Côte d’Ivoire builds a resilient and equitable education system during and after COVID-19

GPE worked with the Ministry of Education and Literacy of Côte d’Ivoire and UNICEF to make sure children’s learning wasn’t interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read how the initial digital platform is being expanded to reach all children in the country.

May 04, 2023 by UNICEF Cote d'Ivoire
4 minutes read
Paul studies with his father, Roger Dia. Credit: UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire
Paul studies with his father, Roger Dia.
Credit: UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in Côte d'Ivoire closed for three months. During that time, the Ministry of Education and Literacy (MENA), with the support of UNICEF and an $11 million grant from the GPE, implemented a distance learning service called “My School at Home” (Mon école à la maison).

My School at Home offered prerecorded video and audio content to pre-primary, primary and secondary students, across different time schedules, following the national curriculum progression. All episodes were also available on the national television’s YouTube channel.

You can view one episode here: Mon école à la maison | Tle - Français: Rédaction du résumé.

For students with disabilities, lesson plans and worksheets were offered in Braille for visually impaired students, and sign-language interpretation was provided during video lessons for hearing impaired students.

My School at Home played a crucial role in ensuring learning continuity for over three million students and preventing them from losing a school year by focusing first on classes for students preparing for exams.

How students related to the learning platform

In the village of Soumahoraudgou, Bérénice Yao, who is now 13 years old, listened to her courses on the radio while schools were closed. It was not easy for her to follow and understand all her lessons.

Fortunately, the principal of her school had taken the initiative to gather students once a week to strengthen the knowledge they had acquired and help them better understand what they heard on the radio.

Children watching lessons broadcasted on television (from their home). Credit: UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
Children watching lessons broadcasted on television (from their home).
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

For the students’ parents, distance learning was seen an opportunity. Indeed, most children like watching TV, so having lessons broadcast on television was an effective strategy to reach them and an opportunity for parents to oversee their children’s education more closely.

“I thought it was a catchy method, especially for children today, who are digitally inclined.”

Maman Dadjo Lucrèce, parent

Her son, Cheick-Ivan, a beneficiary of the My School at Home program, said: “I noticed the classes were taught based on student progress and that there are several types of evaluations. I was able to practice more. I can help my younger brothers and sisters with their lessons and quizzes.”

More children followed lessons on television (94%) than over the radio (15%), according to the results of a survey conducted just before schools reopened. And attendance was three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas.

My School at Home after the pandemic

When the number of COVID-19 cases started to decrease and students finally went back to school, following social distancing guidelines, the issue of education in times of crisis was still on everyone’s mind.

There needed to be a sustainable solution. This is when My School at Home was launched as an online learning platform. The platform used the video content that had been broadcast on television with added lesson plans and self-correcting quizzes.

Screenshot of the learning platform “My School at Home”.
Screenshot of the learning platform “My School at Home”.

The learning platform is perhaps the most meaningful and relevant legacy of the GPE grant allocated to Côte d’Ivoire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform’s objective is to enable every child to access a quality education and empower them to learn and self-evaluate.

Developed by local computer and IT engineers, techno-education specialists and general education professionals, the My School at Home website includes 7,000 lesson plans and as many self-correcting quizzes.

Primary school textbooks are also available on the platform now that the Ministry of Education acquired the copyrights. New educational content, video episodes in particular, are under development. Previous years’ corrected exams are also available to help students prepare for their upcoming exams.

Today, all students who have internet can access their lessons online at no cost, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thus enabling them to review what they have learned in class, catch up on missed classes and progress at their own pace.

Noah Urrea, a 10-year-old boy studying using “My School at Home”.
Noah Urrea, a 10-year-old boy studying using “My School at Home”.
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

The goal is to expand the use of and access to the online platform by making it more inclusive so that every child, regardless of their status or their origins, can learn thanks to My School at Home.

With a view to advance equity, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Literacy are currently developing an innovative solution to reduce the digital gap among children with different social status and origins and facilitate access to the platform from remote areas that do not have internet access or electricity.

The platform is hosted by a local network and can then be accessed offline on several tablets at the same time.

This innovative solution can be used during “normal” times as well as in times of crisis, making the education system of Côte d’Ivoire more resilient.

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