From the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it was clear that countries, including their education sectors, were not prepared. Governments continue to try to get ahead of the virus and its varying mutations, however managing and understanding COVID-19 remains an uphill battle for scientists and policymakers alike. A key missing piece of this puzzle is evidence on what really works and how it can be harnessed by state and non-state actors to improve their interventions, particularly in the education sector. This evidence can help facilitate the continuity of learning and support the well-being of children disrupted by the pandemic.
The KIX Observatory on COVID-19 Responses in Africa’s Educational Systems seeks to fill this gap. The Observatory is a one-stop-shop for learning and sharing of information to promote policies, strategies, and practices that effectively meet the education needs created by COVID-19. It also seeks to strengthen the resilience of education systems in Africa to future pandemics or crises. Since its launch in November 2020, this project has been collecting, synthesizing and disseminating evidence on national education responses to COVID-19 at the primary and secondary level. The 18-month initiative, funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), provides information specifically on education responses in 41 GPE partner countries in Africa.
Where the focus lies
The KIX Observatory uses a gender, inclusion and equity lens to track COVID-19 education-related policy and practice responses, identify emerging research as well as tested and evaluated interventions, and conduct case studies to capture promising practices. The use of this lens allows us to understand the extent to which policy and practice responses address gender-related issues and consider the education needs of vulnerable groups during the pandemic.
The Observatory analyzes evidence on two key topics:
the continued operation of education systems, which includes teacher training and support, learner support, financing and systems’ resilience;
learner well-being, which includes the impact of COVID-19 on nutrition, learner health and changes in psychological and psychosocial support.
The analysis and synthesis of this evidence will be shared with policymakers and educational stakeholders. By engaging with these key audiences, the KIX Observatory seeks to inform policy decisions and the development of intervention plans and practices in the 41 GPE partner countries in Africa and beyond. The dissemination of evidence and tracking of research and tested and evaluated interventions will be ongoing throughout the project duration.
How it works
Ensuring easy access to information
The structure and function of the Observatory promotes easy and continuous access to information and evidence by educational policymakers, partners and stakeholders. Two online live trackers—one on policy and practice responses and another one on emerging research—will provide easy access to evidence.
Both live trackers will be accompanied by quarterly evidence synthesis reports and briefing papers, case study reports, policy briefs, newsletters, articles and factsheets. These products will be disseminated through the Observatory’s communications channels and platforms, including through the KIX Africa 19 and KIX Africa 21 regional hubs as well as events organized by Observatory staff, GPE member countries and partners. The first brief, produced in January 2021, is now available on the KIX Observatory platform.
Positioning evidence for uptake
The KIX Observatory is leveraging its convening power, strong networks and links with national policymakers to communicate with target countries and regional actors to obtain relevant policy and practice resources for analysis and synthesis. It disseminates evidence through key policy-dialogue platforms that inform national mitigation strategies, programs and plans and will help to encourage uptake.
Moreover, these environments will provide the Observatory with a platform to bring intersecting issues of equity, equality and inclusion to the forefront in order to better respond to the needs of vulnerable groups, magnified by the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Overall, by collecting and synthesizing evidence and creating awareness of the issues critical to the continued operation of education systems and the well-being of learners, the Observatory will inform future crisis preparedness and education system resilience.
How to get involved
For the KIX Observatory to be successful, it needs to meet three critical factors:
Ensure the information and evidence it generates is valuable, credible and useful to GPE partner countries. This requires proper institutional arrangements for continuous engagement.
Ensure outputs are accessible through multiple communication channels and in different mediums to reach a wide range of actors from different disciplines and sectors.
Foster relationships with key policymakers to encourage research uptake and monitor how the evidence is being used in their interventions.
The KIX Observatory is always looking for evidence and information on the key topics and areas of focus mentioned above. If you a have resource that you would like to share, please use the online submission form or contact email@example.com. We are looking for resources that:
give visibility to country achievements in the education sector;
effectively contribute to the body of research;
illuminate promising practices;
strengthen the credibility of knowledge from Africa, and
promote innovative ideas.
The KIX Observatory is a valuable community of practice that should outlive its current 18-month duration to accomplish its mission of providing evidence for state and non-state actors in education to improve interventions that facilitate learning, child well-being, and system resilience.
The KIX Observatory on COVID-19 Responses in Africa’s Educational Systems is implemented by a consortium composed of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the African Union’s International Centre for the Education of Girls and Women in Africa (AU/CIEFFA), with the technical support from the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). To learn more, click here.