The COVID-19 crisis canceled or suspended physical meetings, both at national and international around the world. However, strategic reflections and decision-making on education and development issues has not ceased. Massive use of digital tools, bringing together players in the education sector around the world is observed. From April to June 2020, some partners of Pamoja WA have organized several webinars and online meetings to which the Network had been invited and participated.
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) organized a series of webinars (in English and French) on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on education. The webinar of the 12th May focused on “Budget advocacy for education during the COVID-19 crisis“. It highlighted the challenges and opportunities that the current health crisis induces for adequate funding of education. The central concern was: will the health crisis linked to COVID-19 support or hinder progress towards SDG-4 in terms of financing? The issue of debt, the role of taxation and the outlook for the future were also reviewed. The other webinar held on June 3 around the “COVID-19 Perspectives of Francophone Countries” addressed the issue of the right to education during the COVID-19 crisis in Francophone countries as well as the crucial role that CSOs must play in order to achieve the objectives of all the targets of SDG 4. Analysis of the situations in France, Africa and Senegal provided an opportunity to discuss the difficulties induced by the crisis and the exchange of experiences, the reopening of schools, the preparation for a second wave or other crises, etc. Recordings of these webinars are available at the links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG0d77d-mhs&feature=youtu.be and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwX30W7FB6s&feature=youtu.be.
The Education Network of the Swiss Cooperation also organized two sessions (in French and English) of its “COVID-19 & Education” webinar series (see: https://www.shareweb.ch/site/Education/Documents/SmartPages/Covid-19%20_%20Education/2020-04_EDU%20COVID%20webinar_EN_FIN.pdf ).
The first one (9, April) focused on both providing advice on education programs in these exceptional times and learning from community experiences. It appears that learning should continue in high, low or without technology environments and the different channels available can and should be used in combination. The webinar further clarify questions about the Education Fund’s special COVID-19 funding window recently launched by the SDC. The second webinar (18, May) was themed “Education at the heart of intersectoral action in response to COVID-19“. This webinar was organized in collaboration with Save the Children and the Swiss Network for Educational Innovation. It highlighted the importance of intersectoral action to meet the needs of children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the key role of education in intersectoral interventions for the integral development of learners.
The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) is producing a series of webinars to support Education in Emergencies (EIE) practitioners during the COVID-19 crisis. Each webinar draws on the collective wisdom of the EIE community gained over the past decades, and seeks to provide practical advice and technical support to practitioners already working in challenging contexts. During this quarter, several interesting themes were discussed. Recordings and presentations of all webinars are available at the following link: https://inee.org/covid-19 .
At last, Bridge 47 and ICAE co-hosted on June 10, 2020 an online workshop on the theme: “COVID-19: Right Time for Transformative Education and Systemic Change?”. Two brief presentations opened up perspectives and questions on systemic change, transformative learning and global citizenship education in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Facilitated by Timo Holthoff (VENRO/Bridge 47) and Shermaine Barrett (Vice-President of ICAE and Dean of the Jamaica University of Technology), participants discussed how the COVID-19 crisis is changing content and orientation of educational work and how we can and want to change it.
These online workshops were great opportunities for exchange and networking, but also a space for reflection on our collective and individual apprenticeship.