The current COVID-19 crisis presents a huge opportunity for the adoption of e-learning platforms. Students are stuck in their homes indefinitely and teachers don’t have a great way of delivering learning content to students.
The Ministry of Primary & Secondary Education reportedly urged learners to embrace e-learning platforms like Ruzivo;
As the Ministry comes up with a raft of measures to engage its learners, parents/guardians are urged to encourage learners to continue studying.
In the interim, learners are advises to log into the Ruzivo platform for study materials and other educational related material.Ministry of Primary & Secondary Education
Whilst the Ministry says they are coming up with e-learning solutions, this statement still poses a huge problem in that a huge segment of the students simply will not have the means to access e-learning platforms.
If not for the lack of hardware (i.e tablets/computers/smartphones) to access these e-learning platforms, those who have the hardware still don’t have the money to buy data bundles on a daily basis to access the educational content.
Whilst some private schools in the country have migrated to Google Classrooms and pupils have continued studying with little to no disruption, the average primary and secondary school pupils simply cannot afford to continue learning as long as this nation-wide lockdown continues.
Challenges of developing such a system
Whilst we can take heart from the fact that the Ministry has gotten a wake-up call and are coming up “with a raft of measures” regarding e-learning solutions, there will no doubt be many questions that need answering.
How will the government ensure content for whatever e-Learning solution they come up with is engaging? They will have to develop structured and technically designed learning programs as well as to combine online and face-to-face learning sessions.
The delivery on these platforms is critical as there seems to be a correlation between delivery and student performance:
One study confirmed that students’ achievement goals and instructors’ expertise and support have a strong impact on learning achievements and students’ satisfactionE-Learning Implementation in Developing Countries: Perspectives and Obstacles Research Paper
Does the Ministry have resources to roll-out the necessary hardware to schools across the country if they put in place an e-learning program? How will they roll-out such a program?
These are all difficult questions that I don’t have answers to but what is clear is that there are obstacles to e-learning in developing countries; investments are needed in every area from hardware, software licenses, learning material development, to equipment maintenance, and training and it will be interesting to see if our government is up to task and can deal with the issues before them.