Lockdowns expose digital divide in African education
Around 90% of the world’s students have been forced out of school due to COVID-19. As a result, more than 1.5 billion children now require online schooling and e-learning has become more important than ever. These lockdowns expose the digital divide in African education where no access to digital devices at home is impacting many children’s learning.
The impact of lockdowns on African education
In Africa, entrepreneurs and educators have developed innovative technological solutions for distance education and online learning to ensure all children and youth can access quality education.
However, the demand for remote learning has also exposed the digital divide within African communities. Internet penetration in Africa is only 42.2%. The majority of young Africans lack access to high-speed broadband or digital devices at home such as tablets, computers, or smartphones, leaving them in a vulnerable situation during the lockdown.
Working to bridge the digital divide in Africa
The World Literacy Foundation’s Ambassador Program has facilitated discussion about this topic and stressed the importance of working collectively to reduce the online education issues in Africa. Ambassadors have been advocating to find support for parents, teachers, Non-Government Organizations, and anyone working to keep children learning during and after this tough time.
Thanks to programs like these, this year, almost 3000 like-minded people are working together to increase awareness about the importance of literacy. There’s been a particular focus on how to reduce the pandemic’s impact on children’s education.
Making a difference
One way the World Literacy Foundation is already having a positive effect in Africa is through its Sun Books initiative by working with teachers and parents in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe during lockdown. Children in these remote areas are provided with innovative tablets preloaded with over 800 eBooks. They can read and play games on these devices without the need for internet connection or electricity . This is a game-changer to bridge the digital divide in African education!
Education is a human right and all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic conditions, should have access to quality education. We can all be a voice in our local community so let’s speak up for those in need whenever we can!