This paper outlines the use of technology for teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of technology in many developing countries has not been effectively utilized to cater for every category of learners across these countries including Kenya. This means, Kenya has not met the requirements of securitization. During the COVID-19 pandemic the Face to face teaching has been brought to a standstill. The decision was adopted in order to ensure social distancing for all learners by the World Health Organization and local health sectors with the aim of bringing down/flattening the curve and prevent the spread of the disease COVID-19 in all sectors of the community. Schools, colleges and universities started to consider adapting e-learning in the whole world in the place of face to face learning. Securitization theory from the school of Copenhagen analyzes emergency eLearning in schools especially Hurricanes University. This paper argues that even as COVID-19 is a threat to face to face learning, a view of securitization should be that which makes every learner across the county especially in Kenya access education., since eLearning is presumed to ensure equal access to education by all the learners at all levels of the education system. Securitization is therefore very important to learners and educators but only if it serves them equally. Remembering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) talking of quality education to all as envisage in goal number 4 that is seeking to ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
Key words: COVID-19, corona virus, technology, teaching, securitization, e-learning, remote learning, education system
Teaching is a noble profession that is done not only by those who are trained and professionals but also those who have the passion to do it. The passion that comes from within. Teaching to some extent is somehow a call and inborn, but then it should not be carried out by any person who is not trained.
Teaching can as well be defined as the occupation, profession or work of a teacher. It is the process of attending to people’s needs, experience and feelings, making specific interventions to help them learn particular things. (Brande Jackson)
Learners need teachers to help them learn thus gaining required knowledge, skills and attitude. This is very vital in development of any country or society. Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world source. But this has been recently changed by the pandemic, COVID-19 19, which has in turn taken the center stage of changing the world and making its own domicile.
At the moment the world is living in what is better known as COVID-19 threat, both in our normal lives and education in the whole world. This has led to the closure of the all learning institutions including universities and colleges all over the world. It was hoped that the closure would only last for a short while following the advice by the ministry of health officials on social distancing with the thought that it would help in flattening the curve. But this has not been the case, instead increased fatalities and infections have been experienced mostly in the European countries. Closure of schools has caused more than 1.6 billion children and youths to be out of school in not less than 162 countries across the globe.
Looking at the Copenhagen school of securitization theory and scrutinizing the 25 declaration of emergency eLearning in Kenya, this paper strongly argues that remote learning through different media and technology to some extent has not been practiced competently, posing a lot of challenges to teachers, parents and learner themselves. Remote learning that is practiced now, across the world especially under developed countries which were not ready for it but doing it in place of face to face teaching, is not a thing of today in developing countries. A review of securitization theory particularly giving attention to advocacy and checking out the relationship of securitization to emancipation, lays down the ground and reason for investigation. (COVID-19 and emergency eLearning, 2020)
Technology was seen gaining foothold in classes since mid-1980s. Mostly the apple computers gained more popularity especially by teachers who used them to drill students by giving them a routine computer task to answer an endless series of questions turned on knowledge and classes. (https:\\www.clanseraft.com\blog\features) (Class craft blog)
The spread of the disastrous and novel pandemic coronavirus has brought everything to a standstill all over the world, bringing social interaction to changes that were not expected, education sector has not been an exception. Even though fatality rate is high, the children in primary and secondary schools, that is the youths, seem not to be at high risk compared to the aged or older people like the teachers and subordinate staff. World Health Organization came up with the pandemic precaution of “social distancing” and sanitization. The social distancing which has actually tried to reduce interpersonal contact thus reducing community transmission, assuming that it would flatten the curve, especially in densely populated areas like universities and schools. (Weeden and Cornwell, 2020).
This has called for remote learning through different media replacing the face-to-face teaching and so far this has not altered the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic but has brought to a standstill the face-to-face teaching. This paper argues that, the e-learning has not been/is not a competent way of teaching, compared to face to face teaching. To some extend it is deemed to create inequality of opportunities among learners, especially in developing countries where access to such facilities is a problem. This actually draws our attention back to the school of Copenhagen securitization theory, bringing out our observation and advocacy in education sector at this moment of pandemic. It may be important to note that securitization of face-to-face instruction may be appropriate to help observe social distancing, but it does not take into check the securitization of opportunity inequality among learners, the cost and repercussions of removing the face-to-face teaching from normal discourse of learning. (Buzen et al., 1998)
From the look of things, social distancing as it was thought has not limited the pandemic transmission but instead limited the face-to-face learning. Never the less community spread in Kenya is at the highest level causing more pain. The Ministry of education has insisted on eLearning which is transmitted through different media, that has not been done competently., This paper further alludes that, first and foremost, most learners do not have access to laptops, smartphones, radios and televisions that are supposedly used for the remote learning. To the few who have access to the above mentioned facilities, most of them are still not receiving the much expected teaching as they are supposed to. This paper strongly contends this because face-to-face teaching cannot be completely replaced by the TV, Radio and Laptop or smartphones because a lot cannot be achieved through this. For instant, discipline cannot be achieved or maintained through eLearning, this definitely poses a threat to securitization. Practical lessons that are carried out in laboratory, workshops, cannot be carried out effectively through eLearning.
This article will carry out different sections which will outline literature on medical and treatment of COVID-19 to give us a background and knowledge on the pandemic, why sanitization and social distancing measures are deemed important by the health sector. The response to emergency education through eLearning and the current situation in Kenya. Analysis of response of the government and comments made by the stakeholders and other Kenyans.
1.2 The COVID-19 Pandemic: Kenyan Experience
The Coronavirus Pandemic here to refer as COVID-19 is one of the viruses that spread very fast in 2019 to become a global pandemic issue and a threat to human life. The first case of COVID-19 globally was reported back in December 1st 2019 (Wuhan…)while the first admissions in the hospital came later on the 16th December 2019 Hang, (2020 ) this later on changed to a string of pneumonia patients being reported in Wuhan China. Civarner, (2020) this report was given to the World Health Organization in Beijing Office. The symptom of pneumonia in the virus was then later named NCOV or 2019 novel coronavirus Huang et al, (2020) later on after about two months the World Health Organization declared in a global public health emergency that required an international intervention Lar et al, (2020) In late February 2020, the disease had caught up with the whole world where most countries were finding it as a threat and deadly. By March 2020 the spread was at a global scale hence leading to stoppage of face-to-face learning. In Kenya the first case was reported on 13th March, 2020 and on realizing the threat to the people of Kenya, His Excellency the president Honourable Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta announced the closure of all learning institutions in Kenya as from 16th March, 2020.
Historically, the COVID-19 pandemic has now not only overtaken, but has also overwhelmed previous viruses, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, (MERS) and EBOLA, (EVD). COVID-19 has various strains that give serious symptoms that lead to fatality which has been very high in European Countries and the USA, mild symptoms and asymptomatic strains which is mainly found in Africa. Similarly, the fatality rate of COVID-19 was earlier on rated at 2 percent compared to 9.5percent for SARS and 35percent for MERS Gvart, (2020). Munster claims that a greater population with lower individual risks as it is seen mostly in Africa and few European countries, the individuals with asymptomatic infections or mildly symptomatic who continue or go on with their normal lives, are a great threat in taming the COVID-19, Munster,( 2020).
Wuhan in china is a very big city of 11 million with a lot of businesses, home to the largest train station and biggest airport wilder smith et al, (2020).it is where asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic transmission brought about a kick-off to the virus leading to high fatality, being a town that is globally connected, megacity, thus leading to a start of virus and spread to other countries compared to any other epicenter effort for the containment. The study shows that community transmission that is the spread of a virus within a certain region as opposed to travel related transmission Preiser, (2020) which has been a bigger challenge in Wuhan and also as seen in Kenya, is a threat to both higher and lower education levels. The education panel that was formed by Professor Magoha for example, gives a demonstration of how schools are uniquely and highly vulnerable places for the spread of the virus. Not only does a single student rapidly reaches the entire student body of approximately two degrees apart, but almost all the students are connected through different and multiple pathways such that isolation of particular nodes does not fully do away with possible indirect exposure to the area of the network(Weeden&Cornwell,2020)
1.3 COVID-19 and Education in Kenya- General influence by COVID-19 on education
1.3.1 e-Learning during COVID-19 in Kenya
The first case of pandemic in Kenya was reported in Nairobi on the 13th of March 2020. On the very month some cases were also reported in Mombasa. The first cases was on the 13th march 2020 reportedly of a lady aged 27 years, who travelled from U.S.A via London. The tracing and isolation of contacts was undertaken by the government of Kenya. Later on the 15th of March ,Mutahi Kagwe , the health minister, announced that the lady might have contracted the virus from the flight she was in because the two people who were seated next to her also tested positive.in the month of march alone there were 59 confirmed cases and one fatality, in April there were total recoveries of 53 with total number of confirmed at 225 by 15th April, 1911 had been released after testing negative and 445 were still under follow up .this is in accordance to the statistics given by the Kenyan ministry of health. By June the number had short to 4738.
One of the government interventions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya as already stated was the closure of all learning institutions. On the onset, all education stakeholders waited patiently to resume the face to face learning. However, the much awaited school opening at the beginning of May 2020 was never to be instead the government extended the closure of learning institutions indefinitely. Dusk to dawn curfew was extended for 30 more days, cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera was also extended. (Wikipedia) with all this measures, the face to face learning was not going to be, for as long the COVID-19 cases were still on the rise. Nobody knew how long it would take before resuming to normalcy. Learners and parents were getting agitated especially those were going to do their final exams, there was too much idleness from students, school calendar was put on hold. To manage all this the government resorted to eLearning that most Kenyans were not ready for.
Learning institution started training for both teachers and students and most of the universities embarked on online teaching
Platforms for conducting online classes included:
Eclass and many more
This was actually the first time Kenya was fully going into eLearning in the whole country with parents acting as teachers.
In some countries especially the European countries, this is not the first time eLearning is taken up due to emergencies, for example August 2005, in Gulf region there was a landfall that damaged 27 colleges hence learning couldn’t take place especially in campus (Meyer and Wilson, 2011), this called for immediate online teaching which was sponsored by Alfred Sloan foundation and so was named “Sloan Semester”. This called for a consortium of 153 colleges and universities to very fast create online courses catalogue of over 1300 courses, (Lorenzo, 2008). Many more crises like hurricanes, Katrina, Tsunamis also called for the same, thus ample justification for alternative arrangements.
1.3.2 Challenges of eLearning during COVID-19 in Kenya
Though this has been embraced in other countries, Kenya is still struggling to cope with it due to some challenges. The first challenge is for the students to access internet connectivity, especially those who reside in rural areas. Sometimes connectivity problems is experienced also in urban areas where good internet connectivity is a problem that brings about buffering and lagging of live streaming due to excess load on the server which would cause applications to crash Raju (2020). Another challenge is that on eLearning/ teaching the live streaming would only focus on theoretical part of learning and not practical side of it that would be carried out as we all know education is more practically handled thus leading to not giving adequate and desirable skills and knowledge to the learners.
Similarly, despite Kenya’s universities being compelled by the government to introduce eLearning under the country’s vision 2030 strategic plan, most Kenyans/students have not embraced it fully. A recent survey carried out in 12 public and private universities in Kenya that offers open and distance teaching program, showed that students preferred face to face method of teaching and very few not even a half of the population were enrolled for the open and distance learning. (Jackline Nyerere, Kenyatta University, 2020). Most students also preferred having their reading materials in hard copy and so they go as far as printing out such materials, making eLearning so expensive for them.
From the look of things and research carried out earlier on, and the challenges found now, Kenya’s public universities are still not ready for the eLearning thus adopting to it is a challenge,. This is brought about by instructors who are not fully conversant with digital gadgets to facilitate e-learning .on top of that most student do not have access to source of electronic content, limited access to computers and smart phones by the students, internet and frequent blackouts is also a stumbling block to e-learning. Very little change is expected in the near future, because still internet is a big challenge all over the country, 67percent of the students rely on phones and cyber cafes to download their materials, major challenge is that cyber café are mostly situated in bigger towns. Similarly accessing internet in Kenya is more expensive compared to Egypt. For example, a student in Kenya uses approximately US 4.90 per GB, compared to $1.20 per GB. In Egypt thus making internet access in Kenya more expensive (Jackline Nyerere 2020). In a nutshell, the student in urban areas might be the only ones benefiting from the eLearning though not fully because a few of them can have access to this gargets and also afford the bundles on daily basis.
In the case of eLearning in Kenya and COVID-19 pandemic we can have a brief look from Copenhagen’s school of theory of securitization. In naming a certain development of security problem, the state can claim special right to respond to the problem (weaver 1995).he further claims that an issue is a security matter of construction as the utterance is the primary reality In this case a closer look at what is happening in recent times in Kenya, the COVID-19 has drastically affected the pedagogical approach in Kenya. We have witnessed the upcoming of eLearning in many developing countries. Such a pandemic like COVID-19 need thorough scrutiny both socially and economically in order to realize any tangible result against its spread in the population. In naming a certain phenomenon a security threat, the wayCOVID-19 is, the state must employ special measures against the problem Weaver (1995). This will entail the participation of several stake holders which include the ministry of education, teachers, leaners, parents and health workers. Buzen, (1998) for a matter of securitization to be successful those involved must be taken care of fully for securitization to be achieved. But the question that one must answer is when it comes to eLearning are all the learners catered for fully as expected in order for learning to be said to have taken place? The consumer answer is no. Buzan (1998) argued that there must be an acceptance by the audience. Both parties must be fulfilled for successful securitization and issue is only securitized if and when the audience accepts it as such. In this case the removal of face to face learning due to COVID-19 19 was conveniently and truly securitized but the above mentioned threshold was not met in Kenya to introduce eLearning. The securitization actor has identified the threat in the community as the COVID-19 19 and moved swiftly to stop the normalcy in life that would bring fatalities so bringing face to face learning to a halt as is seen as a measure that is very necessary in protecting lives. If we continue to live normally this disease would treat as abnormally. Kagwe, (2020). Thus leading to taking extra-ordinary measures of stopping the face to face teaching.
Ensure in this section, you have captured all the limitations of adopting eLearning in Kenya. Consider cost of bundles, economic status of parents, electricity connectivity, eLearning literacy of all stakeholders, and internet infrastructure among other. Delve deep, be as comprehensive as you can
1.3.3 The panacea of eLearning in Kenya
The government of the developing countries especially in Kenya has a big role to play in the system of eLearning. They basically need to develop online platform especially in the universities to ensure active and smooth learning and broader interaction among the lecturers and students. This platforms are only seen in existence only in Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi. Provision of ICT infrastructure should be done nationally in all in public institutions. The eLearning infrastructure should also be fully developed and provided adequately to fit the number of learners. This should be done by providing both physical and human resources to enable continual, adequate and correct use of the both the internet and the infrastructure especially when the availability is within reach of many learners. During this COVID-1919 pandemic, for example, the University of Nairobi partnered with Telkom Kenya and provided bundles for their lecturers and students to ease the burden of online learning but still most students could not access eLearning due to the challenges mentioned above.
The institutions especially the universities should not fully rely on the government but also should make an effort of having an organizational structure, the expertise through training on online delivery and a laid down budget for efficient function and running of these systems.
In this section, enumerate the enormous opportunities the country has to develop and adopt fully the advantages of eLearning. Consider the improvement of ICT infrastructure, internet connectivity, cost of internet, ICT gadgets etc. The idea here is that the country should not squander this opportunity to confirm that every dark cloud always has a silver lining. Provide adequate information on this
1.3.4 Towards Blended Learning in Kenya
Kenya should focus on future learning in totality and this can only be achieved through blended learning, where a combination of digital and face to face is enhanced. Learners are engaged in an interactive learning experience that improves and transforms learning process as a whole (class time blog). This can be done by choosing the blended that suits the users depending with the kind of learners that are targeted. There are those who might need more time than others. There are different types of model in blended learning:
Face to face drive model
Mostly is face to face driven but performed under different levels of skills and ability of the learners then later online instruction is brought to learners who are behind to help them carry out a lot of practice and have enough time to master the topic (class time blog)
The rotation model
This allows the teacher to create different learning point though digital and also focus on face to face learning by individual learners. A schedule or timetable is created for learners to work at different time in the stations or the points created, allowing every learner to master the content at their own convenient pace and ability. The teacher allows the rotation of the station depending with the mastery of content rotation to the next station will depend on how well the lesson is dealt with.
Here leaners are allowed to take more time beyond the general timetable with the online classes. This is good especially with learners who show more interest in a particular subject than the rest of the subjects. The government of Kenya should start thinking along this line of blended learning. This can be rolled out in a systematic manner starting from lower primary, where the government had already provided laptops. The government should also ensure availability of network all over the country to ensure access of online learning to every Kenyan. But this can only be achieved if blended learning is embraced and put into practice.
The best policy in the countries all over the world is going to school, and receiving quality education. School time can be fun to learners, especially when it is continuous without a lot of inconveniences, which can be avoided by introducing blended learning. Similarly, it has been revealed that schools raises social skills and social awareness. The main reason as to why children are taken to school is to raise their ability no matter how long they attend school. according to Carlson the duration doesn’t matter, he claims that a change would be seen in the learner, the same way a short time that a leaner misses school, there are consequences especially in social growth. Carlson et al, (2015) carried out an investigation in a situation where young men in Sweden have different number of days in preparation for an exam. The days are random in order to allow author to estimate the effect of schooling on skills. So he comes up with an observation that is even, a difference of extra 10 days of schooling makes an impact hence significantly raises the score by 1percent of standard deviation. So if the number of days that children have closed school due to COVID-1919 are to go by, then a great percentage is lost for example 60 school days this is implied 6percent of standard deviation. This cannot be considered as trivial.
Levy (2015) looked at the observation above differently in terms of hours, we have different instructional time to different countries. Levy goes on as far as showing that for example a total weekly hours of instruction in mathematics, languages, and science is 55percent higher in Denmark, than in Australia, thus the difference matters, hence causing the different in test score results. Levy argues that one more hour per week in subject in the school mean year increased test score by 6percent of standard deviation. So the loss of 3-4 hours per week leaving in math for 12 weeks will be similar in magnitude to the loss of an hour per week approximately 30 weeks or so hence ending up with estimate loss of 6percent of standard deviation again. The covid 19 has brought about challenges and best opportunities for creativity and innovation for:
International organization such as UN bodies, World Bank and IMF
Research institutions and individuals
Due to the pandemic, the digital device has been highlighted not only in the access to digital resources but the availability of networks and ability of families and some stakeholders to use them. The county should make computers available in the cities for free use by the students and also negotiate preferential connectivity with the network providers.
The ministry of education can also partner with others like the post office which might also revive the one of posters, while lesson and homework can be photocopied or printed then delivered to students who stay in the remote areas without access to networks then delivered to a certain point agreed to by the schools.
Libraries to be opened and allowing only a particular number per session with teachers found in that particular area assisting in the subject they teach. This is done by one or two teachers per day or a half of a day.
Mobile medical facilities should be made available in each and every school to deal with any case arising before a wide spread in schools and other immediate attendance to any arising case.
More text books are needed in schools then distributed by teachers to their students through the chiefs and Mji Kumi leaders. This can be done through ministry of education and ministry of security where the leads giving books to the chief who in turn give them to students near them and this would help in areas that do not have government libraries them helping students in borrowing books since they will access to them easily
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