Addressing Learning Backlogs through Collaboration
Learning backlogs are a nascent education challenge that must be addressed if we are to turn the performance of our education system around. When learners present with backlogs which build up as they progress in their schooling because of poorly developed skills and competencies from prior grades, deeper learning and acquisition of new concepts is hindered.
For the Zenex Foundation, like many education stakeholders, addressing learning backlogs is a key priority. Substantial learning losses suffered because of school closures and rotational attendance occasioned by COVID-19, have exacerbated the backlogs. Now more than ever, we need a concerted and collaborative approach to address this challenge.
To this end, the Zenex Foundation worked with Reos Partners, experienced facilitators of using collaborative approaches for systems change around the world, to test whether we could contribute to aligned framing, priorities and coordination with the relevant stakeholders to address learning backlogs more effectively in South Africa.
To better understand both barriers and opportunities to address this issue more effectively, we have, since December 2021 to date, spoken to key stakeholders and contributors to addressing learning backlogs in South Africa through interviews and an online, multi stakeholder workshop hosted on 3 February 2022. Their inputs have been synthesized (into a report and summarized in a presentation) with a view to contribute to better coordinated responses and innovations.
The interviews, synthesis, and workshop outcomes have made it increasingly clear that this was one step in the right direction towards creating practical solutions for addressing learning backlogs. The workshop did indicate that there is some work to be done to identify a common approach to addressing learning backlogs.
We thank all participants for their participation in this process and look forward to more engagements towards finding lasting solutions to the challenges.