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The information provided below was submitted as at 2020-05-28 11:16:41 by Global e-Schools & Communities Initiative -GESCI in responding to the AU Survey of Partners Education Sector Response to COVID-19. The information is solely for experience sharing purposes and not to be used for other purposes without express permission of the African Union Commission.

 

Name of Organisation: Global e-Schools & Communities Initiative -GESCI
 
Website: www.gesci.org
 
Key objectives of the initiative/program?
* Meet the needs of our education partners, according to our capacity.
*Make digital educational resources available to students to ensure school continuity according to the educational program of Côte d'Ivoire;
*Maintain contact and interaction between the students of each school and their respective teachers for adequate support from a distance;
*Raise and promote the awareness of the educational community on the on-going e-learning initiative;
*Creation of a collection of contextualized digital educational resources;

 
Elements of the Initiative/Program
COVID-19 response planning, Direct support to Ministries of Education, Support to Innovators;
 
Sectors of Education targeted by the Initiative/Program
Secondary;
 
Other Organisations/Institiutions involved in implementing the program/initiative
Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD), Ministries of Education of Kenya, Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, participating schools, iEARN Kenya and Mastercard Foundation.

Regions in Africa benefiting from Program/Initiative
Eastern Africa, Western Africa
 
Countries in Africa benefiting from Program/Initiative
Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania
 
Challenges with the COVID-19 response
¬ Access to digital devices and internet connectivity remains a challenge to teachers while out of school.
¬ There is no uniformity of access to digitally-facilitated learning to many students. During covid19, students, located in wide geographical and rural areas, are without access to basic IT equipment or to the internet.
¬ Many teachers have inadequate ICT resources to execute effective digital learning while at home.
¬ Widespread and graduated ICT skills development is required for teachers to enable the educational use of technology in their teaching.

 
Lessons learned from the COVID-19 response
¬ Educators and students need to respond to the fact that digital learning will form a key tool to enable a new pedagogy of teaching as face to face teaching and learning will continue to be very restricted due to the COVID pandemic.
¬ Increasing quantities of quality e-learning content built on curricular needs will be required.
¬ We must pay more regard to self-paced, independent learning facilitated by technology such as in the GESCI students’ platform.
¬ The whole school community must appreciate and be influenced by the “anytime –anywhere” mode of learning - especially in the event of disruption and limited access to the physical schools.
¬ Digital skills are paramount for teachers as they incorporate technological tools for teaching
¬ Students also need basic technology skills for learning and as a future skill for employment.
¬ Education stakeholders recognise and support initiatives such as the GESCI African Digital Schools Initiative Schools Initiative (ADSI) which is funded by the Mastercard Foundation. Its implementation has helped all participating schools to counter COVID virus problems and challenges in innovative and practical way.
¬ Teachers need to be trained on skills to develop quality online lessons and acquire new but relevant ICT-based pedagogical approaches in teaching and learning.
¬ Students are quite capable of self-directed learning but very many lack the critical resources such as tablet, internet access, computer skills and ICT learning resources.
¬ Well-constructed technology-enabled lessons, developed by capable teachers, elicit very positive responses from other teachers and from their students.
¬ Technology integration in teaching and learning has benefited literate learners much more than others.
¬ The teaching and learning content, developed during the Knowledge Creation cycle training of the African Digital Schools Initiative (ADSI), become immediately useful during the closure of schools in the wake of COVID19.
¬ Going forward, virtual centres for digital content development should be established and supported as in GESCI’s ADSI model.
¬ Teachers have realized that offline and online Interactive e-learning resources facilitate greater learning in or out of school.

 
Good practices with the COVID-19 response
¬ Despite school being closed, school-based professional development for teachers should progress through online tutoring in STEM and other subjects to minimise interruption to learning.
¬ Through a Community of Practice, ICT-trained teachers should support and encourage non-ICT trained teachers to prepare ICT-based lessons, collaborate on online and offline interactive self-directed e-learning content to enhance students’ independent learning
¬ ADSI collaboration with Universities and Teachers’ Colleges in Tanzania, Kenya and in Côte d”Ivoire mandated to provide Teacher Professional Development to enhance sustainability of COVID 19 response. GSCI believes that institutionalization of ADSI models, frameworks and tools can be adapted and adopted to improve ICT-based pre-service and in-service teacher training.

 
Innovations implemented during the COVID-19 response
Innovations
1. Students resources created and made available through a new online learning platform
2. Development and use of a teacher Community of Practice platform is used innovatively to share
new approaches and experiences in remote teaching and learning practices
3. Online Tutoring through webinars
4. Open Education Resources Platform for teachers

A case example of a COVID-19 response in Côte d’Ivoire

Within the context of ÉcoleNumérique d’Excellence Africaine (ENEA)/African Digital Schools Initiative (ADSI) –as implemented by GESCI and funded by the Mastercard Foundation the following response to COVID-19 was implemented.
This mini project was initiated in response to the closing of schools. Using the Digital Schools of Distinction (DSD) road map and a whole school approach to integrate ICTs in learning, an e-learning platform was developed by using Google Classroom. Lycée Sainte Marie of Cocody and Lycée Garçons de Bingerville, schools in the “ENEA Digital Schools of Distinction” programme in Côte d’Ivoire exemplify participation in the initiative.
A steering group included the Direction des Transmissions et des Systemes D'information (DTSI), Ministry of Basic Education (MoE) School Principals, the Deputy Country Manager of GESCI and school based ICT coordinators operationalised and deployed Google Classroom e-learning platform and moved on to G-Suite.

Objectives
* Meet the needs of our education partners, according to our capacity.
*Make digital educational resources available to students to ensure school continuity according to the educational program of Côte d'Ivoire;
*Maintain contact and interaction between the students of each school and their respective teachers for adequate support from a distance;
*Raise and promote the awareness of the educational community on the on-going e-learning initiative;
*Creation of a collection of contextualized digital educational resources;

Good practice
*Set up a lean and agile project team made up of members from DTSI, GESCI and the school;
*Willingness to make a real difference in the midst of a global health crisis;
*Successful implementation of some contextualized key elements of the Digital Schools of Distinction (DSD) Roadmap. Most meetings conducted via video-conference
*Set up of a ICT team in the schools with clearly defined roles and responsibilities in terms of e-learning
* The steering committee oversight of resources produced;
*Quality control process led by the ENEA School Based Coordinator, making sure agreed teaching schedule is followed; resources produced are in conformity with Côte d’Ivoire curriculum.
*Teachers-Students interactivity monitored;
*Signed an agreement with the school on the scope of work, roles and responsibilities;
*weekly report from the administration to the steering committee
*implication of the teaching board (by subject matter & grade level (6eme, 5eme, 4eme, 3eme, 2nd, 1ere, Tle)

Lessons learnt
*The leadership of the school principal is a determining factor in the success of initiatives to be deployed within the school
*So far, lessons emerging indicate that it is difficult to monitor student progress in learning. Consequently, it has been suggested to migrate to Google suite in order to access learner analytics though this comes with a cost (financial, adequately trained human resources, etc)
* The skills acquired throughout the ENEA project has enabled some schools to have an appropriate response to this health crisis

Challenges
*Acquiring and implementing an adequate interactive e-learning platform that will work in the context of Cote d’Ivoire educational environment (large number of students: in some instances, up to 120 students per class, and up to 7,000 students in one single school. 
*Cost of the solution and associated trainings
*Capacity of teachers to develop high quality digital educational contents
*Getting more stakeholders (Cabinet officials) involved in this endeavour and convincing the initiative is not as a competition to the government initiative
*Design an appropriate tool to manage and record (achievements and challenges, how challenges were dealt with, way forward)

*Unreliable Internet connectivity


 

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