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Turkish schools pioneer distance learning in Senegal

Maarif Foundation-affiliated schools switch to online classes amid coronavirus lockdown

Alaattin Dogru   | 24.04.2020
Turkish schools pioneer distance learning in Senegal

DAKAR, Senegal

Turkey's Maarif Foundation-affiliated schools are leading distance learning initiatives in Senegal after schools were closed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The foundation's schools in the capital Dakar, and the cities of Saint Louis and Thies were quick to shift to remote learning models after all educational activities were suspended on March 14.

"When the pandemic started spreading in Italy where many Senegalese lived, we predicted that the disease would reach Senegal in a short time," Dakar Maarif College Director Recep Can told Anadolu Agency.

We trained our staff using one-on-one online models and introduced them to distance learning softwares, he said.

Meanwhile, Dakar Maarif College's Distance Education Coordinator Maguette Medoune Diop said the lessons continue uninterrupted and teachers take online classes.

Parents have praised the initiative.

"Maarif made very fast entry to distance education. When I look at other schools, I see that Maarif pioneers through this system," said a parent, Ousmane Ndiaye.

The Turkish government set up the Maarif Foundation soon after the 2016 defeated coup to administer overseas schools linked to FETO.

The foundation has established schools and education centers across Africa and Asia.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private schools that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. Europe and the U.S. are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed more than 191,000 people, with total infections nearly 2.72 million, while more than 745,000 have recovered, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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