The Need for Revisiting Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions’ Curricula for Epidemic/ Pandemic Resilient Teaching-Learning and Community Engagement: COVID-19 and Beyond
Keywords:Curriculum, revisit, response, COVID-19, instruction
The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of millions and wrecked severely the economies of several countries, businesses and travels worldwide. War has been waged against this pandemic at every front, especially at macro international, national, and institutional levels. But it appears to be the case so far that no significant attention has been given to curricular responses to the pandemic. This study attempts to contribute to the filling of this gap. Towards this effect, the study attempts to revisit the curricular contents of the first-year common courses of three universities in Ethiopia, courses designed before the onset of Covid-19, and find out if they were in a position to sufficiently address, through curricular delivery methods in the teaching-learning process and their community engagement/service-learning activities, the Covid-19 and related pandemics. This is believed to help re-engineer those activities in a way that they are Covid-19 sensitive and thus will have little or no chance to expose students and teachers during instruction to the Covid-19 pandemic infection. A descriptive case study design is chosen for this objective. Purposely selected curricular/syllabus units are content-analysed and randomly selected student and teacher informants from the three national universities are interviewed. The finding indicated the existence of a strong need to revisit the curricular contents in terms of the demands of the Covid-19 New Normal Era. It is recommended that all learning activities in the courses analysed should subscribe to the safest, individualized, distance, and virtual instruction and learning methods that are appropriate during the time of the pandemic.