Prof. David Namwandi
As Rasha Ismail and co-authors maintain, I strongly believe academics and education stakeholders should also be aware that e-learning for university modules may not offer much automation compared to the traditional brick and mortar classroom model of lecturing (delivery).
We, however, have no choice but to embrace the inevitable change brought about not only by the 4th industrial revolution but also by Covid-19. As more universities worldwide gravitate towards or adopt e-learning models, the central theme should be around vital quality assurance processes to ensure nothing is left to chance during this transformation period. Therefore, the online automation process of evaluation should be attained with significant efficiency at all times.
The current trend shall definitely lead to a wholesale cultural shift. It is thus imperative to note that it is unlikely that post Covid-19 all shall return to our usual way of doing business. To the whole world this is thus a wakeup call, a missed call for that matter, as the real call is yet to be made. University leaders and IT experts should, therefore, roll up their sleeves and meet the challenges head on, by devising and inventing new but reliable E-Systems able to keep academic communication lines open and uninterrupted. We in Africa should not wait for the Messiah to come from elsewhere, we should move with the trend in order to become masters of our own destiny. The education of our people should not come to a standstill because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, instead, it should rather be intensified through various e-learning mechanisms, without compromising the education standards and I am certain history shall absolve us.
While it is crucial to tackle the current situation with limited resources, it is my wish that post Covid-19, should witness Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional educational institutions implement a SADC Protocol on education and training to the letter, by forging linkages with the view to create genuine and equitable regional integration. SADC Protocol on education and training’s objective is in fact the foundation of integration because the much-needed resources and input are shared amongst SADC states particularly with respect to education.
Post Covid-19, globally education and training shall never be the same again. There shall be a paradigm shift in curriculum development and pedagogically delivery mode. Since education will be strictly based on science, technology and engineering. Huge resources shall need to be mobilised and marshalled in order to mitigate the effects of the post Covid-19 on education and training. Gone are the days when governments, the private sector and multi–national organisations paid lip service to the needs of the peoples of the African continent. Now is the time, more than ever, for all stakeholders to put their hands together to find global solutions to these new challenges. Just as was the case in the Spanish Flu of 1918, the outbreak of the new corona virus should serve as a case study to remind all of us that the world is a global village i.e. an injury to one is indeed an injury to all.
It should equally be noted that such an outbreak brings tension and apprehension and the new coronavirus is not an exception. It is my conviction that the new e-learning pedagogical approach will definitely help education institutions to defeat the negative effects of this pandemic on teaching and learning.
*Professor David Namwandi is a former education minister in the Republic of Namibia and the founder and the Council Chair of the International University of Management (IUM) the largest privately owned tertiary institution in Namibia.