Increase funding towards e-learning, African govts urged

AFRICAN governments, in collaboration with national and international partners, have been urged to increase funding towards e-learning to ensure that schoolchildren are not left behind, children’s rights lobby group has
said.

BY PRECIOUS CHIDA

Save the Children said COVID-19 induced economic aftershocks risked pushing an additional 33 million children into poverty and with malaria levels projected to regress to levels of some 20 years ago, an estimated 265 million younger children might be forced out of school.

“Save the Children calls on governments, in collaboration with national and international partners, to increase funding to urgently ensure appropriate distance learning solutions are adopted by investing in appropriate low-tech, inclusive, gender-responsive and affordable distance education methods,” Save the Children said in its pan-African policy paper released this week.

Zimbabwe has been advocating for e-learning following the closure of schools due to COVID-19, but children’s rights lobby groups have decried the social and economic inequalities among pupils in urban centres and those in the rural areas.

Prospects on the reopening of schools look bleak, with MPs last week throwing their weight behind teachers’ unions which have advised against the opening of schools before the COVID-19 crisis is declared over.

Save the Children added: “Those strategies need to ensure continuity via low cost systems, such as radio program, to integrate the most vulnerable who don’t have access to TV and digital platforms and they also need to be accessible in accessible languages.”

The lobby group said African member states needed an integrated response plan for all children outside of family care.

According to the policy paper, children make up 59% of Africa’s refugees and 50% of its internally displaced people.

Africa is regarded as the last frontier globally in the fight against extreme poverty with seven out of every 10 (70%) of the world’s poorest people living in Africa.

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