Response to COVID-19: ADEA supports the initiative of African writers and publishers to provide free reading books to African students during the pandemic

Images of African books. Photo credit: Éditions Ganndal

The education systems of most countries will suffer, in one way or another, from the immediate and future consequences of the serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, this already assumes that countries are looking for new approaches to mitigate these effects on the education and training of young people.

Schools are closed. Bookstores, libraries and reading centers are also closed, leaving students on their own, without direct access to books and reading, in many countries. Thus, a question arises: what can we do to support these young people not to lose this precious time? We would like to respond to this challenge “by offering easy reading opportunities” because, as we know, it is an effective remedy to boredom. Whilst upholding the spirit of discovery and openness to the world and other cultures, reading also makes it possible to:

  1. Develop memory and cognitive skills;
  2. Improve concentration and attention;
  3. Increase knowledge;
  4. Improve oral and written expression;
  5. Develop analytical and critical thinking;
  6. Reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the quality of sleep;
  7. Have fun and enjoy.

All elements necessary for lasting and quality learning.

Like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, African publishers are committed to help young readers making the most of this closed school time and spend this period of confinement pleasantly and usefully, by offering them free reading books on their respective platforms. Thus, publishers can facilitate access to books and support the educational awakening of young people amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on its mandate to catalyze innovative and relevant initiatives contributing to the development of the education and training sector in Africa, ADEA supports the efforts of African book professionals – especially writers – who agreed to temporarily transfer their copyrights as well as those publishers who have initiated civic actions, to help young Africans to access free reading materials, in order to support them in the learning process, in this period of generalized interruption of classes in schools.

In addition, in order to provide quality reading materials in different languages, ADEA along with several partners (i.e. African Storybook, Creative Commons, Global Book Alliance, Global Digital Library, Learning Equality, Norway, Pratham Book's Story Weaver, The Asia Foundation, UNESCO, UNHCR and Verizon) are co-organizing a virtual initiative called #TranslateAStory – which will start in late April – to translate books for children and make them available in multiple languages.

Lastly, the Books and Learning Materials section of the ADEA’s Inter-country Quality Node on Teaching and Learning (ICQN-TL) urges parents, teachers and public reading stakeholders to allow children to take advantage of the following opportunities as much as possible.

Links to free online reading materials

  1. Éditions Dodo vole
    Livres publiés en créole réunionnais, en créole mauricien, en malgache, et en français. 

  2. Éditions Jeunes malgaches