COVID-19 is a public health emergency of international concern. During his speech on 18 March, the President of the Tunisian Republic declared a curfew (from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) throughout the country. He also announced total confinement and a ban on all travel between neighbourhoods and cities.
Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the DVV International Tunisia office has adapted its operations and human resources and is working on a response that will limit the health and economic damage in the country.
In order to prevent the spread of the virus and to prepare for post-confinement, it is very important to sensitise learners to the risks and appropriate behaviours. It is in this context that DVV International Tunisia supported its partners in launching local awareness campaigns among the beneficiaries of adult education. The information about COVID-19 provided to learners will help to alleviate their fears and anxieties about the disease and strengthen their capacity to cope with all the secondary consequences of the infection on their lives. Maintaining the safe operation of the centres or reopening them after the closure period requires consideration of many elements that, if properly executed, can promote public health.
In accordance with the lockdown guidelines imposed by the Tunisian Government, DVV International Tunisia faced the challenge of finding, in close collaboration with its partners, alternative solutions to ensure the continuity of non-formal education training. To this end, the office embarked on an approach to digitisation of the adult education system, which resulted in the launch of the implementation of an information management system dedicated to non-formal education throughout the national territory. This would allow access to online pedagogical resources for the learning of trainers and adult education learners.
In addition, a study to identify and assess the feasibility of training or support solutions aimed at promoting the access of low-skilled young people to employment and/or entrepreneurship in the digital economy is currently being carried out. This study aims to list a series of possible digital income-generating activities in which the beneficiaries of the adult education programme could be oriented. This would result in their socio-economic integration.
DVV International Tunisia deploys its support to the partners by providing pedagogical tools, computer equipment (tablets, PCs, mobile internet networks, etc.) in order to maintain the link, on a daily basis, with the trainers and managers involved in the online training program, and to facilitate distance exchanges between them.
The Tunisian higher Institute of Education and Continuing Education (Institut Supérieure de l’Education et de la Formation Continue – ISEFC) and DVV International Tunisia resume their activities for the benefit of trainers by organising two online training sessions.
In order to ensure the continuity of its activities and actions in favour of adult learners, DVV International has turned the constraints generated by the COVID-19 pandemic to alternative solutions, including online training cycles for adult education trainers. ISEFC, one of the partners of DVV International Tunisia, started its first online training session on 27 May, a programme that falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The first session ran from 27 to 30 May and contributed toward the training of 120 instructors according to modules adapted to their training needs.
These modules relate, in particular, to the andragogical approach in professional didactics and semiotics and are based on double reflection. This approach will allow the trainer to recognise the responsibility and the will of the learner to direct her/his own learning. In this way, e-training provides an opportunity to have constructive feedback and to revise lessons and information according to the learner’s needs. In addition to promoting literacy programmes, this training cycle aims to deepen the pedagogical knowledge of trainers so the learners can develop each capacity and thus allow quality professional learning.
Other modules will be on the menu of the online sessions, namely, the analysis of professional practices as well as motivational dynamics in adult education and conflict management. They will also help the trainer to explore the different cognitive and social characteristics of adult learners and identify what designers of pedagogical material need to understand about them in order to create appropriate content and course structure. These working documents will thus be used by the trainer to find the intrinsic impulse of the learner and stimulate reflection. A second face-to-face training session in September 2020 will follow this online training.
Since the signing of the framework agreement with the Ministry of Social Affairs on 4 July 2019, DVV International Tunisia has significantly contributed to promoting adult and non-formal education via the involvement of people in sustainable socio-economic and cultural development, with the aim of fighting illiteracy, instability and poverty.