By Kevin Zeller | August 18, 2020
International (MNN) — One of COVID-19’s most widespread casualties so far has been the education of young people all over the world. Over 1 billion students were affected this year as schools shut down to avoid transmission of the virus.
David Durance says TeachBeyond often has to deal with situations like the one in Northern Kenya, where teachers have been targeted for violence in order to disrupt education. But the pandemic has made everything worse. “I think at one point, during the spring of this year, all of our projects around the world [were] not able to deliver a face-to-face education.”
How is TeachBeyond bringing back school? “It’s complicated.” Durance says, “the government response to the pandemic has been very different in different countries, so TeachBeyond has to be flexible.”
“It’s so important that kids get back to regular education”, Durance says. “These are critical years for these kids that no one gets back. So how do we address that? There’s been a number of incredibly creative approaches. For example, in Africa where the internet’s not very good, lessons were delivered via WhatsApp, because there were no computers at home. In some of the more wealthier places where there’s great internet, we were able to deliver fantastic online schooling and do zoom calls every day.”
Getting teachers into their countries
The same applies to teachers. TeachBeyond has seen a massive influx of people wanting to help provide education around the world, but right now, it’s easier to get them into countries like Germany than many countries in Africa. Durance says, “I know a number of situations in which we’re anticipating that the teachers won’t be able to actually get to where they’re going to be delivering that education.”
Pray for counties like Northern Kenya, where education can be difficult even when there isn’t a pandemic. And pray that TeachBeyond will be able to come up with creative solutions to keep educating kids, even from a distance.
Most of all, Durance asks Christians to pray that teachers will be able to travel safely and get into the countries they are trying to reach.