School closures have been introduced as part of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. To mitigate the negative impact of the learning loss caused by school closures, countries have made significant efforts to ensure equitable access to quality learning, mainly by providing distance learning opportunities. However, there is a scarcity of empirical studies which explore the reality of how children have engaged in learning during the pandemic, especially in developing countries. The overall purpose of this study is to compare the policy actions and inequality in access to learning opportunities among primary and secondary school-aged children in three developing countries in Eastern Africa, namely Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi. This study used high-frequency phone survey data. The study found that only a small proportion of children engaged in learning activities used distance learning tools, including low-tech and one-way ones such as radios. It was also found that inequality in learning engagement exists among children who are out of distance learning platforms; it is potentially more severe in less developed counties.
This paper aims to formulate a challenging comparative study of three countries at different stages of economic growth―Thailand, Kenya, and Uganda―with regards to: (1) the current state of education universalisation and inequality, (2) the direction of each of their national visions and education policies, and (3) each of their efforts to reduce inequalities. The results of this study indicate the following: (1) While the universalisation of primary education has been commonly achieved, there are major gaps in the degree of universalisation in secondary and tertiary education progression, and regional education inequality prevails in the three countries. (2) All three countries aim to develop into high- or middle-income countries, as a measure of economic growth. In the case of Thailand, education is divided between extending education for children from middle- and higher-income groups and education for children experiencing hardships. Meanwhile, in Kenya and Uganda, it was found that bottom-up measures, such as improving access to education, equity, and literacy, were being undertaken, along with a simultaneous emphasis on science, technology, innovation, and human resource development in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) field, reflecting the priority industries of each country. (3) While it was evident that each country developed tailored programs for key areas to correct educational inequalities, organising entities were established in all of them in the following chronological order: Uganda, Kenya, and Thailand. These can be thought to reflect differences in the perception of such inequalities. While Thailand accepts disparities as given, Kenya aims to ensure access and equity in education, whereas Uganda guarantees access to education and literacy, specifically focusing on equity.
The purpose of this study is to explore the process of addressing inclusive education policies in Malawi and Ethiopia. The study particularly focuses on children with disabilities and how the actual process intends to meet their needs. While countries in the global North have accumulated rich experiences and lessons from both special and mainstream education, countries in the global South have not. Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic and travel restriction, online semi-structured interviews were conducted with officials in charge of inclusive education in both countries’ ministries of education. Findings reveal that while both countries face scarcity of human and financial resources, each of them adopts different approaches for inclusion. Whereas Malawi tends to close special schools for children with visual impairments, Ethiopia converts special schools for children with hearing impairments into regular schools. The study argues that merely introducing inclusive education without resources and teacher education may not necessarily be beneficial for all learners as they seem not to have sufficient support for quality education. The study concludes that under ‘inclusive education’, learners should not be left without adequate support.
This paper explores the concepts of ‘(in)equality’, ‘(in)equity’, and ‘(dis)parity’ in secondary education in South Africa (SA), Kenya, and Madagascar by analysing purposively selected national curricula and examinations of secondary education. First, in the case of SA, the analysis shows that the three concepts seem to be treated from both economic and social welfare perspectives; however, globally, the focus seems to be on the economic perspective. Second, the paper argues that in Kenya, although there are descriptions of the three concepts in the sense of the distribution of resources to ensure equality of opportunities, there seems to be greater emphasis on the promotion of social equality through social welfare and mutual assistance in person. Third, the three concepts are indirectly introduced in Malagasy concepts that discuss social circumstances in the unique context of Madagascar and seek to establish a well-balanced and fair ‘living together’ in the literal as well as the figurative sense.
The purpose of this paper is to critically review research and discussion on low-fee private schools in the last 20 years and to identify research gaps as well as the direction of the debate. By reviewing the literature, the authors found that studies are still largely limited to South Asia and some commonwealth countries in sub-Saharan Africa and are concentrated on the analysis of wealth and gender in terms of equity. The review also identified that some studies conducted on this theme tend to value findings that are based on rigorous and empirical research, neglecting studies that explore detailed explanations, processes, and voices on the ground in the global South. Moreover, the overall discussion concentrates on dichotomous ideologies, neoliberal market versus welfare state ideologies instead of how to respond to the needs and issues of unregulated and unregistered schools and children out of school. This study, therefore, suggests that solutions need to be found for the running of low-fee private schools since most of them operate and manage outside their present education systems with little support from local governments. Yet, it is these schools that often meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable with scarce human and financial resources.
The concern of providing religious education for all religions (REFAL) in Indonesia is being discussed in this study. It points out whether religious education is perceived as a subject or value from the perspective of multi-religious teachers and students, based on the context of urban and rural areas in Indonesia. This study also aims to show the social-religious complementary function which exists in religious communities later called religious inherency in edu-community. The religious education practices in this study are categorized into religious subject, teacher availability, teacher competency development program, learning materials, learning assessment, learning facilities, and learning activity. They lead to the existing gaps in the practice of religious education equality for each religion. Edu-community has the scheme of educational practice for reducing the religious education gaps to serve ‘each religion each education’. This scheme entails the existence of religious inherency to evoke another social function in society.
The objective of this study is to understand the extent to which the implementation of emergency distance learning under COVID-19 brought changes to higher education in Madagascar, with a particular focus on disparity. Participant observation, an online questionnaire survey with 38 students, and interviews with 24 students were conducted at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Antananarivo. The results showed that Malagasy higher education institutions implemented emergency distance learning with the means they had mostly based on teachers’ initiatives. Contents typically taught face to face had to be compressed and adapted to an online medium to be taught in a limited time. Such settings highlighted the existing disparities among students and revealed the ones whose voices are rarely heard. While the tight schedule of a university is generally considered to be too inflexible for working students, their work proved to be vital for their ability to continue studying, which has little to do with lack of maturity as highlighted in previous studies. It was also shown that students who differ from the majority, such as those who have health issues or the slow learners, are also reluctant to assert themselves in class, which might necessitate a reconsideration of the relationship between students and instructors in Malagasy universities.
It is widely discussed that information sharing can bond the community and school to promote quality education services. This article attempts to examine how awareness and participation regarding children’s education differ by gender of parents before and after text-message information sharing practices in the Maasai community in rural Kenya. Our research does not reveal a simple gender difference in awareness and participation in schools, but more nuanced gender gaps in effects. On average, the positive relationship between accurate awareness of school performance and meeting attendance was much stronger for female guardians than male counterparts after information sharing. An interactive factor of gender and education level was negatively associated with awareness and meeting attendance at baseline, but such a relationship disappeared after information sharing. Furthermore, female guardians improved more awareness after information sharing than males in high-performing schools, while male counterparts reduced their meeting attendance more than female ones.