The Gambian National Commission for UNESCO and other stakeholders validated on Friday the “mapping of the current situation of the digital learning environment in The Gambia in the context of the educational response to Covid-19”.
The validation forum, sponsored by Unesco, was held in the NaNA conference room in Bakau and brought together a large number of stakeholders who deliberated on the draft report before validation.
Declaring the forum open, Momodou Jeng, director of the Curriculum Research Evaluation Directorate (CREDD), highlighted some of MoBSE’s interventions regarding the use of technology in the Gambian education system.
In Revision Policy 2016/2030 “we committed to using technology to complement traditional face-to-face teaching and learning in The Gambia and since that commitment we have had a series of initiatives as they have started piloting the use of technology in some cluster areas in 2009 and we have also established six hubs in regional offices to promote distance and blended learning, ”he said, while listing some of them.
He added that, among others, included the use of tablets for the development of early literacy and numeracy in 2014/2015, the use of technology to promote the development of science and mathematics in UBS and SSS in 2012 and expansion in 2013. The English language is now added, as they now explore the use of artificial intelligence to track real data on learning.
“So the use of technology for distance and blended learning has been there and that’s why in 2020 when the schools were declared closed, the MoBSE had no difficulty offering the platform. form of distance learning because we already have experience in the use of technology. ,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Secretary General of Unesco-Natcom, Ms Maimuna Sidibeh, Senior Program Officer at Unesco-Natcom, explained that the study is a mapping of existing learning platforms at national level which aim to identify stakeholders to engage in digital education teaching and learning activities during Covid-19 and beyond.
According to her, the study adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods and the survey collected primary data from targeted respondents while the key informant interviews and stakeholder consultations attempted to solicit the views of other key stakeholders and partners.
She also noted that there had been many initiatives, processes and practices with features of distance education and distance learning in the education sector, thus helping the country to build the resilience of the education and strengthen its capacity to adapt digital learning in emergencies.
Ndeban Joof Ndong, Deputy Coordinator of UNESCO Gambia Project for KOICA Funded TVET Youth Employment Project, said many African countries have asked Unesco and other partners international and bilateral organizations to help them develop their national Covid-19 response as well as the related return to school. plans.
According to her, some of these countries have also clearly indicated their willingness to involve Unesco in the design of a strategy aimed at ensuring the continuity of learning and / or second chance education for marginalized populations and to support the capacity building of teachers in distance education, as key pillars of the resilience education system.
“As a result, in March 2020, Unesco launched the Global Education Coalition to mobilize international solidarity and an innovative solution to ensure the continuity of learning in Member States,” she revealed.
She added that the coalition has developed a consortium of projects with UNESCO and the World Bank with financial support from GPE, has joined forces and has helped mitigate the immediate and long-term impact of the Covid pandemic. 19 on education and the sector.
“Within the framework of this consortium, UNESCO is responsible for supporting specific English-speaking countries of West Africa of the West Africa region as well as French-speaking countries and in particular with regard to the three interventions related to the West Africa region, ”she added.
She noted that the main objective of the digital learning platform mapping is to support the establishment of the regional distance and blended learning platform on knowledge sharing in English speaking countries of ‘West Africa.
The study for The Gambia, she noted, has been completed and the conclusion and analysis of the study would provide a comprehensive overview of interventions or innovations regarding digital learning during a time of crisis and the lessons of the implementation of the digital learning strategy during the Covid-. 19 period.
Siyat Gueye, project consultant, thanked UNESCO and the Gambian National Commission for giving him the opportunity to contribute his quota to the mapping of the digital learning environment in The Gambia.
He said the consultation exposed him to different ministries and regional actors, among others, while noting that the report highlighted some very important findings.