Theme 2: A comparative study on the response of NPOs in education to the COVID-19 pandemic

The response of NPOs in education to the COVID-19 pandemic to the concomitant uncertainty globally and the announced lockdown of 21 days in South Africa.

Lead Researcher: Dr Rooksana Rajab, JET Education Services
Co-lead: Louise Albertyn, Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Peer Reviewer: Duncan Hindle, National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), Sarah Rennie and Nick Rockey

Researchers: Abigail Ornellas, Nikisha Singh, Jonathan Banza, Lebogang Pheladi Magolego, Meisie Rasakanya, Mandisa Gila,
Tiro Nkadimeng, Elise White and Simphiwe Ntuli

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With the Presidential announcement of a lock down in South Africa, NPOs in education across the country need to take responsible action both for their organisations and its beneficiaries that would otherwise be hard hit by the halting of many of their projects and programmes.

In order to ensure that their organisations survive this period, NPOs cannot afford to suspend projects, programs and activities. Will they display the typical resourcefulness and grit and find new ways to continue their work?

To answer this question, a survey will be conducted among education NGOs. 


  1. Investigate the response by the leadership and employees of education NPOs globally and in South Africa in terms of the current situation.

  2. Understand the perceived impact the lockdown will have on all NPO stakeholders/ expectations due to the emotional nature of the crisis

  3. Categorise the strategies adopted from an organisational perspective in the short term

  4. Recommend long term changes that need to be made for future operations and survival of NPOs (some of these recommendations may be informed by observing that the short term strategies are seen to be working more effectively than existing strategies so let us learn from that what the “new normal” should be)

  5. Recommendations for a national education policy shift.

  1. Explore some of the changes your NPO has made recently as a response.

  2. What aspects of your organisation are influenced by these changes, for example: operational procedures, focus areas, how teams work together, how beneficiaries are served, modes and frequency of communication and prioritising organisational health?

  3. In what way has your leadership style changed in response to this crisis?

  4. Which ones do you think you are likely to keep going forward?

  5. Which are the most important changes that you would like to see remain in order to make education systems more resilient?

  • Working with RMB to see if an instance of the Edvision platform can be utilized to geomap and provide information on COVID-19 preventative measures being undertaken by NPOs working in education. 

  • Desktop research can be conducted to gather NPO statements released on social media channels and newsletters since lockdown was announced to share their “way forward”.