Austin Tam-George, a communication and educational consultant, has urged African leaders to rethink the educational delivery methods in schools across the continent, following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At UNESCO conference, Tam-George tasks leaders to embrace digital education
Tam-George served in the Government of Rivers State as Commissioner for Information.
Tam-George made the call at a recent virtual conference organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to evaluate research findings on the impact of COVID-19 and e-learning on the education of young people in over 70 countries around the world.
Reports show that the education of 1.5 billion young people around the globe were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many resorting to online learning.
UNESCO is seeking to document the experiences of young learners during the COVID-19 crisis as a basis for recommendations for educational policy reforms in the most impacted countries.
Speaking at the conference, Tam-George noted that one of the lessons of the pandemic's impact on education in Nigeria was the need to train teachers on digital teaching, online instructional learning design, and evaluation.
Many teachers seemed ill-prepared for the sudden demands of online education, he said.
"We need a new pedagogical playbook that prepares teachers on digital teaching, learning and evaluation," Tam-George said, adding that "rather than the isolated training of individual teachers by schools, we need a deeper structural reform. Colleges of Education must develop a comprehensive curriculum to train teachers on digital education."
Tam-George who was appointed by UNESCO to serve as a technical advisor at the conference, also called on African governments to expand broadband penetration across the continent, by making internet access a fundamental right of citizens.
The COVID-19 global impact research was conducted by young people under the Youth-As-Researchers (YAR) initiative of UNESCO.
Austin Tam-George is a communication and educational consultant with a Ph.D from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He also attended the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, where he studied communication and leadership.
Tam-George’s extensive multi-sectoral experience straddles the fields of education, government, oil and gas, and nonprofit.
For over 23 years, Dr. Tam-George taught in different universities including the University of Cape Town, South Africa, where he was Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
His work as an educator has brought him in contact with students and professionals from over 70 countries.
In 2008, Tam-George worked as a Research Consultant to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in its good governance monitoring projects across Africa.
In 2013, he worked with a team of special validators on community development and sustainability projects in the Niger Delta region in Nigeria.
Tam-George also served in the Government of Rivers State, Nigeria, as Commissioner for Information. His specific role was to develop and implement policy communication strategies for the government, and to help frame public policy.
This role gave him extensive exposure to government functionaries at all levels, the diplomatic community, academic and research think tanks, policy experts, Civil Society Organizations, and multinational firms.
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