Get everybody talking
Get everybody talking
To get different groups of people to work together remotely during a crisis you need to make sure they can all communicate with each other quickly and easily.
There are four groups of people that you need to think about:
- Ministry staff
- Local education partners
All four groups may have different communication preferences – for example, teachers may prefer WhatsApp, but Parents may only have access to SMS. It is important to find out the best way for each group to communicate, and to be flexible. It is best to adapt to the preferred communication channel of each group rather than trying to make them adapt to yours.
Members of all four groups might find communication difficult due to lack of network access, infrastructure or technology. They may also face other challenges like working time being limited by childcare, or power blackouts.
It is important that communication is possible between Ministry workers and officials across the country.
To do this, you need to create a crisis team and give them the tools and support they need to work effectively from home and communicate with each other.
You need to understand the circumstances and needs of your teachers.
Are they likely to stay near their school, or will they return to their families who may live elsewhere? Are there any groups of teachers who are more likely to remain within the schools’ wider community?
How does their location, and the resources they have access to, affect their ability to deliver learning?
The communication channel your Ministry staff prefer to use may not be the easiest for teachers to use. You need to identify the best way for your Ministry staff to communicate with teachers – it could be SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, email or something else.
Teachers also communicate with parents, students and with each other. They may use a different communication channel to the one they use to communicate with the Ministry, because what works best for them might not work best for their audience.
You may need to provide a communication channel if none is available, for example an SMS portal.
You need to provide training, guidance and support to teachers working remotely.
We recommend setting up a help desk to advise teachers on pedagogical and IT problems, and any other difficulties they may have. This could be a toll-free phone number for teachers to call, but it could also be an SMS service or whatever works best for your teachers.
When managing remote staff, you will need to delegate responsibility. This means trusting, encouraging and supporting remote workers to work outside their normal patterns. It might be best to give individual teachers direct responsibility for organising and monitoring the remote learning for one group of students, for example a class or grade.
Parents are not part of the workforce, but they are the main point of contact with students, so you need a way to communicate with them. You should use the communication channel that parents prefer and find easiest to access.
You should also set up a help desk for parents, similar to the one you create for teachers.
Local education partners
Find the best way to communicate with local education partners. These might include international or local NGOs, people working in education in emergencies, or private companies that could provide some support, for example EdTech companies or telecom providers.