Covid-19 creates a window for school reform in Africa

SourceThe Economist
CountryMiddle east

One step backwards, two forwardsCovid-19 creates a window for school reform in AfricaMany pupils already needed catch-up classes. The pandemic may jolt countries into providing themEVEN BEFORE covid-19 forced its classrooms to close for three months last year, Mavis Maphoto’s school in Botswana had decided that its pupils needed to catch up. At the start of 2020 it began setting aside an hour each day in which to shuffle some of its children out of their usual classes and into groups decided by how well they could do maths. For 60 minutes chairs and tables are swept aside; pupils play learning games on the floor.

Ms Maphoto, a teacher, says her school has expanded its catch-up programme since its doors reopened in July—though she fears the classes are not quite as fun, now that the children must keep one metre apart.Pupils in many poor countries have long been learning shockingly little. In Botswana only about half of ten-year olds more...