Over the past 18 months, governments have made in rapidly designing and implementing distance, blended, and remote learning opportunities for students and teachers. Countries deployed a diversity of remote learning opportunities, ranging from radio-based instruction, to TV lessons, to mobile or online learning programs. In parallel, researchers have designed and are implementing studies to monitor and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of these efforts. A new study recognizes these tremendous efforts.

However, little do we know about what Ministries of Education had to do organizationally to implement these programs: How did they organize their personnel, what new policies or technologies might have been adopted, what new partnerships forged?

Twenty-three government officials of Ministries of Education in 12 countries, including Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia participated in the survey between November 2020 and January 2021 to help answer these questions.

Findings suggest that many countries intensified their use of learning technologies that were already in place before COVID and focused on developing content for these. New TV (reported by over 90% of participants) and radio (83%) programming were by far the most common learning solutions newly-implemented in response to COVID-19. Some 75% of the participating countries expanded their use of technology for communication, mostly in form of virtual meeting platforms. Hand-in hand with these efforts came organizational changes in staffing. Pre-pandemic, 67% of countries reported that their education ministries had dedicated EdTech staffing engaged with student- and teacher-facing technologies. The pandemic led to 42% of the countries surveyed adding new EdTech staffing or divisions. Read the report to learn more about findings on changes in strategic partnerships, funding, and policies as well as participating countries’ plans for mainstreaming EdTech innovations the future!

BEC is a group of leading US-based organizations and academic institutions working together to promote global peace and prosperity through education. By leveraging their collective technical expertise and combining advocacy efforts, BEC members raise a unified voice to ensure US policy makers support and strengthen education for the developing world. The study was co-led by the BEC EdTech Working Group Co-Chairs Carmen Strigel (RTI International), Victoria Neff (World Education), Ayan Kishore (Creative Associates), and Paige Morency-Notario (BEC Director of Outreach & Communications) with additional contributions from Chemonics International, Education Development Center, FHI 360, Juárez& Associates, and Worldreader.

Access the full report here: Governments' Organizational Responses to COVID-19 - Igniting Interest and Institutional Capacity in EdTech - Study Report | SharEd (rti.org) 

About the Expert

Carmen Strigel's picture
Dr. Carmen Strigel is the Director of the Technology for Education & Training team at RTI International. Her technical work focuses on building capacity, fostering stakeholder collaboration, and facilitating information-based decision-making and policy reforms. Carmen’s passion lies in teacher professional development and pedagogic integration of technology – including as assistive technology. At RTI she led the development of TangerineTM, open source software facilitating electronic data collection, continuous student assessment, and program monitoring. Tangerine is now being used by over 50 organizations in over 60 countries around the world. Carmen also drives CurrentMobileTM, RTI’s work in using a “serious games” approach to assessing employability skills of youth. Carmen's received her doctoral degree in educational neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, USA.