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Adult education and learning in the time of COVID-19: African voices and experiences

| The MOJA Team | Photo Credit: YusufALE under Covid-19

We are living in uncertain and unprecedented times. COVID-19 has spread throughout the African continent. In July, 2021, COVID-19 has affected 47 countries on the continent with more than 5 million cases and 140,000 reported deaths. The roll out of vaccine has been slow. The World Health Organisation says that 200 million doses is required to vaccinate 10% of the African population by then end of September 2021.

COVID-19 has also shown its effects on the social and economic sectors of the continent. Whilst these effects vary from country to country and in regions within countries, COVID-19 is challenging health provision and support and has shut down education systems, as well as large sectors of the economy. In some contexts the pandemic has also begun to challenge socio-economic systems in their ability to respond and provide for the needs of socially and economically vulnerable groups. Some of the key issues that are beginning to be experienced relate to food and hunger, healthcare, access to water, shelter and basic income.

Adult education on the African continent plays a significant role in addressing the socio-economic needs and interests of adult learners and communities, building community livelihoods and economies as well as contributing to national economic systems. Most of the adult education systems on the continent are oriented towards adult learning of marginalised and vulnerable groups including adults, youth and adult educators. COVID-19 is likely to exacerbate the current conditions and circumstances of these groups.

It is during this uncertain and unpredictable time that we encourage adult educators across the broad spectrum of the field to reflect on ways in which the gains in adult education systems-building is being affected; the opportunities that have opened up to advance adult education systems-building; and potential areas that are opening up new ways of thinking and doing adult education.

As part of the MOJA In-focus series, we are publishing links to a variety of short articles on COVID-19 collected from different regions and countries in Africa. These articles draw attention to social and economic systems in different parts of the continent. We hope that these articles would also encourage adult educators to think about:

  • Issues exposed and amplified during COVID-19 that require adult educational responses.
  • Effects of COVID-19 on adult learning in communities, organisations and institutions.
  • The effects of COVID-19 on the role and work of adult education practitioners.
  • The likely reorganisation of adult education in society and its impact on adult education systems building
  • Opportunities and strategies to advance adult education in society.

MOJA would also like to invite adult educators to share their own stories on adult education and learning in the time of COVID-19. Short articles could be shared through the platform.

Look out for our upcoming webinar on adult education and COVID-19!

Photo Credit: Yusuf

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