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Coronavirus: distance education, a puzzle solution in sub-Saharan Africa and Benin

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In Benin, as in many African countries, schools have closed their doors to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Distance education has become the rule to save time and maintain the level of learners. But there are many challenges that face teachers and learners.

What initiatives are in place?

Since March 30, 2020 and to control the spread of the new virus in Benin, private and public schools have been closed throughout the national territory. In total, according to Unicef, 128 million students in West and Central Africa no longer have face-to-face classes.

More than two weeks after the first school closures, the authorities and stakeholders in the education system are organizing themselves to find solutions to allow children to follow distance learning courses. It is through television and radio that students can continue their learning.

In Benin, the programs of the national television channel ORTB have been disrupted since last week by lessons for certain study classes such as the Middle Second Year Course and the Third Year class.

Local radio stations are also called upon. A schedule is set up for the different subjects and levels, with priority courses for exam classes at the end of the cycle.

Platforms are also put online on which students have access to corrected lessons and exercises.

Teaching or taking classes, many are limited to internet access.

In this crisis situation, it is not easy to ensure pedagogical continuity for all learners, especially for those who do not have access to the media and the Internet, which are more than important elements for taking distance courses. . These devices remain very limited for many students. It is not easy to access an internet connection or a television in some areas. Even in cities, not all households have televisions.

Should we fear social crises?

“School closures hit the most vulnerable hardest. They deprive the most disadvantaged students of essential services, in particular school meals and social protection, ”regrets Gwang-Chol Chang, head of education policies at Unesco. There is therefore to be fear of social crises.

During this extraordinary holiday period, young girls are at high risk for sexual abuse, marriage and teenage pregnancy, and then risk dropping out of school.

Will there be a white year in Benin?

The answer is no for the moment since the authorities have planned the resumption of school and university courses on May 10, 2020 as well as the dates of the various national exams postponed by one month to allow the actors of the school system to make up for time. lost and better prepare candidates for the various exams.

Let us hope that it is thus for the happiness of the actors of the education system.

Obed KODJO

A curious, motivated and determined young leader, Obed Kodjo is an agronomist and blogger who is active in organizations that advocate the awareness and development of African youth. Innovation is his passion and for this he never ceases to cultivate himself in order to make a difference in his actions. He dreams of a conscious Africa that solves its problems on its own without outside help.

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