Adapting online approaches to context: an example from Sierra Leone’s higher education
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Over the past decade, INASP has developed significant expertise in using technology-enhanced approaches to support the development of skills for producing, sharing and using research and knowledge in the Global South. We firmly believe that people and pedagogy should always come before technology and, to do this, it is important to understand the users’ situation and needs.
Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone (AQHEd-SL) is a four-year project bringing together higher education institutions (HEIs) across Sierra Leone to improve quality management in higher education and support the introduction and implementation of outcome-based education. INASP's role, alongside a Critical Thinking Taskforce from HEIs across the country, is to support the training of lecturers in critical thinking skills and the implementation of technology-enhanced teaching and learning approaches.
Working with our partners across Sierra Leone has revealed some major challenges in the country, particularly related to insufficient and expensive internet access and diverse levels of digital literacy skills amongst both students and teaching staff. As a result, the approach to delivering critical thinking training has been adapted significantly, firstly in response to initial identification of challenges and again as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.