Education experts encourage investing in education to help shape the future of Africa after COVID-19.
Investing in education a win-win scenario
As schools are expected to open by June 8 in Africa, education experts are calling out the government to give priority on investing in education resources, especially during this pandemic. Globally, the problem concerning the reopening schools amid the COVID-19 poses a great threat to the health of both teachers and students.
African schools are far from the standards in terms of sanitary measures against COVID-19, forcing an early reopening of schools will just result in a wider spread of the coronavirus.
Currently, South Africa is about to reach 35,000 positive cases, with 705 deaths and around 50 percent recovery rate. These numbers, along with paired with still no vaccine out against the virus, make parents fear for the safety of their children when schools reopen.
In a country with a huge percentage of families falling under the low-income bracket, the early reopening of schools will force students under these families to skip the school year and be at a disadvantage.
Investing in education will help schools provide the necessary measure that can help students from all walks of life, get the same opportunity into quality education, and leaving no one behind. Additional funding can go to additional classrooms and teachers.
Classroom sizes should be reduced to properly observe social distancing, sanitation measures should be well implemented in schools, and proper safety equipment like face masks and gloves should be provided to both teachers and students.
The future of Africa
Education is important, but the government must ensure that the safety of the students must not be at risk by not investing in education resources. Sending students to school without a well-orchestrated plan against COVID-19 is like sending guinea pigs into a laboratory, never knowing which will come out alive and well.
The children will be the future of the country; they will be the workforce of the future, risking their safety is like risking the future of the whole country. The government should well assess if they are fit to handle the reopening of physical classes, or should they hold their horses and come up with a more reliable plan to deliver education to students without putting them at risk amid the pandemic.