Distance learning solutions have been deployed over the past month in a vast majority of countries, but how effective are they in reaching the world’s 1.5 billion students affected by school closures?
‘’The effectiveness of the strategies is mainly conditioned by four levels of preparedness: technical preparedness, content readiness, pedagogical preparedness and monitoring and evaluation,’’ explained Mr Borhene Chakroun, Director of the Division of Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems at UNESCO, opening the fifth Covid-19 webinar on 17 April. These four dimensions encompass access to distance learning options; the availability of online content aligned to the national curriculum; the pedagogical readiness of teachers as well as parents and caregivers, and the tracking of students’ progress. Obstacles at each of these levels can affect learning continuity, especially for the most marginalized students.
During the webinar, over 280 participants discussed such topics as phases of implementation of distance learning solutions, lessons learned from countries, assessment of distance learning practices and integrated and system-wide planning.
Concluding the webinar session, Mr Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, stressed the importance of an integrated approach to planning distance learning strategies. Such an approach leverages synergies between online, television and radio channels, to ensure that distance learning is used to its fullest potential.