AFRICA/MALAWI - Covid-19 imposes the need to enhance the e-learning offer

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 coronavirus   education   school   local churches  

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - Educational institutions in Malawi are going through a difficult period, between strikes and closures linked to the containment measures of Covid-19. The Catholic University of Malawi Registrar, Francis NKhoma is of the view that e-learning could offer a solution to the needs of pupils to continue their studies. "Thanks to distance learning, the calendar is not interrupted and it provides access to learning materials to students who have been disturbed with unprepared closure", said Nkhoma.
Concurring with Nkhoma, education activist Benedicto Kondowe suggests that e-learning could have been a milestone achievement on Malawi’s education years back as most countries have moved a step further to integrate such mode of teaching students. However, Kondowe was quick to question the practicality of e-learning in Malawi due to inadequate infrastructural development, system design and access to the internet that remains a problem to many citizens.
"The assumption will be that every space is accessible to the internet which is not the case and it will pose a huge challenge to those that are staying in typical rural areas which are not accessible to the internet", said Kondowe, who then called on the government to invest in e -learning as a way to support higher education institutions.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology, William Susuwele Banda, said that e-learning remains an optional teaching to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, but has pledged to support it. "Soon - he said - I will be meeting service providers in this country, including development partners who have offered themselves to step in and support the process, and other key stakeholders because these issues are to do with policies, some service providers say the internet is expensive because of tax that is charged on it", said Susuwele Banda.
The Catholic University of Malawi is currently eying to have e-learning of teaching its students while waiting on the government to announce when it is safe for students to be in schools. (L.B.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/5/2020)