COVID-19 is a human, economic and social crisis affecting everyone, and Africa, like the rest of the world, has not been spared.
With the rapid rise of coronavirus infections, African governments have adopted measures to curb the spread, including closing spaces of worship, markets and educational institutions.
Close to 250 million African children out of school
By April 6, 2020, 53 African Union Member states had shut down their institutions of learning. This left over 20 million learners out of school at pre-primary level, 160 million at primary, 56 million at secondary, and 8 million at tertiary level, with no access to continued learning and teaching facilities across the continent.
The African Union International Centre for Girls and Women’s Education in Africa (AU/CIEFFA), in line with its mandate, organized two multi-stakeholder webinars on Addressing Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic on Girls and Women’s Education.
The aim was to discuss the wide array of initiatives undertaken at grassroots, national and regional levels as educational responses to COVID-19, and come up with concrete recommendations to ensure that learning does not stop.
In his welcome address, Dr Mahama Ouedraogo, Director, Human Resources, Science & Technology Department at the African Union Commission, highlighted that with shuttered schools, African girls are at increased risk abuse, sexual violence, trafficking, social exclusion and forced labor.