Five lessons learnt from Bangladesh’s experience responding to COVID-19

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Written by OpenDevEd’s Tom Kaye, Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar of a2i, and Iqbal Hossain from UNICEF. This blog was first published on 15th July 2020 as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EdTech series on The EdTech Hub website under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

In recent months, the EdTech Hub has produced a range of documents to support and guide countries as they develop and implement plans to help students keep learning during school closures. Some of the work we have produced includes:

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Is there learning continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic? Six Lessons

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An effective education response to the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be built on solid evidence and data. For example, what do you know about your population? How many families own radios and televisions? Do children use — and actually learn from — online learning platforms? How much time — if any — do learners spend studying at home?

While the edtech landscape has drastically changed in the past decade, research on edtech has not kept pace (https://edtechhub.org). At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was initially very little data on efforts to ensure learning continuity during school closures. However, a number of research groups have recently conducted surveys and collected data on the education response to COVID-19. Here, we take a look at some of the emerging evidence and summarise this data in six initial lessons.

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Building effective COVID-19 education response plans: Insights from Africa and Asia

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This blog post is a cross-post from EdTech Hub‘s blog https://edtechhub.org/2020/06/25/building-effective-covid-19-education-response-plans-insights-from-africa-and-asia/ (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0). The blog post was written by Jenn Cotter Otieno, Erik Kimenyi, and Tom Kaye on the 25th of June 2020.

As countries around the world rapidly respond to the educational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic many countries have begun to leverage technology to provide educational continuity. We at the EdTech Hub are working with many countries to help them design interventions to support learning during this crisis. The first question we are asked by our counterparts in these countries is: How can we design an effective COVID-19 education sector response plan?

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Department for International Development merger with Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Let us learn from our past

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On June 16th, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his decision to the House of Commons to merge the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). This decision is not a complete surprise, given that Mr Johnson openly sought to persuade Theresa May to give him the aid department in 2016 after he became foreign secretary. 

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Reflecting on epistemic injustices in open and online education

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In memory of Hector Pieterson and the hundreds of student protesters that were brutally murdered by police on the 16 June 1976 in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. The Soweto Uprising refers to the protests by black South African high school students during apartheid against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

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Helping you find and compare EdTech tools

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This blog post is a cross-post from EdTech Hub‘s blog https://edtechhub.org/2020/06/09/helping-you-find-and-compare-edtech-tools/ (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0). The blog post was written on the 9th of June 2020.

We’re excited to publish the first version of a tool to help you find and compare EdTech tools. 

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Supporting innovation in the time of COVID: What we’ve done and what we’ll do next

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This blog post is a cross-post from EdTech Hub‘s blog https://edtechhub.org/2020/06/02/supporting-innovation-in-the-time-of-covid-what-weve-done-and-what-well-do-next/ (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0). The blog post was written by Alice Carter on the 2nd of June 2020.

When COVID-19 emerged as a clear and present danger, we in the Hub innovation team were forced to rethink our plans for 2020. We previously told you about our work and how it looks to support and scale innovation with real people in real life. Now we had to reassess what this would look like and how it could be most effective in responding to global school closures. 

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Activating local study-groups for children’s learning—an equitable EdTech response?

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This blog post is a cross-post from EdTech Hub‘s blog https://edtechhub.org/2020/05/29/activating-local-study-groups-for-childrens-learning-an-equitable-edtech-response/ (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0). The blog post was written by Tom Power on the 29th of May 2020.

An equitable educational response to the COVID school closures must recognise that, in low and middle-income countries, as shown by UNICEF data most children affected by such closures do not have access to the internet. Policymakers and educators must then find ways to provide learning opportunities offline. Learning does not happen just by giving children educational materials—children also need time, space and support. 

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Why the COVID Crisis Is Not EdTech’s Moment in Africa

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Author: Lee CrawFurd, Centre for Global Development

This blog was originally posted on the Center for Global Development blog on the 18th May 2020. Open Development & Education is part of The EdTech Hub and the data used here was from the EdTech Hub’s database of interventions. This database, which was initially limited to sub-Saharan Africa, now has a global scope. While the data is still partial (e.g. doesn’t include broader lists of edtech startups from South Africa or Ikeja, Abuja, and Lagos in Nigeria) the insights made in this article are extremely valuable. Even if the estimates were off by a factor of 2 or 3, points about the optimal use of digital learning still hold true. As the blog suggests, there is a need to increase the database’s representation of interventions in other regions. Please add your EdTech intervention to help us grow it!

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