COVID-19 fuels need for inclusive digital literacy – UN, others

Panelists at the inaugural session of Canon’s thought leadership series say the Coronavirus Disease has highlighted the need for inclusive digital literacy.

United Nations Children’s Fund representative in Rwanda, Julianna Lindsey, and Account Senior Curriculum Development Officer at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Joseph Wambua, were panelists who spoke at the inaugural session.

Lindsay explained how Kenya and Rwanda responded swiftly to COVID-19 by using broadcast channels to produce educational programmes on radio and television to ensure continued learning.

“In Rwanda, about 80 per cent of children were able to access learning online, and the greatest success was in enabling access to devices with the help of the Ministry of Education and Non-Governmental Organisations.

“We realised that, even where there are devices, not all children, parents or teachers may have full awareness of how to access a web page, for instance. So, we learnt through this that it’s quite important to work on that digital literacy – for parents, teachers and learners/students,” she said.

On his part, Wambua, noted, “Blending solves a lot of problems for us – it makes people aware of the benefits of technology in the learning process, and helps us develop interactive learning content that can be universally accessed by every learner, regardless of status: whether autistic, hearing or sight-impaired.

“Governments should procure the necessary technologies, and parents, too, should provide the tools and resources for learners.”

According to Corporate Communications and Marketing Services Director, Canon Middle East and Canon Central and North Africa, Mai Youssef, the African Frontiers of Innovation seminar not only highlighted various successful interventions and strategies, it also outlined the need for all stakeholders to embrace the change that COVID-19 has ushered in its wake – and to strategise accordingly for future success.”

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