The world has been jolted by the Coronavirus [COVID–19] pandemic, with the confirmation globally, that more than 227,953 people have tested positive, 85,985 recovered from attack and 9,312 are dead from the virus [WHO as of 19 March 2020]. The Global Partnership for Education has posted that more than 849 million children and students have been pushed out of schools and colleges, in more than 117 countries, as of 18 March 2020, and the statistics are likely to escalate exponentially, by the day. Africa has not been spared, though the epicenter of what started in Wuhan China is at the moment considered to be Europe.
ANCEFA wishes to express deep sympathies with families who have lost loved ones, solidarity with survivors and the affected, and encouragement to many a communities and governments struggling day and night to keep the virus at bay through the WHO guidelines and practices of combating COVID-19.
ANCEFA further wishes to urge the key Education stakeholders – and primarily, governments across the continent of Africa – to DEFEND Education and take appropriate measures that would prioritize safety of children, students, families and communities, and enhance sustainable learning among the all learners.
In particular, ANCEFA urges the governments to:
- ) Declare COVID-19 a national crisis and engage the respective countries’ resources in combating the menace, sparing no effort to fight and defeat coronavirus.
- ) Make safety of learners and teachers first priority, and where risk of exposure is imminent as has been shown to be the case in most crowded places like schools and universities, closure and securing the facilities should be undertaken urgently.
- ) Protect funding allocated to the Education system to maintain the Right to Education for all learners. This is NOT the time to abuse funds meant for Education. Transparent and accountable application is called for.
- ) Engage innovative methods of sustaining learning for the students through new technology, electronic and digital media, and other creative approaches experienced during Ebola crisis such as community radio programmes on Education.
- ) Encourage parents to provide needed support to their kids at home during closure period for continued wellbeing and learning.
- ) Engage the public in regular, honest and candid update on the status of the COVID–19 situation in the respective countries, and measures being taken to combat it.
- ) Roll out a truly inclusive partnership of actors in combating COVID-19.
ANCEFA will work with National Education Coalitions in Africa to continue engaging their governments to ensure that the Right to Education for all learners is protected and alternative learning mechanisms are put in place in countries where schools are closed down.
This world is our home, Education is our tool, COVID-19 cannot stop Education and Learning. Signed by and on behalf of ANCEFA
Mr. Samuel DEMBELE
ANCEFA Board Chairperson