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Assessment in sub-Saharan Africa: Capturing 21st century skills

Among the myriad reports providing information and perspectives on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on education, two have particularly stood out in terms of relevance to Africa. UNESCO’s policy brief on the “Impact of COVID-19 on children” ensures that the broader perspective on children’s lives is taken into account. And the Association for the Development of Education in Africa’s (ADEA) report on “Delivering education at home” amid COVID-19 provides detailed information about how 13 African countries have responded to the crisis. This is particularly relevant given UNESCO’s statement that around half of the total number of learners worldwide do not have access to computers or internet. The grounded approach reflected by ADEA’s rapid mapping assessments to gauge the status of learning in African nations provides us with invaluable information about the diversity of approaches and resources being used, such as radio, TV, and print, as well as internet. This pragmatic approach to finding solutions echoes our experiences conducting a baseline study in 2018 with the support of TALENT, a network focused on education alignment and learning assessment systems in sub-Saharan Africa. In what now seems like a very different time, the study demonstrated how African education systems can see adaptive and effective solutions in what already exists rather than perseverating on notions that every crisis requires new solutions.


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