No country or university should say they did not see it coming.
Technology has been building up for this moment. Now that it is here with us, we must stand up for this momentous generational challenge.
It is indeed sad that it took COVID-19 to shock most of humanity, particularly those living in the so-called developing nations, about the need for total rethink on the delivery of education. But, technology has been warning us about it for decades.
Think about it: technology has replaced face-to-face discussions between parents and their children: they now use mobile phones, even while still living in the same home.
Technology has reduced the number of people, especially kids, playing in the fields; because there are applications and virtual games that have successfully hijacked the interests on the kids lying on beds on sitting on sofas.
Technology has even reduced the number of people going to the shopping malls and open market places; because on-line shopping is now the fad.
Technology has even reduced the number of people working in industries, especially manufacturing ones; because there are robots to do the jobs without even complaining or asking for pay rises, etc, etc.
Need I go further?
So, how come then that a lot of countries were caught pants-down when COVID-19 struck? In a lot of African countries today, education, including tertiary education, is at a standstill. Why? They have not integrated remote learning practices in their curricula. They are still stuck in the traditional pattern of knowledge sharing where one individual would stand in a classroom and telling students how to confront the challenges of the 21st century with 19th century equipment!
I will revisit this subject some other, more auspicious time.
For now, there is a paper co-authored by 34 Academics from 14 countries titled: “CHALLENGES OF RAPID MIGRATION TO FULLY VIRTUAL EDUCATION IN THE AGE OF THE CORONVIRUS PANDEMIC: EXPERIENCE FROM ACROSS THE WORLD”
This paper will be presented at the 25th Annual INSPIRE BCS e-Learning International Conference, holding on Thursday 16 July 2020.Yours sincerely is a part of this gargantuan project coordinated by Elli Georgiadou. And, si tu va bien (as we used to say it in French), I will be making my presentation remotely on that day.
Dr Dili Ojukwu wrote from United Kingdom