Every year, May 15 marks the International Day of Families. This year, it focuses on the impacts of new technologies on the well-being of families. The pandemic has resulted in many school closures, distance online learning, and a widening of the education gap. Moreover, the economic challenges faced by many disadvantaged families have only grown larger- with many families at risk of being unable to afford their children’s education, let alone the technology needed for distance learning (see our COVID-19 Youth Voices feature here). In response to the challenges of the pandemic, Aflatoun and our partners have developed blended learning methods to ensure that social and financial education can continue to be provided to all children and youth.
New technologies have the potential to strengthen educational systems, and increase reach and impact, which is why the Aflatoun team is continuously working to develop new digital learning materials for teachers, trainers, and partner organisations. The challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have emphasised the necessity for a blended learning approach. Our partners have been supporting the children and families who are impacted by the digital divide by adapting distance learning methods, and by supporting their wellbeing during the pandemic. As some of our partners and Aflatoun students’ families have limited or no access to internet, we also developed low tech solutions; such as creating content for non-smartphones using SMS delivery systems.
Adapting and creating new technologies has been an important part of responding to Covid-19, but another key factor has been involving families within the educational process. According to a 2018 UN Report, families being the elementary social unit make them a key player in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG4: Quality Education (UNESCO, 12).
Read on to discover the ways in which some of our partners in Brazil, Ukraine and Mozambique adapted to pandemic restrictions, and incorporated a family approach into their Aflatoun programmes.