa currently is fifth-- is ranked fifth in the world in terms of the level of infections. That's quite high. In Africa, South Africa is the highest-- the country with the highest COVID-19 infections. That's a huge problem. We are now sitting at just under 600,000 infections. To be precise, we are sitting at 500-- just over 590. We have [INAUDIBLE] deaths, recorded fatalities of around 12,400. And that's also even huge.
We are-- and I'll touch on that-- we are in a better space, because we have now begun to see improvements. And I'll come back to that in our-- in my presentation. And the good news with that is that because our rates have come down-- and the coming down of infection rates is largely as a result of the control. We now have recoveries that are in the region of 490,000s, which is just over 80% of the infected population. So that is good. It means that the systems that we have put in place to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 are working.
South Africa rolled out-- I think it's one of the countries that rolled out the lockdowns. Our first lockdown was done on the 26th of March. And what the government did then was to create a cascade of levels. Level 5 was considered the worst level, where the state of emergency was declared, a curfew. Nobody had to mix. Everybody had to be at home. If you go out, they had to be-- it had to be only on special occasions, where you're going to augment your groceries. Otherwise, stay at home.
I'm over 60, so I'm actually declared and described as a danger zone. I'm a--
I can't even go into my office. I'm actually barred because I'm over 60. So I'm an endangered species. So it was level 5, level 4, level 3, and up to level 1. Level 1 is considered a safe level, where the assumption is that we are back to normalcy.
So we have been battling from March up until Wednesday. This week, at midday, the state, the government, the president declared that the country has now moved on to level 2. Now, this is good news. Level 2 means we have moved to a stage where every of the conceivable regulations have been lifted. The only regulation that stands now is international flights and cross-border visitation. So we are OK.
However, even then-- even then, given that we consider ourselves the largest infected country in Africa, the champions of the COVID-19, the-- our health minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize-- I think they have done-- I have to say it in this international gathering. I take my hat off to the president. I take my head off to the health minister. But I also take my hat off to the chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee of COVID-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim. This is an immunologist expert with international caliber.
And what they did was to say they are going to support the president and the government, that all the initiatives that are implemented to deal with COVID-19 are based on science. For me, as an academic and as a scholar, that brought a smile on my face. What they did together with the minister of higher education, training, and innovation-- they've contacted one of the science council here called the Council on Industrial and Scientific Research, CISR. And they created a database.
That database then assembled a whole range of medical experts. Their job was to collate all the data coming from provinces, put it in a central database, and analyze that. Out of that, then put the trends and identify, what are the emerging trends? And they used that as snippets that they gave to the minister so that the minister can get a sense of what's going.
So every time the president came into television and addressed the nation, he was speaking on the basis of information derived from science and coming from scientific data. Our president is credited, in this country, as someone who has folded his sleeves and consulted widely-- mistakes have been made. Everybody agrees that. To run a country is a complex bureaucracy. Yes, we recognize that.
But we also accept the fact that the president informed the nation on the basis of scientific data. That's all we are looking for. So this was not like anecdotes or snippets. So every data that came was data that was based on the sciences, the health experts coming together, pulling all, tracing the immunological trends, and saying, this is where we are going.
Now, last week the data that came out was that South Africa was-- had reached the threshold, we are now at the peak, and that the infection rates were beginning to come down. And there's been a huge drop. Right now, I can comfortably say that we are talking about 80% recoveries, that the people who are recovering, it's 80%. So this is the reason why, on Wednesday, the decision was made to move the country to level 2. We are now just a step away from coming to a stage where we can say we are OK.
Even with that-- even with that in mind, Professor [? Asul ?] came out and said, yes, everything looks good. Everything looks fine. However, we cannot afford to be complacent. And there was a clarion call from both the health minister, the president, and Professor [? Asul ?] that South Africans need to continue to be vigilant. We need to continue to be healthy. We need to continue to stay at home.
If we go out, we need to continue to respect the COVID-19 protocols. We need to continue to wear the mask. We need to continue to use sanitizers. When we come back from there, we need to continue to respond to the basic hygiene requirements of washing our hands and, basically-- even at home, if you come back from work, stay in your room. Maintain that-- so that culture, that tradition, that learning curve continues. And I think that's where we are.
One of the things that Professor [? Asul ?] warned was that once you lift the regulations, there is always a tendency for people to relax. But the danger with that is that then you let in what's called the second phase of infections. And the examples that are being used-- and this is exactly where I think the science, the idea of putting the technocrat, the sciences-- the scientist, the doctors, the immunologists, the experts in that command center comes in to bear fruits.
Professor [? Asul ?] made reference to specific four countries-- South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. And he said, these were countries that came out globally as examples of good practice, where COVID-19 was retained. And they let loose. Now, they are facing an avalanche of a second wave, and infections are spiking. So I think the idea is to caution South Africans not to be complacent, but to keep working at that-- looking at that. And I think the-- this has been really, really a sterling, sterling job that this team has made.
When it comes to education-- and I need to touch on that because I'm a professor of education. I hold the Unisa chair on open distance learning. And I think the expectation is, yes, we understand this good story. How does it play itself out as far as education is concerned?
We went through, at stages four, three, and two-- South Africa went through a very bad patch. And I empathize with the ministers, in particular the minister of basic education, in that I think the minister was under pressure, politically, to open schools. People wanted schools to be open. And therein lay the danger.
So the minister seesawed, open the schools. And there was- I think she came out with a plan of a phased opening. She didn't want to open the school in March. So she decided that grade R kids-- there's this assumption that younger kids are not as amenable [INAUDIBLE] as older people. But the whole idea was that maybe a provision should be made that grade R and grades 1 and 2 should be allowed to come in. In high school, the target was on grade 9-- grade 7 and 9, those that are about to make decisions on their careers, and grade 12, those that are ready to sit for the exams, so that they can be attended to.
I do think that the decision was emotional. The decision was probably empathetic. But at a strategic level, I think it was a rather flawed decision, because two, three months after that provisional opening, we then experienced a spike in infections among teachers, a spike in infections even among learners. And then we went back and re-closed the school.
So that seesaw got me to a level-- I've been very busy. Professor Assié-Lumumba know that in South Africa, when it comes to speaking in public, I'm constantly called. So I speak on radios. I speak on television. I'm constantly asked to give opinions. And one of the things that I lamented in one of my talks in-- I think he was in Power FM-- was the fact that as a country, we are blessed. We have mountains and mountains of data. We command huge amounts of research. I personally spent about six years at one of the national science councils, the Human Sciences Research Council, where I did lots and lots of strategic research. So there's a lot of data.
And I lamented the fact that it's a travesty of justice that our executive managers, the ministers, sit there but they-- there should be a unit in every ministerial position that says, these are people who are responsible for providing the ministers with data and advising them just like the COVID command center has been doing right now. If we can have the Minister of Higher Education, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Social Welfare, all the ministers having units that manage data, that provide this data so that ministers can then begin to make announcements and pronouncements that are based strategically and informed by robust and lucid data, then our policies would be framed. So my gripe at what was happening in education was that it looked like the minister did not have data that shaped the policy decisions that she made, because she keeps-- she kept flip-flopping from one direction to another. And it's wrong. We shouldn't allow our ministers to go into the public and be embarrassed because they are doing things that are-- decisions that are not framed by data.
Anyway, be that as it may, Professor Kinyanjui spoke about-- and everybody else recognizes that with COVID-19 closures, the only route left was that-- well, social distancing doesn't allow us or children to congregate. Therefore, it follows-- it's a logical follow up that then we need to roll out online learning. Yes, online lending looks like the way to go.
But in a country like South Africa, which is-- which ranks among the highest economically unequal societies, how do you roll out online learning? And therein lies the danger. South Africa has about close to 70% of people that live in rural areas, that live in the Black townships, that live in informal settlements. These are places where, hygienically speaking, they do not have the basic services like roads, like electricity, like health care centers, like access to the internet. And because they are also jammed, this whole idea of social distancing is not possible.
If I were to take a simple township just outside Johannesburg called Alexandra, and you take all the informal settlements, they are all packed. How do you even expect people like those to practice social distancing? It's impossible. But when you look at the poverty levels, these are family households that survive on less than what the World Bank and the IMF have described as the breadline, $1.20. They live below that. So we are talking about households that live in completely abject poverty. How do we roll out online learning?
And I think we should be careful not to always be speaking about online learning. I have a partnership with one of the UNESCO chairs just across here, in a town called [INAUDIBLE], Professor [? Yako ?] [? Olifi. ?] And I work with him very closely, because what he does is something that I think I need to share in this gathering. We talk about online learning. Professor [? Yako ?] [? Olifi, ?] UNESCO chair, not on online learning. But it's on multi-modal learning.
And I heard Professor Zaalouk spoke about that. The obsession with online learning makes us forget the fact that learning has to be approached multi-modally. We speak about radio. We speak about TV. We speak about blended. We speak about-- even TV, when you combine all this, we need to find ways and means in which we can pull all these source together so that we create an integrated, robust, multi-modal way of learning so that where technology doesn't reach-- what about the radio? What about the television? What about-- I don't know. What about even means of leaflets? What about billboards? There has to be all the way.
So this is the problem that we have in this country. And it's precisely because of that. However, I also need to give credit to the fact that the Minister of Higher Education, Training, and Technology made a strategic decision that in this COVID-19 arena, he's not going to allow [INAUDIBLE] to open. We closed [INAUDIBLE]. What he did-- which then brings me-- Prof Lumumba, it brings me to the work of the UNESCO director general, Miss Azoulay. You remember that Miss Azoulay launched the Global Education Coalition in March? And we didn't understand what it was. But we later knew, because what she did was, she was going to enter into a coalition with all the critical stakeholders, all the critical role players.
But her priority was the cellular providers, to say, what can the cellular providers do as part of their corporate social responsibility, to intervene and leverage in ensuring that education is accessible? I think when she reported last week, it was good news, music to my ears, and, I think, music to Prof Assié-Lumumba's ears, because she basically reported that she had now entered into multiple relationships with [? closel, ?] [? egocel, ?] MTN, [INAUDIBLE]. And that-- the gadgets, the tablets, the laptops, and the smartphones are now being circulated to a lot of African countries.
But also, most importantly, she has been able to negotiate the liberation of data. Now, if you cannot leverage the issue of access to data and say, as we say here in South Africa, data must fall. When data falls, it means we make data available freely. So I think Miss Azoulay has done that.
Our minister of higher education did exactly that. He also entered into negotiations with our national cellular providers. And he was able to provide-- the process is still going on, the procurement process are going on. But the agreement is that there will be companies that provide higher education students, particularly those that are funded by government, those that come from poor families, to be provided with tablets, with laptops. But also, now, there is daylight data. There is evening data that's provided to students provided they are in public higher education.
So these, in my view, are ways in which we can intervene. I really feel online learning is important. But if we glue our mind on online learning-- it's digitization. There are so many people, there are so many large proportions of society that are digitally excluded because of their material conditions of existence, because they live in low socioeconomic family household. We need to find ways of increasing the number of satellite towers, of creating living environments, of supporting the internet cafes around so that data can be available.
So this is the story coming from South Africa. As the UNESCO chair, I'm now rolling out what are called virtual seminars. I've just run the fourth seminar. My seminars are heavily attended. I'm getting people online. I have people in excess of 100 joining in on Microsoft Teams, just being part of the discussions. We need to find ways of saying, in a time of crisis, how many Winston Churchill's can we bring in to provide direction and leaders to the world? I want to rest my case.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you very much, Professor. Yes. So we have time for questions. Some of them have been asked already. So we'd like-- some have been asked specifically to individual presenters. But I think they address issues in every country.
The issue, for instance, of how do private institutions, private institutions and government-- how do they work out? The first presentation, by Mrs. Adefisayo, talked about the private institution, private schools, some of which are closing. There are different categories of private schools-- the private schools that are very expensive, high quality, and then the other type that she mentioned. So the question is to you. Given the challenges that we are facing, how can we-- how can government, how can communities, how can the different stakeholders come together to support some of those schools or to create alternatives that come out of this situation of the pandemic that was not planned?
So those schools were created in-- quotation mark here-- "normal circumstances." Since we are not in a normal circumstance at the moment and we're not likely to go back to the normal circumstances of the past, what kind of alternative can be imagined using these collaborative thinking of creating ways for which all our children can go to school? So this is a question to all of you. Anyone can start. Or we can go from the--
MALAK ZAALOUK: If I may-- if I may--
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah. Yes, please.
MALAK ZAALOUK: So very quickly--
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah.
MALAK ZAALOUK: Because we're talking about alternatives. And in my country, also, I have to say very quickly, there is talk about school reopening and different modalities, et cetera, et cetera. And there's been quite a lot of good planning so far. We will have the final announcements in September of what the shift and modalities and who will be able to go to school, et cetera.
But I think in terms of private, in Egypt, it's only about 7% that is private schooling. It is mostly public schooling. But alternatives are also needed. And I think one movement that is picking up and should be picking up in all of Africa, including Egypt, is community education-- is community education, are schools that are provided by communities, that are supported by communities, and that have a very strong community participation component. And this will work for both under-served and deprived areas as well as even urban and affluent areas where communities and neighborhoods can create their own schooling system that they can sustain and that they can support in whatever way. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you. Any other-- yes, please, Professor Letseka.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: In South-- I think the notion of private institution-- I want to recognize that it is understood-- it's probably understood differently depending on context. In South Africa, the notion of private institutions is very clear. It's a class-oriented entity. When we speak about private institutions in South Africa, we speak about private universities.
We speak about private schools where previously, when I grew up, young people during the heart of apartheid were sent to a place like Swaziland, where there was a particular elitist private institution. And you pay huge amounts of money. So private institutions in South Africa are very clear. They are exclusive. They are intended to serve upper middle class, quite affluent societies.
The COVID-19 basically exposed the class element of the South Africans' socioeconomic class fault lines, because-- and I'll tell you why. While I spoke about the closure of institutions which was necessary because of the COVID-19, private institutions went out and, because of infrastructure, because of availability, because the kids are rich, they basically unapologetically rolled out online learning. And they used platforms like [? Muru, ?] like-- whatever. Basically, they already had the systems in place.
So while other children were loitering around and not doing-- the private institution kids were busy holding, exactly as we are, Zoom webinars with their lecturers, basically going ahead and driving the curriculum. And the debate in South Africa has always been, how do we leverage that? The whole idea of the minister intervening and saying, maybe it's time we hold cellular providers to their corporate social responsibilities is somehow, play your part. Come to the party. Leverage data. Set aside a certain percentage.
The MEC for education in the [INAUDIBLE] rolled out one of the most impressive projects by holding cellular provisions to account. He called it the chalkless classes. Basically, he set up multimedia facilities in some schools. And that's the way to do it.
But it goes back to what I was saying earlier-- the best way to circumvent a situation where, because of socioeconomic divisions, because of the class element-- and Marx said it a long time ago-- classes will always be there. There will always be a class struggle. Whether we wish it or not, equality is a chimera. Equality's not something-- it's wishful thinking. Societies will always be unequal.
The question is, how do we mitigate the inequalities? How do we create a scenario where we create a supportive and enabling environment so that those that are normally classified as the poorest of the poor are not actually left-- they will be left out, but that we create a convoy or a conduit where a modicum of learning can take place? So it goes back to what I was saying, Professor Assié-Lumumba, that maybe we should be looking at how to roll out support in multimedia-- multimodal leaning agenda so that we don't get caught up into saying that those people are out there in the sheds. They can't learn. Let's find ways in which we reach them.
When I was a student, I entered into English classes listening to lessons on the radio. And they were powerful. They were powerful, completely powerful. Structured. And they were always there at a particular time. Radios would be brought into class. Someone would be lecturing somewhere and would be teaching. So we need to revisit those ways and find ways. And that's how we can deal with that.
But we also have alternatives. Professor Zaalouk spoke about it. We need to think about, how do we strengthen that component of what are called community institutions? How do we strengthen school governing bodies? How do we strengthen parent-teacher associations? How do we get that learning going? How do we get a sense of institutional ownership so that these community institutions can be supported and they can flourish and they can actually produce desirable results and contribute to this education agenda that we are here congregating about?
Wow. Let me just stop there. I don't want to hog the fast lane.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Mrs.--
KABIRU KINYANJUI: If I could add one--
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah, OK. And yeah, Professor--
KABIRU KINYANJUI: If I could add a point on-- private education in Kenya is very much like my brother is saying in South Africa. It's a class thing. It is standard to be taken by the people with the resources to provide their children with-- fast track them into the systems, and sometimes even [INAUDIBLE] universities within the country, and also outside.
One of the things we have observed as a result of the lockdown and the closure of the schools-- there have been some of the schools which are suffering a great deal, especially those which are not well-endowed. As I indicated, those who are endowed, they had the platforms and they could roll them out. And they continued educating children. But they are the top of the elite, of the private schools.
The rest of the private schools, like you find in the urban settlements, in poor urban settlements-- those aren't rolling out because they were depending on these-- on the payments the children were giving. If the students are not there, the parents will not pay. Those schools have really suffered. But it's something which now needs to be understood, because we are very fragile when there is a crisis like this. Those which have-- for the very rich, they have continued and continued with [INAUDIBLE].
For the community schools, one of the things I can say this pandemic has done is start, really, to bring the parent back into the education system. And we need also to bring the community into the school, to be interested in the school. And this is very, very important as we go on, that the parent captures the school once again and become part and parcel of the education of the child.
And you this way can bring the cultural element, which are very, very important. So this is where we are this moment on that element. But I will come back on the question of the slow internet and online learning when you give me permission.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Mrs. Adefisayo, would you like to say something about the private schools and collaboration alternative, schools that may come out of this experience?
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: Yes. Thank you very much. I think for us, in the state, what we've seen is that we cannot just look at public schools alone and decide that this is what makes up the education sector. Since there are so many private schools and there are so many children in private schools-- and they are our children, so we have to make provisions for all of them.
So the way we-- what we've decided to do is that everything we're doing for our own schools are open. They are on the open forum. Anybody can access. Anybody can access. Even the websites-- if they are able to register, we will give them access. So that's-- because we know many schools cannot afford many of these-- whether it's radio, whether it's television, whether it's internet, they cannot afford to provide these.
And as for the devices that we are providing for our students, we are also raising-- we are raising a million devices. The million devices is also to cover private schools. So I think the way to do things is to practically start to work with public school-- private schools so that we do joint training, joint exchange of ideas, joint consultation.
And like one of-- and like the other speakers before me have said, too, we have to start to look at issues around governance of schools, issues around how friendly our curriculum is, and so on. So I think there are so many opportunities. This actually has kind of helped us to see that the dichotomy of private and public is largely an artificial silo that we must overcome. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you all. There are several questions I'm going, because of lack of time, to bring them under one umbrella.
One of them touched on the illiterate parents. How do they come in all this? Another one is about language, "mother tongue," in quotation mark. How does it come in? And another question is on the informal economies. Here, again, bringing out the element of class. So how do we imagine or create a new system that is operational, taking into account these realities? So it's to all of you.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: Can I say something?
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yes, please.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: When we talk about illiterate-- or, parents who do not speak English or the language of instruction in the classroom, I think-- again, I like to draw from my experience. I think what we've tried to do, a lot of times, is that we've actually used all sorts of media. There are some radio stations that are targeted at those kinds of people-- the language, the jokes, the advertisements. All the programs are targeted at people who we are classing as illiterate, but who just do not speak the language of instruction.
And I myself am a fairly fluent speaker myself. I've gone on radio countless times. I think we have to let parents know what we're doing. And the best medium is usually radio, because these people do listen to radio. And maybe not television. You could do television, but radio-- through radio, talking to them, taking their questions, because they would phone in and ask questions.
And then, going around communities. When we were giving out devices to the students in under-served communities, we had meetings with the parents, as well, telling them what we were doing in the language that they speak. So I think it's a lot of advocacy, a lot of engagement, and willingness to be open to members of the community.
And when it comes to our language, I think, again, many of us have forgotten that-- in school, we were told, don't speak your native language. It was called vernacular. I don't know about other countries, but in Nigeria, if you spoke your native dialect it was saying, don't speak vernacular. I'm not sure vernacular is really-- was used positively in that context.
And so what Lagos State has done, deliberately, is that we do not want our language to die. So on Wednesdays we actually dress native, speak native. Assemblies in native-- in our language. And teaching, too, in our language, inasmuch as possible. So I think all of us start-- have got to start to look at that. How do we ensure that we let-- that these, our languages, do not die? One or two major languages in Nigeria are projected to die out in 50 years, because each generation, fewer and fewer people are speaking these languages. And it would be a terrible pity if we allowed this to happen.
So I agree with the person who talked about mother tongue. We have to increasingly-- on the Wednesday, we teach our subjects using the mother tongue. So that means that the students start to see that the mother tongue is not for some types of conversations and English for other types of compositions, that the mother tongue can actually be applied across the board. I hope I've said something that resonates to some people here. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yes.
KABIRU KINYANJUI: If I can add here, is that mother-- some of the research which I have had an opportunity of looking at with other people found that the children who are fundamentally-- who had a good foundation in their mother tongue-- they had the opportunity-- better ways of learning other languages. And it's important for us to be able to emphasize the importance of mother tongue so that the children who have opportunities of learning mother tongue-- they should also know that their mastery of other languages is not impaired. So there should not be downplaying the role of the mother tongue, but otherwise, it should be emphasized. In some places, books are not available. But this is a very central element in the education system for having people who are well inculcated in their culture through the mother tongue.
The parents who are not literate-- we should not undermine the knowledge which they have and which, also, the children should to be able to grow. There are careers of knowledge, even if they cannot read and write. And the people should be able to listen and learn from them from the basis of the mother tongue.
On the informal economy, these-- major populations are living in the informal economies in urban areas and so on. And this is a part of our society. And we should provide for them the requirement for learning so that children can come from informal society, enter good schools, and be able to contribute to the current-- in the country. This is where, I would say, the online learning and also the internet-- now the technology is available which can be able to go very far.
[INAUDIBLE] in this country, there are some balloons which were put into the sky to provide internet in the remote parts of Kenya. I think, with the goodwill, the state and the private sector can be able to reach every corner of the country with internet. And with a proviso for social responsibility so that the schools and households can be able to get it at affordable rates. So this can be done. And this can be done.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Professor Letseka, you want to say something about that aspect of language, poverty, mother tongue? Maybe he's not-- he's not--
MALAK ZAALOUK: Unmute. You need to unmute.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: Yea, this is the "born before technology" sentiment getting into me. I'm talking, and I'm muted.
The subject of adult illiteracy is a subject that always gets my blood pressure rising. And I'll explain why. Professor Zaalouk's presentation touched on one of the most salient areas that Professor [INAUDIBLE] Lumumba and I are working on, which is indigenous knowledges and indigenous forms of knowing. And I-- my concern is exactly that whenever we speak about adult literacy or adult illiteracy, we're actually referring to schooling-- their ability to read and write, their ability to manage the language of instruction-- English, whatever it is, or French, or Portuguese, whatever.
And what we are doing by so-- we are denigrating the critical importance-- and now, when we speak about the mother tongue, it then spins the whole thing up into orbit, because my-- one of my specialties in this country is, I'm a champion of indigenous knowledge systems. I have lots and lots of mountains of research that are running in the southern region, in Southern Africa, on the notion that Professor [INAUDIBLE] Lumumba and I have published on-- Ubuntu, [INAUDIBLE]. But it's a central piece of indigenous knowledge systems.
And I'm a champion of oral history. Why is it that we tend to say adult literacy, but we-- when we are doing that, we are conflating adult literacy with the ability to read and write. But we should be able to have a distinction between, what does it mean to say someone knows? What is knowledge? Is knowledge really to be grounded in the ability to read and write?
I mean, I grew up being-- I was brought up by two grandmothers. One was 90, the other was 82. One was my great-grandmother. I learned a lot. They were a university. We always sat at home, and in the evening, they always took us through a whole range of stories. Now that I was a Unisa student, a Unisa professor, I know what was happening. I was going through what is called oral history-- word of mouth from generation to generation.
So I think it's important that we are careful-- and I'm responding to that question of adult literacy, what we mean by adult literacy. We need to be able to differentiate between the ability to read, but also the knowledge base someone having-- being an encyclopedia, a database of orality and oral knowledges-- how do we draw on that? So we need to go back and get parents to come back into the picture to do that role of storytelling. They may not read what the syllabus is, but there is a lot that adults, especially grown people, can bring into education.
And we need to clarify our philosophical assumptions of, what do we mean by education? Is education just the ability to read, or does it fall on that thin line that's called knowing? And we can differ about what the art of knowing is. So I'm very mindful, my job here is to get that education proper. It's fashionable to say someone is illiterate because they can't read and write, but when you all can sit down and talk with that person, you'll be amazed at how much they know.
My own study was conducted in vernaculars in the media, in Botswana, in Lesotho, in Swaziland, in Zimbabwe, in Zambia, and in South Africa I sent researchers to go and talk to community elders. No, I prohibited them from speaking in English. I say, talk to these people in their languages. Draw on-- and that's what it is. They came back massive, massive data. So I think it's important that we become particular about that.
The issue-- and I've touched on the mother tongue. The issue of informal economy worries me a lot. When I travel, I-- Professor Adefisayo. Where is she? Is she listening?
She's somewhere in this. I've had the opportunity to be to Lagos. I've gone into the markets. I've seen how informal markets are supported, how they are such drivers of economy. In this country we have a very unfortunate situation where the-- I don't know, the minister of-- or the Department of Trade and Industry, whatever-- they actually send police to the town to basically disband the vendors. Basically, it's-- they are disrupting that.
How can you then grow the informal economy? We don't understand it. We put it as a policy. There is a lot of talk in South Africa about small to medium enterprises, SMME. But they don't understand the vendors, those people who are selling things-- those are the people that need to be supported. Those are poor people who are enterprising, who are going out and saying, we're not going to steal, but we'll go out and earn our keep by being part of the economy.
So we need to find ways of intervening and supporting those people and creating stalls where they can then put their wares and sell and be supported, and then be able to eke a living and feed their family. In this country, the informal economy is downgraded. The vendors are under constant abuse and harassment by the police. And I think it's just an unfortunate way of-- some of our people in the executive not understanding that the informal economy drives the larger part of the African economy. And it needs to be supported at policy level. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you so much. And the concern of those who-- as the question is, what the linkage between that objective situation of the majority of the people functioning in that context of earning a living and their ability to participate in the education system as it is designed. So you have addressed, indirectly, some of the aspect of the questions.
So it's not a matter of being able to speak your own language or even talking to your children, the teaching them. It's what is considered legitimate knowledge. What is the education system going to value? When they sit for the exam, what will make it possible for them to go to the next level and then, subsequently, to look at themselves on their professional occupational ladder. What is valued? So these are-- well, I can see that we have a lot of questions for another conversation. But I would like to summarize here, again--
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: So prof, prof.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: And this is just an announcement. This is where my colleagues who are-- Professor Michael [? Apple, ?] that powerful book, The Politics of Knowledge-- you just talked about it. That's exactly the point. I just wanted to make that announcement. This is about who defines what noise is of most worth.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you so much. And the other dimensions of several questions concern parent-teacher collaboration. When, for instance, Professor Kinyanjui talked about paradigm shift, where are parents and teachers located in this-- in the conversation, in the shaping or framing, reframing?
Another question that was specifically addressed to Professor Zaalouk but is all of you, in fact-- should parents engage their student in learning in their local language? I think aspects have been responded to. Another question that was asked earlier was about-- well, I'm trying to summarize many, many questions. It's about, uh-- well, I have asked those dimensions already. I'm trying to-- another set of questions is about the African countries, the continent.
How do they collaborate with the African Union, for instance? What are the ground of their collaborations in subregions? As we know, we have these regional economic communities. How do they-- we have the [INAUDIBLE] so and so forth. And then the African Union. So this is another set of questions. How are we managing these community, nation states, and the continent?
MALAK ZAALOUK: How would you like us to start?
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Any of you can start. Then we will go to the others. So you may want to start.
MALAK ZAALOUK: OK. So if we agree that education is life, it really is about life-- if we do agree to that, then obviously, a big chunk of what we do with education is engaging parents, and also supporting parents with parenting, learning, and education. So this partnership between schools and communities is a very crucial and critical one that allows for smooth transitions between schooling and life. And that's what learning is all about. It's allowing you to learn, to engage with life. And part of engaging with life is-- going back to the other questions that were raised before, is engaging even in productivity and production.
And here I do want to posit that there are economic systems and factors that should be engaging families and schools and communities all together that we are not tapping on. And these are cooperatives, co-ops. And that is the way to go forward with schooling families, communities, and the initiation of co-ops. And maybe that's what [? arusha ?] was all about, that-- creating opportunities for whole communities to come together to produce. And that's part of learning.
And that's part of what schools should be engaging students to do. And I'm not calling for child labor, but I'm calling for an engagement with communities, with parents, with life in the social setting, and creating modalities of production that take into account democratic development, engagement with communities, and allowing a wide span of youth to come together in economies of scale, but through cooperative means. And I think this is something that we should put forward.
And the last bit I wanted to say-- we must not forget, in our equation, the school-university partnership. Universities have also a social responsibility to support schools and school communities and school parents to better engage with learning.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Let me insert in here-- there were a few questions about the humanistic dimension that were mentioned, the empathetic dimension, the emotional learning. So in your answers, if you can also address those, as well, that would be great.
KABIRU KINYANJUI: Let me address the question of countries cooperating together. I come from East African community. And I am a product of cooperation of the-- what used to be called staff and community of Tanzania, [INAUDIBLE], and Uganda, which now includes Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. The countries are particularly collaborating at university level, trying to harmonize the previous courses, and also accreditation and acceptance type of certification from the three-- the five universities.
And there is also a move to try and share students, to be able to move from one country to another. And I am aware of Kenyans moving to Uganda for education. And there are some other people coming from the other-- Eastern Africa coming to [INAUDIBLE]. So there is collaboration, particularly on higher education. There is also collaboration, if we call it a collaboration, of people coming at the lower levels, through, perhaps-- through the private schools.
Then, at the continental level, the continental body has been articulating-- helping Africa to articulate the policies on education. [INAUDIBLE] is the continental education strategy for Africa, which was actually brought out by African Union, who brought a number of African scholars and researchers to articulate a vision of Africa which is aligned to vision 2063, which African Union is pursuing.
And there have been other-- those other fora for African Union to see how they can cooperate together [INAUDIBLE] of science and technology. And there are some universities on the continent-- one-- some in Cameroon, some here in Kenya, some in South Africa-- which are collaborating in running something-- a program. So there are some initiatives which are continental, some regional which require, maybe, further discussions at a later date. But they are there.
But I want to also say, in a period like this one when we have a pandemic, it is important to see the value of cooperation, particularly in science and technology, and undertaking research. And it is important that African Union has brought the Center for Disease Control, which is actually trying to bring African knowledge together. So the opportunities are there. African universities are collaborating. But we need to do more with this area to benefit from the collective knowledge of the African people.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah, the dimension of the question is actually, if those collaborative infrastructures are in place, how do they factor in the challenges? How do we address this pandemic using those collaborative lines or foundation that are already there? So maybe, can-- because we're going to run out of time soon, can Professor-- I think Mrs. Adefisayo, if you can address, also, a dimension, and Professor Letseka. And then we will be closing very soon. Yes, and Professor Zaalouk, as well. Yeah. Mrs. Adefisayo? You would like to address any aspect of the questions that were asked?
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: I think [INAUDIBLE] is it basically the dimension of, how do we include parents? I'm sorry, I lost my chain of thought for a minute.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah, mm-hmm.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: How we include parents?
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: Am I right?
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yes, parents and, particularly those who are--
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: [INAUDIBLE] stakeholders?
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yeah, those in rural communities, those who may not speak the language of instruction. You have addressed, a little bit, that aspect of the effort, of language. But if you can elaborate a little more.
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: I think for us to address them we have to really, really work through the normal channels through which they communicate with each other and through which they communicate within their community. And that's why I think a lot of work has to be done. You have to accept that you have many stakeholders. We are ready to work with community. We have a lot of rural rulers. So we'd like to work with rulers in the community, because they actually regulate the [INAUDIBLE] of what goes on in their community, the local government that works in that community.
All these-- the local government, the education secretaries that work in the community, the schools, the principals-- so that we have a whole group of people who are talking to each other. The school-based management committees, the parents' forum-- I think when they meet and talk to each other, they would normally only engage in the language of the environment. They would not engage in English. But many of them, of course, can speak English. So it's important that we use the channels that such parents are normally used to and don't try and use channels they are not used to.
Like, when we were introducing or trying to do internet, people were sending emails saying, what's up? And so on. But they are not going to communicate through such channels. We have to use the radio that they are familiar with, the town crier they are familiar with, their local leader in the community. That's the kind of communication that I would honestly say would work in these communities. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Thank you. We're almost out of town, but-- time. Yes. Professor Letseka? Professor Zaalouk?
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: Look, I may have touched on this aspect, but I really want to-- I want to address, there's a specific question that is addressed to us all. I'm not-- I think the issue of regional blocks has been dealt with, and I'm happy with whatever was said. I was going to basically touch on what Professor Kinyanjui has just said. But there is a question by Mr. Professor [? Bill ?] [? Fillon ?] which is a question that speaks to the invention by parents using the local languages while children are learning in English. And I think what--
FOLASADE ADEFISAYO: [INAUDIBLE]
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: What prompted me to respond to this question is that the question is then, [INAUDIBLE]
MALAK ZAALOUK: You're muted again.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: You're muted.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: No. No, I'm not.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: OK, we hear you now.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: Oh. Now the mic is not-- anyway, so the question that Mr. [? Fillon ?] asked is, when parents intervene using their indigenous language to speak to their children as learners, the question is, is there an inherent conflict? And I think we need to talk about that. We need to talk about that, because at the heart of that question is about language. And language is-- we all are gathered here, and we all agree-- we all agree that at a cultural level, language is a powerful carrier of a people's culture. And you cannot talk about a culture of a people without locating and centering the people's indigenous language in that narrative and discourse about culture.
So if we speak about knowledge and we exclude culture and language, by extension, from that cultural narrative, we are missing the point. And then the questions that we need to be asking ourselves should be very serious. Whose language is at issue here? Whose language? And what gives that language precedent over being a language that carries knowledge?
That's why people like-- I think it's [? Philipson ?] wrote that book about linguistic imperialism. We need to go into such things. We need to talk about that. When people are colonized-- we all know, when people are colonized, the colonizer imposes their culture. The colonizer imposes their knowledge systems. The colonizer imposes their language. And that is the debate that we are talking about here.
When we speak about parent illiteracy, we are talking about parents' ability to speak and be fluent in the language of the colonizer. No, when we do that we are really abdicating the very issue at the core of the debate. [INAUDIBLE] came to South Africa and spoke about centering. When are we going to begin to center our indigenous languages so that they are languages of control, languages of power?
So I am sorry to [INAUDIBLE]. I'm very impatient with questions that speak about English, or language of French or Portuguese as if those are the languages that should define whose language should prevail. We are Africans. And we are-- and I don't speak about Africans as homogeneous people.
When you go to Nigeria, you speak about over 100-- over 400 languages. Those languages need to be respected. Those languages need to be put at the center of what it means to educate people. If we talk about literacy and we give privilege to English, to Portuguese, to Spanish, or French, really, we are guilty in the perpetuation of the very colonization, the imperialistic issues that you're talking about.
In this country, there's been talk about Africanization and indigenization. Isn't it time that we need to speak about how we locate our languages in there? I've traveled a lot. If you go to Japan, you open up your computer, it comes out in that-- those languages. We don't even know. If you go to Germany, your Google will be in German. If you go to Italy, your-- you understand. So since when can we begin to give our languages the [? preference ?] while recognizing that we are part of the global community? That is not something that you should lose.
But once we take globalization and we give it superiority and preference over our own indigenes, come back-- going back to Professor Zaalouk, we are missing the point. The indigenous elements of who we are are critical. And the sooner we support them and the sooner we fight that battle of inserting our languages in this thing called pedagogy, in this thing called epistemology, ontology-- then we will have lost the battle.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Professor Zaalouk, the last word.
MALAK ZAALOUK: I just wanted to weave back in some of the questions that had to do with social and emotional learning, because they're very relevant to the issue of language to parents, to everything else we've been talking about so far. And they're relevant to collaboration, as well.
I think by now we know through research, and particularly brain research, that the gateway to learning is our emotions. It's through emotions that we open up and we learn. In situations of fear, crisis, and stress there is no learning. Language can create a stressful barrier, as well, as well as loneliness and division and being standing alone, without collaboration, et cetera. All of these are barriers to our own learning.
So in fact, social and emotional learning are very important components for how we learn to recognize, first of all, our emotions. And then, how do we build sufficient resilience to be able to deal with that and to be able to make the correct decisions forward? And this is what we always need in times of crisis like the pandemic-- of course, creates anxiety, fears, all kinds of situations of being ill at ease, and therefore not learning.
So there are ways. And there are patterns. And there are programs that, indeed, do support psycho-social support and learning not only in times of crisis, but even in what we call normal times, so that we are able to really get rid of all the barriers and challenges to learning. Thank you.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Professor Kinyanjui, any last word before we conclude? No? OK.
KABIRU KINYANJUI: I would like to say that--
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Yes.
KABIRU KINYANJUI: --the way the debate on language is framed, result-- as a result of the colonial hangover, when one language was give more prevalence than the other-- there is no conflict if the school is supporting the community. And there should be no conflict between the community and the school. And this is where we can be able to liberate the languages, because the community and the school are working together.
So when a child goes home, she should be free to know she can speak to her parents and other siblings in the language that they understand, and translate that knowledge into that particular language. And that language is not inferior to the languages which has been taught at school. This is the confidence [INAUDIBLE] create. And this is the future we can be able to create for our children so that they can grow, operating on national and global level from the confidence of their cultures, from their languages, from their histories which they have learned from their mothers, their grandmothers, and their grandfathers. This is the future of the African we want to see emerging from the community.
And I come from where [INAUDIBLE] come from, and I know he emphasizes the language he-- we grew in the same village. We speak the same language.
N'DRI ASSIE-LUMUMBA: Well, thank you so much. There are so many dimensions of education that we have touched on, barely, that call for future conversations. So the topic for today was really for us to know, where are we since the education systems were brought to a halt so abruptly? What has been done? And what is being done?
And education, in terms of its impact, is not only today. We're talking about children not learning. And those who started to learn aren't learning, because they have not-- they didn't acquire solid foundation to build on. So we can see that they are unlearning, that they are not learning.
But what education tells us is that it's not only today. It's 10 years from now, 20 years from now, even 50 years from now. What is happening or not happening in education will have an impact when we talk about multigenerational transfer of knowledge and capacities. So these are very important dimensions that we addressed, and we will need to address in another-- on another platform.
The other dimension I want to touch on is the technology in education. It had been conceptualized as very linear. Initially, you use the radio. And then, after the radio is television. But what we see now is that they are not mutually exclusive.
In the 1970s, television was introduced in my country, Cote d'Ivoire. And one of the issues working on a book in that area is as if you bring in the technology, and then the teachers are no longer there. So they were not properly trained. So that we need to really emphasize what is called this multimodal learning.
So you have different technological tools, but you have also the teachers-- in what capacity? What kind of combination, we can bring in order to give the best learning opportunity to the children and adult? So these are really critical aspects. And how do we bring in the technology? Can the technology actually be offering an opportunity to give more life to our languages, for instance? So these are areas that we need to also think about.
And then the international context, those who make a profit on African communities-- there's telephone. Well, these cellular telephone-- they render services. They have been put to use beyond what we even, in the industrial countries, cannot imagine. You go to Kenya, which is cited [INAUDIBLE], and their way to organize life on a daily basis through that technology. But how can we leverage even further to bring it within the education system, to give opportunities to those who otherwise would not have those opportunities?
Several questions-- I know [? Jarrah, ?] one of my colleagues here from The Gambia-- she asked this question about poor people in rural communities. So where do we bring our imagination in using the technology to reach out to those? So there's a lot that we are going to discuss in the future. I would like to thank all of you, to thank the team here at the Einaudi Center, of which the Institute for African Development is part of, for the extraordinary collaborative work that you did.
So this is the first of-- this is-- we have weekly seminars. But this is a new opportunity for us that is offered out of this tragedy, out of the pandemic to be able to organize these webinars to bring different voices. So I look forward to our future collaboration, contributions, research. This is an aspect that we will organize another webinar to deal specifically with the role of research in addressing issues of education, health, and so on and so forth.
So for now, on behalf of the Institute for African Development, the Einaudi, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies in Cornell University, I would like to thank all of you for your time, your insight. And I look forward to our future collaboration. Stay in touch with us. And we will also stay in touch with you, because we need your insight, your contribution to give meaning to the organizational structure that we are called to participate in. So thank you all.
KABIRU KINYANJUI: Thank you. Thank you, too.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: Can we get the recording?
JACKIE SAYEGH: Yeah. Yes.
MOEKETSI LETSEKA: We will? Thanks.
MALAK ZAALOUK: And Jackie--
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N’Dri Assié-Lumumba, director of Cornell Institute for African Development, moderates a discussion on how African education systems have been impacted by COVID-19, their strategies of managing the pandemic to date, and policies for the future.
Folasade Adefisayo, principal consultant/CEO of Leading Learning Limited, an educational consultancy incorporated in 2014; Kabiru Kinyanjui, international development consultant and former chairman of the Kenya Public Universities Inspection Board; Malak Zaalouk, professor of practice and the director of Graduate School of Educations (GSE) Middle East Institute of Higher Education; and Moeketsi Letseka, UNESCO Chair on ODL at Unisa, professor of philosophy of education and editor-in-chief of Africa Education Review.