Education Academic in Fight Against COVID-19
Professor Vimolan Mudaly of the School of Education is on a team of experts selected from national and international candidates to produce a report analysing South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mudaly will participate in expert groups contributing to the development of the official Country Report assessing the effectiveness of interventions being used by South Africa to combat the spread as well as the concomitant socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The South African government, through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), has requested the National Research Foundation (NRF) to mobilise expert groups to contribute to the development of the Country Report.
The GTAC is an agency of the National Treasury department, established to support government departments on an agile, responsive and as-needed basis. The centre promotes this support through partnerships with academic and research institutions, civil society and business, while the DPME co-ordinates government, planning, monitoring and evaluation to address poverty, unemployment and inequality.
In this time of crisis, it is considered imperative to consolidate all resources and efforts to support government’s response to the pandemic.
Mudaly has chosen to work with the Basic and Higher Education aspect of the report, which is his field of expertise. The DPME, GTAC and the NRF have granted permission for data to be collected nationally and internationally.
‘Currently, the first four chapters of the report are being written and the other eight chapters will be completed within the next few months,’ said Mudaly. ‘I feel quite chuffed at being selected and I am sure our learning from this entire experience will prepare us well for any future calamities that may assail us,’ said Mudaly.
The team is composed of specialists and experts supported by the NRF through the Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence (RCCE), Research Chairs Communities of Practice, the International Science Council National Committees, and other experts from science councils.
The group will comprise between six and eight members to allow diversity in skills and experiences.
The experts are expected to assess the current level of knowledge about COVID-19, identify gaps and accelerate priority research, and stimulate novel investigations and theoretical perspectives on how people are psychologically affected by and coping with COVID-19.
They will also examine measures put in place by government to minimise the impact of the virus; and to offer governments and policymakers’ evidence and strategies to improve public and clinical intervention systems.
Words: Melissa Mungroo