Harnessing EduTech in Africa Scoping Study TOR

Overview
Title:

 

Harnessing Education Technology in response to Covid 19 in Africa
Description:GCE is looking for a consultant to develop a scoping study, carry out research work according to agreed terms, produce a report and present findings and recommendations in a regional stakeholder conference. Consultancy to produce a scoping study on how education technology is harnessed in response to COVID 19 in 8 African countries (Botswana, Burundi, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda and Zambia). The scoping study should (1) outline what education technology exists in each country, (2) describe how these tools either enhanced or hindered the right to education in each country and, (3) provide policy recommendations on how to better harness education technology in each country, with reference to successful education technology examples in other regions around the world.
Location:Anywhere globally (ideally in Africa)
Type of contract:Short term consultancy
Duration of contract:Final report due 21 January 2022
Reports to:GCE Senior Programme Manager
Deadline for applications:Friday, 10 September 2021
  1. About GCE

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), founded in 1999, is a global civil society movement working for the full realization of the human right to education, in particular for children, women, and those from excluded communities.

GCE members bring together civil society organisations, NGOs, teacher unions, child rights activists, parents’ associations, young people, and community organisations, who work together in coalition in more than100 countries. GCE promotes education as a basic human right and mobilises the public to put pressure on governments and the international community to fulfill their promises to provide free, compulsory, high-quality public education for all.

GCE provides core support to its members’ work on education advocacy and campaigning all around the world, and represents civil society organisations in education at the highest level.

  1. Background

Before COVID-19 hit, the world was already experiencing a learning crisis. “258 million children of primary- and secondary school age were out of school, and the Learning Poverty rate in low- and middle-income countries was 53 percent – meaning that more than half of all 10-year-old children could not read and understand a simple text. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the figure was closer to 90 percent.”[1] “At the peak of school closures in April 2020, 94 percent of students– or 1.6 billion children – were out of school worldwide, and, still, around 700 million students today are studying from home, in a context of huge uncertainty and with families and schools having to navigate across options of blended and remote learning, or no schooling at all”[2]

The adoption of online learning appears to be a partial solution and will continue to persist post-pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19[3]. Industry experts believe that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with the integration of information technology in education being further accelerated and online education becoming an integral component of school education.

The pandemic has however widened the digital divide and exacerbated inequality compromising equal access to education. Key challenges relate to a lack of reliable internet access or access to technology; a gap seen across countries and between income brackets within countries. In Africa, in addition to school closures, this lack of access to technology is the greatest barrier for learning during the pandemic with learners in rural communities being the most disadvantaged. Early childhood and primary level students are reported to be the least likely to access the technologies required for learning, where educational TV and radio are seen as the most important technologies at the primary level[4] and online learning for the secondary school level.

eLearning Africa and EdTech Hub published a survey report in 2020 on The Effect of COVID 19 on Education in Africa and its implications for the use of Technology and again in 2021 on COVID19 and EdTech in Africa: A Country – Level Review Based on eLearning Africa Data. These reports highlighted key issues relating to the use of education technology in Africa that should be used as a departure point for this scoping study.

  1. Objective & purpose

The GCE project Harnessing Education Technology as a response to COVID-19 aims to support civil society in 8 African countries[5] as well as regional networks[6] in engaging in research, monitoring, and planning with government institutions; including evidence-based advocacy for education technology and digital solutions in public education settings. The scoping study will be a central building block for a programme undertaken by GCE and funded by GIZ-backup initiative under the title Supporting Education with Digital Bridges.

The objective of this scoping study will describe how education technology was harnessed in response to COVID 19 in 8 African countries by outlining what education technology exists in each country; describing how these tools either enhanced or hindered the right to education in each country and providing policy recommendations on how to better harness education technology in each country, with reference to successful education technology examples in other regions around the world.

The purpose of the scoping study is to provide the background and blueprint for more detailed country case studies and engagement with stakeholders at the national level carried out by national education coalitions in the 8 African countries. Some pilot activities of remote teaching and distance learning practices will be identified and implemented and their suitability for upscaling will be assessed.

GCE will then use the case study findings to develop a master advocacy plan and a campaign approach which will be disseminated throughout Africa and implemented by national partners of GCE at the country level in each of the 8 African countries identified. At the end of the programme a region wide meeting will be held, either virtually or face to face, bringing the various project stakeholders together to discuss best practices, compare outcomes of pilot schemes and develop a region wide list of recommendations and policy design propositions.

The study outcomes and policy recommendations will help to support civil society in the identified African countries and regional networks in engaging in research and evidence-based piloting of education technology and digital solutions in public education settings.

  1. Deliverables for the Assignment:

Study Design and research:

  1. Produce a concept note as to how the research process will be carried out and what the scope of the study will entail. Develop a research framework applicable at the country level.
  2. Discuss the concept note and research tools in an inception meeting with GCE.
  3. Finalizing concept note to be delivered on 1 October 2021, prior to the stakeholder meeting
  4. Desktop Research.
  5. Questionnaire or use of other data collection tool administered.

Stakeholder meetings

  1. The consultant will participate in stakeholder meetings to be organized by the Senior Project Manager of GCE, by assisting in designing the format of the meetings and identifying key meeting participants (education coalitions, Ministries of Education, Edutech Experts, Private Sector Representatives).
  2. The consultant will ensure that the outcomes of the stakeholder debates will be reflected in the final study and that responses to the questionnaire are sent to all stakeholders.

Writing:

  1. Produce a 50-60 page research report with a 5-page executive summary which will guide the capacity-building work of GCE and become an advocacy tool for GCE members. The research report should include the following aspects:
  • Introduction (aims and scope, critical concepts, implications of the research);
  • a short literature review (critical concepts of the research – what other people have said about this topic and how this study contributes to policy debates around the use of technology for education);
  • Research Methodology (how data was gathered, sources and process of analysis and data validation if applicable);
  • Results and data Analysis (description of the data, data analysis);
  • Discussion and conclusion;
  • References and bibliography
  1. Key questions

In understanding how education technology has been harnessed in each of the African countries in response to COVID 19, the following key questions have to be answered in the report produced by the consultant

  1. What education technologies exist in the country?

Here, a detailed description of the technological tools, platforms, models, infrastructure etc should be outlined. Radio, internet, paper, cellphone, television, etc?

2. How have these technologies enhanced or hindered the right to education in the country?

Here, a detailed analysis of the impact of the use (or lack thereof) of education technology should be outlined. Key themes such as access to technology, availability of technological infrastructure, socio-economic status, data privacy, big tech, education privatisation, public-private partnerships, teaching and learning, teacher training, student experiences, parent involvement, home context, gender, geography, etc would be covered. Contextual factors for each country need to be taken into account as these differ from country to country.

3. What policy recommendations can be made? How can the country better harness education technology to improve the right to education moving forward?

Here, the recommendations made should take into consideration the findings from Question 2 in each country and make reference to successful education technology examples from different countries if applicable.

  1. Timelines:
DateDeliverable / Output
13 September 2021Start work on the concept note
1 October 2021Submission of a concept note to GCE
4 October 2021Consultant presentation of a concept note to GCE
5 October 2021 – 5 January 2022Research conducted
7 January 2022Draft report submitted
10 January 20221st Regional meeting
20 January 2022Final report submitted
21 January 20222nd Regional meeting

6. Required skills and experience

The candidate will need the following competencies:

  • Academic Qualifications: Degree in education, law, political science, international relations, social sciences, development or other disciplines related to the mandate.
  • Experience: Knowledge/experience of issues relating to digitization of education, research, data collection.
  • Language: Fluency in English is required. French is an asset.
  • Experience of working with coalitions and teacher unions, including cross-cultural, cross-movement sector coalitions; including making and maintaining effective contacts and relationships, with local partners.
  1. Submission of Applications:

Eligible applicants are invited to apply by submitting the following documents on or by end of day on 10 September 2021 to j[email protected]

  1. Consultant’s CV/Resume including relevant experience of personnel/Previous projects of similar nature.
  2. A brief technical proposal outlining the approach to the consultancy.
  3. A cover letter, confirming availability for the dates outlined and including a financial proposal.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the advert may be withdrawn at any time from sites without notification.

Requests for clarification should be made in writing and sent to the SPM, Wolfgang Leumer to the following email: [email protected]

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[1]https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2021/01/22/urgent-effective-action-required-to-quell-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-education-worldwide

[2]https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2021/01/22/urgent-effective-action-required-to-quell-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-education-worldwide

[3] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/

[4] http://www.guninetwork.org/publication/effect-covid-19-education-africa-and-its-implications-use-technology

[5] Botswana, Burundi, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia.

[6] ANCEFA, FAWE, PAMOJA