COVID-19 Response

A Note from the Director:

The COVID-19 pandemic impacts nations all across the world with profound implications for healthcare, economies, and wider society and thus requires a coordinated global response. Yet, as we have seen with previous pandemics, this virus is not an equal opportunity killer: it disproportionately targets the most vulnerable in society because they are more exposed, more fragile, and more impoverished.  

The same inequity is true for those children who can no longer attend school. The digital divide has long since impacted low-resource and rural schools’ responses to crises that necessitate distance learning, and children in remote and rural parts of countries are often excluded from internet-dependent learning programs, being disproportionately-adversely affected by school disruptions and closures. Now, in the midst of the current COVID-19 epidemic, there is an opportunity to learn and document, in real-time, how these schools are approaching wide scale closures, including nutrition and distance learning challenges. 

The University of Notre Dame’s Global Center for Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC) has launched its COVID-19 Education initiative to rapidly identify innovations and promising practices to ensure children in remote, rural and marginalized communities are able to continue their learning and/or meet food security needs.  Interviews with global education innovators will be shared in real time, along with examples of promising practices to address school closures due to the COVID-19 epidemic.  We hope this initiative will both inform current efforts to respond to the pandemic, as well create an index of effective practices to inform and improve schools’ responses to inevitable crises in rural and/or low-resource contexts in the future.

- Dr. Neil Boothby

To learn more about the global impact of school closures due to COVID-19, check out this GC-DWC infographic.

Country Responses

Over the next few weeks, the GC-DWC's global team will conduct interviews with educators from around the world to learn about the different responses to school closures amidst COVID-19. In the sections below, organized by country, the team identifies some of its preliminary findings regarding the primary obstacles school closures present for schools in rural and remote communities as well as some of the innovative practices in place to reach marginalized learners.

Briefs

The GC-DWC’s Colombia team is in the process of conducting interviews with teachers and principals working in public schools in Colombia. In the interview briefs below, they identify some of their preliminary findings regarding the primary obstacles school closures present for schools in rural and marginalized communities as well as some of the innovative practices in place to reach marginalized learners.

 

Preliminary Findings, April 13-17 2020    Hallazgos Preliminares, Abril 13-17 2020


Preliminary Findings, April 8-11 2020    Hallazgos Preliminares, Abril 8-11 2020


Preliminary Findings, April 20-24 2020    Hallazgos Preliminares, Abril 20-24 2020


Preliminary Findings, April 24-May 1 2020    Hallazgos Preliminares, Abril 24-Mayo 1 2020


Preliminary Findings, May 4-8 2020    Hallazgos Preliminares, May 4-8 2020


Preliminary Findings, May 11-25 2020 

Briefs

The GC-DWC’s global team is in the process of conducting interviews with NGOs, community leaders, and educators working in Kenya. In the interview brief below, they identify some of their preliminary findings regarding the primary obstacles school closures present for schools in rural and marginalized communities as well as some of the innovative practices in place to reach marginalized learners.

Preliminary Findings, April 8-17 2020


Special Edition Interviews

 

Disruptions to the System

In this interview, Hannah Chandler, GC-DWC research associate, and Samuel Mukundi discuss the disruptions COVID-19 has caused to the community and education systems in Kenya.

Distance Learning in Rural Communities

In this interview, Hannah Chandler, GC-DWC research associate, and Mary Wangui discuss the unique challenges parents and students face when adopting distance learning strategies in rural areas. These challenges include but extend beyond access to technology.

A Value-Based Education

The GC-DWC picks this interview up midway through with John Mugo, Director of the ZiziAfrique Foundation. In this excerpt, John shares a collaborative effort among multiple institutions to begin an initiative centered on value-based education during COVID-19 in Kenya. The initiative is two-fold with a project under development for routine building with families as well as one for empathy.

Download the Team's Value-Based Learning in Adversity Guide

Overview

Due to political unrest and COVID-19, in the 2019-2020 school year alone, students in Haiti will miss 115 days of school. COVID-19-prompted school closures provide an opportunity to learn, in real-time, the extent to which Haiti’s education system is prepared to handle shocks as well as to assess what infrastructures currently exist or need to be developed to create resilient distance and hybrid learning programs in the future. To learn more about Haiti's education system and the infrastructure in place for digital learning, check out this GC-DWC infographic.


Briefs

The GC-DWC’s global team is in the process of conducting interviews with NGOs, community leaders, and educators working in Haiti. In the interview briefs below, they share the insights and practices of some of these innovators and educators.

1. Problem Solving

Not wanting to compromise his students' education, Jude Delia, a science teacher from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, sprang into action when schools closed in Haiti due to COVID-19. Read about his efforts to televise his lessons and reach as many students as possible. More...

2. PRODEV

PRODEV, a Haitian NGO, runs 17 schools across Haiti, serving 3,000 students. In this brief, Blaise Aridou, an education program director for PRODEV, shares some of the practices of two PRODEV schools in response to COVID-19 school closures and the missing links in PRODEV's radio distance learning initiative. More...


Radio Programming

Recognizing radio as the most democratic and effective means of disseminating learning materials in Haiti during COVID-19, the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Haiti and the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services Haiti (CRS) and the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education (CEEC), created three radio programs - a literacy program supplemented with a reading hour program, and a pre-K social and emotional learning (SEL) and parent engagement  program - as part of a comprehensive approach to distance learning in a low-tech environment.

Strong Beginnings/Read Haiti Radio Programs


Special Edition Interviews

From Classrooms to Radio

Dr. Anasthasie Liberiste-Osirus explains how the GC-DWC's Strong Beginnings initiative, in partnership with ACE Haiti’s Read Haiti initiative, is designing and implementing a robust distance learning plan to serve children and families in Haiti. Existing literacy curriculum currently being used in schools across Haiti has been modified for delivery through the Catholic Radio network to deliver lessons in Creole and French.

Download the Team's Radio Curriculum Guide

 

Widening the Gaps

In this interview, Cassandre Regnier from Summits Education in Haiti discusses with GC-DWC's Michael Berino how COVID-19 has widened the educational gap between high and low resource settings even further and shares some of the innovative ways Summits has supported the non-academic needs of its students.

Producing a Radio Show

Cyril Pressoir from the GC-DWC's Strong Beginnings team discusses the details of producing a radio show during COVID-19 in Haiti. Learn about the team's creative efforts to locate a transmitter during a global pandemic and produce a radio show while working from home with spotty internet.

The GC-DWC’s Peru team conducted a series of key-informant interviews at the national level in Peru to better understand the challenges facing the education sector and innovations that emerged within the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings from these interviews are summarized in the brief below.

Education Response to COVID-19 in Peru

Special Edition Interviews

In addition to country responses, over the next few weeks, the GC-DWC will release interviews and selected resources from educators and actors from around the world as a means of learning in real-time from responses to school closures due to COVID-19. The GC-DWC hopes these actors' work will serve as guides and catalysts for innovation and programming in response to school closures.

Dr. Anasthasie Liberiste-Osirus explains how the GC-DWC's Strong Beginnings initiative, in partnership with ACE Haiti’s Read Haiti initiative, is designing and implementing a robust distance learning plan to serve children and families in Haiti. Existing literacy curriculum currently being used in schools across Haiti has been modified for delivery through the Catholic Radio network to deliver lessons in Creole and French.

Download the Team's Radio Curriculum Guide

Joining from Kenya, the GC-DWC picks this interview up midway through with John Mugo, Director of the ZiziAfrique Foundation. In this excerpt, John shares a collaborative effort among multiple institutions to begin an initiative centered on value-based education during COVID-19 in Kenya. The initiative is two-fold with a project under development for routine building with families as well as one for empathy.

Download the Team's Value-Based Learning in Adversity Guide

Cyril Pressoir from the GC-DWC's Strong Beginnings team discusses the details of producing a radio show during COVID-19 in Haiti. Learn about the team's creative efforts to locate a transmitter during a global pandemic and produce a radio show while working from home with spotty internet.

In this interview, Hannah Chandler, GC-DWC research associate, and Samuel Mukundi discuss the disruptions COVID-19 has caused to the community and education systems in Kenya.

In this interview, Hannah Chandler, GC-DWC research associate, and Mary Wangui discuss the unique challenges parents and students face when adopting distance learning strategies in rural areas. These challenges include but extend beyond access to technology.

We join this interview between GC-DWC's research associate Hannah Chandler and Janella Nelson, a Senior Education Advisor for ChildFund International. Janella discusses issues that lie at the intersection of child protection and education and elaborates upon the need for a multi-pronged approach to distance learning during COVID-19.

In addition to the learning efforts mentioned in the interview, ChildFund is providing health supplies and equipment (protective gear) to Ministry of Health facilities, installing community handwashing stations, and distributing hygiene materials. They are also distributing food to children who had meals at school and plan on distributing cash transfers for people to purchase essential goods.

 

In this interview between Hannah Chandler and Souleymane Diallo, an education program manager with Catholic relief services in Burkina Faso, Souleymane shares his insights on the limitations of distance learning and teacher training in a country where many people do not have stable internet access or access to technology.

This interview represents the personal views of Souleymane Diallo and should not be construed as coming from any of the organizations mentioned in the interview.

In this interview, Dr. Begedou, a university professor in Togo, shares his perspective on the government’s response to COVID-19 and school closures as well as the impact of these closures at all levels of the educational system.

In this interview, Cassandre Regnier from Summits Education in Haiti discusses with GC-DWC's Michael Berino how COVID-19 has widened the educational gap between high and low resource settings even further and shares some of the innovative ways Summits has supported the non-academic needs of its students.

Additional Resources

During our investigation into the global impact of COVID-19 necessitated-school closures in rural and remote communities, we have collected a variety of resources to share from innovative actors and educators.

Play-based Learning

Andrea Diaz-Varela, an education technical lead at Right To Play, shared with the GC-DWC the role of play-based learning in supporting children's psychosocial needs during COVID-19. Read a summary of her interview with Dr. Neil Boothby here. Download Right To Play's collection of at-home games for health and well-being during COVID-19 here.

Radio Programming

Recognizing radio as the most democratic and effective means of disseminating learning materials in Haiti during COVID-19, the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Haiti and the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services Haiti (CRS) and the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education (CEEC), created three radio programs - a literacy program supplemented with a reading hour program, and a pre-K social and emotional learning (SEL) and parent engagement  program - as part of a comprehensive approach to distance learning in a low-tech environment.

Strong Beginnings/Read Haiti Radio Programs

 

Values-based Education

As part of a collaborative effort among multiple institutions to begin an initiative centered on a values-based education during COVID-19, a team in Kenya has developed a two-part project for developing empathy and routine building among families. Download the team's values-based learning in adversity guide here.