Teacher support, preparedness and resilience during times of crises and uncertainty: COVID-19 and education in the Global South

  • Marcina Singh CITE, CPUT
  • Eva Bulgrin
  • Martin Henry
  • Deirdre Williams
  • Mary Metcalfe
  • Joseph Pesambili
  • George Mindao
Keywords: COVID-19, equity and inequality, teachers, teacher professional development, (teacher) psycho-social support, Sub-Saharan Africa


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing education inequities, further marginalising those with poor and limited education opportunities, particularly in conflict, fragile and insecure contexts (Sayed & Singh, 2020). In the Global South, the COVID-19 pandemic compounds existing crises, frailties and inequities as the impoverished suffer food insecurity, physical conflict and crises of health and water. Drawing on research, commissioned by the Open Society Foundation and Education International, based on interviews with purposefully selected teachers’ union and government officials in eight African countries and a detailed desk-based review, the paper examines the role of teachers in education policy responses to the pandemic and the kinds of support (or lack thereof) availed to teachers. Using the conceptual framing of de Sousa Santos’ (2001,2014) sociology of absences and cognitive injustice, the paper demonstrates that teachers have been absent in policymaking processes, and have not been adequately provided with the necessary professional development and psychosocial support to navigate the uncertainties and  pedagogical requirements imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic