Senegal: Learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

To ensure continuity of learning during the health crisis, the government of Senegal launched a planning and response effort that focuses not only on health, but also on social and economic needs. Read how GPE’s support helped to achieve this.

October 04, 2021 by GPE Secretariat
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3 minutes read
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Sebani Gueye, 10, in grade 2, does homework at home. Diadiam 3 village, region of Saint Louis, Senegal. 31 January 2019. Credit: Vincent Tremeau/The World Bank
Sebani Gueye, 10, in grade 2, does homework at home. Diadiam 3 village, region of Saint Louis, Senegal. 31 January 2019.
Credit: Vincent Tremeau/The World Bank

The rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Senegal forced the country to take drastic measures to curb the spread of the epidemic. The closure of all schools in the country on March 16, 2020 brought new challenges to the education sector.

Grappling with unprecedented challenges

The interruption of in-person instruction and the continuation of schoolwork at home has been difficult for the 3.5 million pre-primary to high school students who were previously attending the country's 16,235 schools.

Without specific measures put in place in quickly, the suspension of related school services (including some health services and meals) and support for the most vulnerable students risked making these students even more vulnerable as a result of the negative impact of the school closures on their immediate and future well-being.

The government's response

To ensure continuity of learning, the government of Senegal launched a planning and response effort that focuses not only on health, but also on social and economic needs.

Public authorities, health and social services, technical and financial partners (including GPE), and the business community have been involved in this inclusive, participatory, and multisectoral approach, which led to the Ministry of Education's launch of the "Learning at Home" program.

Initially, the program provided online resources on the website of the Ministry of Education.

Partnerships were then formed with the media, in particular the national television and radio company of Senegal (RTS), to develop solutions to make it possible to transition to widely accessible communications media.

Channel 20 of Senegal’s digital terrestrial television (DTT) network, which streams educational programming, has been allocated to the Ministry of Education.

The $7 million in COVID-19 funding provided by GPE to Senegal has partially supported the implementation of the Ministry of Education's response plan and helped ensure the continued operation of educational services, through activities such as:

  • training of school principals and teachers in the use of distance learning materials and practices (digital, television, audio)
  • design and broadcast of educational programs via radio and television
  • support for deconcentrated management of COVID-19 coordination and response.

Distance learning is not limited to online learning, but also includes a variety of teaching aids to reach the largest number of students.

This is part of a hybrid approach employing all possible channels of communication and making use of the available infrastructure.

A wide range of technologies are used, including “high-tech” (smartphone applications, digital learning platforms, recording of podcasts, audio messages sent via messaging services), “low-tech” (reservation of television time slots for broadcasting of classes, educational radio programs), and “no-tech” (distribution of print materials to facilitate self-learning).

The project has enabled the Ministry of Education to develop distance education content that is aligned with the national program and can be progressively strengthened so that the main components will be sustainable beyond the crisis.

This approach helps to strengthen the education system and complements existing educational content and practices, particularly for the most vulnerable children.

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal

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I want to thank GPE for the continued support to Educational institutions especially during this difficult COVID-19 era when almost everyone has lost hope in the education of the children worldwide.
I am grateful that Ugandan children are soon going to benefit from the same arrangement. Already, registration of learners is taking place and the program shall then kick off.

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