Remote learning experiences
The case of the University of Namibia
by Bruno venditto
The outbreak of COVID-19 at the end of 2019 produced a worldwide blockage of activities and also generated alarm in the field of training. Because of the virus transmission, favoured by the simple proximity of people, to contain the pandemic most governments imposed an initial closure of all non-essential production and teaching activities. In May 2020, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) calculated that 161 countries had carried out various forms of school closures, with more than 69.4% of the total population of students (enrolled in pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher schools), for a total of almost 1.2 billion children and young people.
What have we learned from this experience? What considerations can we make from the point of view of teaching and administrative organisation?
Bruno Venditto, Researcher of the Institute of Studies on the Mediterranean of the CNR and expert in human mobility and economic development, analyses these issues after his teaching experience at the University of Namibia during the lockdown period due to Covid19.
In Namibia as well, the closure of schools, colleges and universities has caused the interruption of teaching, with the cancellation or postponement of many exams, or the adoption of distance learning. But because of the different distribution of resources and the problems arising from social and economic inequalities, all this risks leading to an increase in the social and economic gap between students.
On a global level, however, it can be observed that in 2019, before the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, investment in educational technology had reached 18.66 billion dollars and the market was expected to reach 350 billion dollars by 2025. The pandemic therefore provided an opportunity to test the use of these new technologies on a global scale, which, in theory, can be an effective tool to promote education everywhere.
But to achieve this, especially in disadvantaged contexts such as many "developing" countries, fast, capillary and stable connections are needed everywhere, the right technology for everyone. And, as Bruno Venditto observes, it is above all necessary that educational institutions increase their efforts to train all students in the use of these new technologies, for some not yet accessible or sufficiently known.
To find out more:
Venditto, Educational experiences under COVID 19: What we have learned from the teaching and administrative point of view. Presentation to the 6th CPD Annual Conference for Educators (23-24 November 2020)
Venditto, Online Education Experiences: From disappointment to friendly mode of learning (in: Development Studies Newsletter UNAM-University of Namibia (vo. 2, issue 2, April 2020)
Some of the scientific work on the subject of remote education:
Venditto and Rachel Ndinelao Shanyanana-Amaambo, The effect of novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak on access to eucation for the marginalised groups (In book: COVID-19: A Global pandemic, a Namibia Perspective)
Bruno Venditto (CNR-ISMed) has been involved in African migration and gender studies for many years, and has published several articles and chapters on this topic in scientific and popular books and journals, including:
2020 Gender Based Violence in Contemporary Namibia: An unsaid tale of changing male-female power relationships, in Fallaci, E. (Ed) Women and Empowerment: Opportunities and Challenges, pp. 199-219. NY: Nova Science Publisher
2019 The construction of the self: Narrative of rural migration in contemporary Namibia, Africa N.S, 1, (2), 97-118
2018 Migrations: an account of women’s empowerment in contemporary Namibia, Journal of Namibian Studies, 24, 85-106
23 novembre 2020