Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic: Can Public Primary and Secondary Schools in Lusaka District of Zambia use Blended and Distance Teaching and Learning?
Keywords: Blended learning, Distance learning, Face-to-Face, COVID-19 Pandemic, Zambia
AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions in most fields of human endeavor and education seems to be one of the most hit. In Zambian, schools’ face-to-face teaching and learning had been stopped on two occasions when the spread of the corona virus caused several deaths and severe illness. Some institutions of learning especially, in higher education pivoted to some form of technology-mediated teaching and learning. However, can public primary and secondary schools also manage to implement their curriculum using blended and distance learning? In this study, a mixed method research approach was used to analyse experiences of 200 teachers, 400 learners and 20 head teachers in arriving at lessons that can be drawn from the COVID-19 disruptions in terms of the use of blended and distance teaching and learning. The findings showed that the majority of teachers had no pedagogical competencies to teach using blended and distance methods since they were only familiar with face-toface methods. It was also revealed that blended and distance teaching and learning would require digital devices and platforms which were not available to both teachers and learners. It was for this reason that both school authorities and learners only waited for the pandemic to minimize or finish before school activities could resume. We conclude and recommend that the Ministry of Education in Zambia needs to invest heavily in improving school infrastructure, up skilling teachers in ICT and provide digital platforms to schools if blended and distance education are to be used since living with the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be the new normal of the world status.