Covid-19 continues to disrupt schools in most parts of the world, including Africa, which recorded the least number of incidences.
Schools have reopened in South Africa after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said it was seeing a decrease in measles cases for a third consecutive week following an outbreak in five provinces between October and December 2022.
“The fact that we have seen a decrease in the number of positive cases could be attributed to the decrease in number of specimens that have been submitted, but there is a small possibility that it could represent a turnaround in the outbreak. However, a consensus amongst us in public health is that it is the former problem,” Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, a pathologist from the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the NICD.
In Malawi, schools also reopened after a deadly Cholera outbreak that claimed the lives of over 750 individuals since it was first reported in March last year. The two countries however remain on the lookout with concerns that the reopening of schools may reverse the gains made in containing the two diseases.
In East Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda have seen schools reopen as shortage of infrastructure and limited resources ripped the region.
In Kenya, school academic calendar is back to normal following the interruptions occasioned by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as schools reopen, most parents decried the high cost of learning materials.
In terms of financing, Kenya’s education sector received a shot in the arm after an American multinational partnered with the country’s Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to set up the J&J Foundation Advanced Nursing Education Fund.
Unveiling the partnership in Nairobi, HELB noted that Kenyan students will access quality education and an affordable cost.
Tech and Education
The latest threat in education is however far from infrastructure. Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (ChatGPT), an AI-powered chatbot released by tech company OpenAI in November last year has shaken the education sector with industry players having divergent reactions towards the technology.
The conversational bot which can answer questions, type essays and presentations has left educators saying it will compromise academic assessment and enable cheating leading to a crisis in the education sector.
“Our traditional ways of evaluating students based on take home, open book, term papers, just won’t really work anymore, because you’re not really going to know whether the student really wrote that paper,” Dr. Mark Schneider, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, told ABC News.