Results and Discussion
Conclusions and Recommendations
The beginning of the year 2020 saw a lot of disruptions in many spheres such the social, economic, religious and political spheres due to the global outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease. As such, teaching and learning in many education institutions was also disrupted. This paper presents pedagogical strategies employed by some teachers and schools in ten districts of Zambia to ensure continuity of teaching and learning amidst the pandemic. The districts included; Kabwe, Kapiri-Mposhi, Mpongwe, Mkushi, Kitwe, Kafue, Luanshya, Lusaka, Mazabuka and Monze. A research survey was necessary in order to find out what strategies teachers and schools were implementing to meet the challenges of the Corona Virus pandemic. The results would serve as a sharing point of pedagogy strategies for many educators who would love to see the continuity of the teaching and learning process in the face of a pandemic. Interviews, testimonies, observations and participant observations were employed to obtain the results for this study.
Key words Covid-19, Pandemic, Pedagogy, Strategy, Continuity, Personal Reflections.
Cennimo (2020) defines Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as an, “…illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019-nCoV), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China”.
Worldwide, various spheres of society including Zambia as a whole responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. UNICEF,(2020 reported that, “Schools closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning, affecting around 325 million children...and putting gains made in education at risk”. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a major reconfiguration of our pedagogical strategies not only in Zambia but globally. On a more profound level, our compliance with the virus containment measures has affected the way we measure productivity, challenged our efforts to cultivate professional and personal relationships, school calendars have been upturned, frustrated examinations, assessments, delayed graduations and even changed the way we experience time and space.
None the less, in some situations the pandemic provided opportunities for reconfiguring the teaching and learning process to meet the health safe guards advocated by WHO and local health authorities. Amidst this period of global disruption, educational facilities around the world implemented various measures with the intent of maintaining the continuity of educational programs while safeguarding the interests of public health. A common experience for teaching staff, for example, is having been made to resort to remote teaching via various online platforms in response to the sudden closure of schools and campuses and other educational facilitates such as public libraries. The innovations that the pandemic had necessitated provided us with an opportunity to reconsider the present and future of education policies, particularly in terms of teaching strategies, student welfare and the state of our schools as significant players in the global knowledge economy.
Akhtar states that, “research design can be considered as the structure of research as it is the “Glue” that holds all of the elements in a research project together…”, (2016:68). For this study, qualitative case study was used. Borwankar explains that, “In a case study, the insight-stimulating cases should be selected for special study. For particular problems, certain cases may be found more appropriate than others. The observations of strangers or foreigners may be very valuable, with reference to a certain community or culture. In a case study, the researcher himself has to be very alert”, (1995:45). The study covered ten districts and sampled ten respondents from each district; total respondents were one hundred (fifty learners and fifty educators).
Results and Discussion
Many personal reflections, complexities and possibilities of scholarly practices are shared by teachers at different levels from various Zambian districts regarding the pandemic pedagogies (strategies) employed. The findings from the ten districts surveyed; Kabwe, Kapiri-Mposhi, Mpongwe, Mkushi, Kitwe, Kafue, Luanshya, Lusaka, Mazabuka and Monze district were astounding. What the schools were doing in these districts was illuminated by the efforts of the Commonwealth where they initiated NotesMaste r; a project which was specifically designed for Zambian Schools for remote teaching and learning. A Kabwe based teacher was identified and nominated to be the country representative to implement the online skills training, install various solar powered equipment to cater for rural schools, and those affected by electricity load-shading. When interviewed, the NotesMaster country representative expressed enthusiasm at the various efforts that were being spearheaded by schools to sustain continuity in education amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Zambia.
More reflections from School Mangers and Classroom teachers indicate that schools have put in place various measures depending on their capacity. For instance, one school heavily relied on the use of the email facility to deliver Weekly Learning Packs and well sequenced WhatsApp Video Lessons prepared by the grade teachers. Parents who cannot afford the online lessons due to lack of computers, and other necessary gadgets were encouraged to pick hard copy Weekly Learning Packs for their children. Grade six learners interviewed indicated that they found the WhatsApp Video Lessons by their teacher very easy to follow and comprehend, challenges with this pedagogy was when it came to asking questions since the lessons were pre-recorded. Pre-grade learners shared the same sentiment.
Higher learning institutions have not been spared from the Covid 19 pandemic effects. Li and Lalani (2020) state that, “…education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms”. Pedagogies through various video conferencing Apps, live streaming, WhatsApp classes, Learning Management Systems (LMS), Google Meet, Zoom, Facebook classes, etc have risen to the occasion to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The researcher remembers receiving a phone call from a colleague who was having challenges initiating an online class with his 4th year Undergraduate students. No sooner had the researcher answered the call than he went, “My brother, I am trying to have class with my students on Zoom Conferencing but there is no volume, how do I fix this?”. The researchers’ first reaction was laughter, but then knew the caller was serious so without hesitation guided the caller step by step on how to simply unmute the volume on zoom. It may sound trivial, but these were the challenges and sad realities that were faced with the abrupt shift of teaching and learning from the traditional face to face to using ICT’s in a developing country.
The researchers’ interaction with learners in Kabwe and other districts indicated that their reflections on the new mode of learning through Learner Management systems (LMS) and other digital medium posed serious challenges ranging from accessibility in terms of gadgets, bad network in certain areas, cost of internet and delayed feedback from their teachers, lecturers or tutors. The ICT infrastructure in Zambia and particularly in rural areas was not ready for this sudden paradigm shift in the teaching and learning strategies. This shift had the potential to widen the existing inequalities for those that already faced shortcomings in accessing or using ICT’s for teaching and learning purposes.
In addition, the Ministry of General Education’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was to launch a television channel. “The Edu TV Channel broadcasts classroom-based learning and life-skills programmes for children from primary to secondary level, based on the Zambian national curriculum. The channel was launched through the collaboration between MultiChoice Zambia, as part of its CSI initiatives; the Ministry of General Education and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) with the aim to deliver televised education to Zambian learners considering the school calendar changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, (Mwebantu,2020).
Conclusions and Recommendations
Analysis of the survey data obtained in this case study indicates that regardless of the challenges faced by many learners, teachers, lecturers and parents during the Covid-19 pandemic in Zambia, many various stake holders’ reflections showed that they were determined to keep the learning going. Challenges such as poor internet connectivity, expensive internet bundles, electricity load-shading, poor attendance by learners and inadequate video editing skills did not deter educators in the selected districts that were surveyed; education continuity was and still is a must. It is recommended that more initiatives aimed at improving the coverage of internet, accessibility to computers or mobile devices, ICT skills for both educators and learners should be seriously considered by all stake holders in the provision of quality education in Zambia.
- Quote paper
- Owen Mulima (Author), 2020, Covid-19 and Pandemic Pedagogy in Zambia. Pedagogical Strategies in ten Districts of Zambia, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/933604