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ECOWAS implements distant-learning programmes to cushion effect of COVID-19

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ECOWAS Parliament will back states on E-learning — SpeakerBy Victoria Ojeme

The parliament of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has begun the process of implementing electronic and distant learning platforms in the region to cushion the effect of the forced-stayed at home orders for students that followed the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Mohamed Tunis disclosed this on Saturday while delivering his closing address at the delocalised meeting of a joint committee of Parliament.

The meeting was held by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Education, Science and Technology/ Telecommunication and Information Technology/ Political Affairs, Peace, Security, and Infrastructure to proffer solutions to digitizing education in West Africa.

He reminded members that the challenge of effectively switching to e-learning as well as getting the right laws and infrastructure would be daunting and as such they must brace up.

He said that the presentations by experts to the committee have thrown ample light on the process, leaving the rest of the work to the parliament, and will strengthen synergy with the executive in their countries.

“We are likely to face many challenges in implementing the commitments we have made at this meeting.

“However, Parliament is committed to working with Member States in areas related to Information and Communications Technology, Science, and Innovation to digitally connect our societies together.

“The ECOWAS Parliament stands prepared to follow up on the recommendations emanating from these discussions, and we express our unwavering commitment to working with all stakeholders to make these resolutions a reality,” he said.

The Speaker commended the Togolese National Parliament and its members as well as the government of Togo, for hosting Members of Parliament hospitably.

He thanked the Speaker of the national parliament in Togo, Hon. Yawa Djigbodi Tsegan for her presence and support to the ECOWAS Parliament throughout its meeting.

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I would like to extend my deep gratitude once again to His Excellency President Faure Gnassingbe, for the warm reception and audience he granted our delegation during our stay in Lomé.

“I wish to use this medium to further commend the Speaker of the National Assembly of Togo for all the support and cooperation, leading to the successes recorded.

“Similarly, I wish to appreciate the 3rd Deputy Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament and Head of the Togolese delegation, as well as other members of the delegation for their untiring efforts towards ensuring the success of this meeting,” he said.

Reeling out some of the achievements during the delocalised meeting, Tunis said that it provided an opportunity to mark, though in a small way, the 20th anniversary of the sub-regional Parliament.

He restated his commitment to building a stronger ECOWAS Parliament and therefore sought the support of all members and states.

“I wish to further reiterate my commitment towards building a stronger ECOWAS Parliament than what I met. I expect to achieve this feat with the cooperation of all Members and other stakeholders.

“I cannot but re-emphasize the opportunity we have had to listen and learn from the experts on the theme. We now have the challenge to reflect on the possibility of guaranteeing a truly digital learning environment with unhindered access to the internet.

“The meeting has also provided a window for Parliament’s identification of a relevant intervention mechanism to make an efficient contribution to the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Education and Training.

“I am optimistic that the insights provided by our Resource Persons will set the basis for actions that are expected to bring the changes we envision for our Member States,” he added.

He therefore commended his colleagues for the painstaking efforts made to ensure the meeting was a success, adding that the recommendations will get to the highest authorities in the sub-region.

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