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RUFORUM Thought Piece on COVID-19: Emerging Challenges

  • In General
  • 29 Jun 2020 - 9:17am
  • By Mark Wamai
  • 261,305
RUFORUM Thought Piece on COVID-19 by Dr. Runyararo Jolyn Rukarwa, Manager–Research and Innovation, RUFORUM.

What are the emerging challenges and issues that face universities in undertaking research in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic?

With the sudden closure of campuses across the continent to curb the spread of COVID-19, higher education intuitions in Africa are shifting to online learning or distance education programs. The advantage is it can allow for the students to learn at their convenience since itis needless to attend training centers and universities. This large shift to online instruction does not need for the face to face interaction between lecturers and studentsand between studentsso there is prevention and control over the spread of the virus. However, this is not the case when it comes to research in most of our universities.

Zoomification does not work in research. Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on research around the continent, shuttering laboratories, aborting field projects, and costing scientists months if not years of work. Even as universities contemplate reopening; if and when governmentsease lockdown restrictions—the challenges will be enormous. Most will have to operate with just a few individuals at a time, working in shifts. All large gatherings, including lab/field research activities, are likely to be prohibited. And there will be stark differences in strategy between fields and sometimes even within the same building.

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