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Schools Reopening in Nigeria

Learning activities has been disrupted as a result of the closure of schools nationwide Access to vital school-provided services for a record number of students in Nigeria is limited.

The federal Government through the Ministry of Education approved the nationwide closure of schools on March 19, 2020. Although the initial plan was to be one month closure from Monday, 23rd March, 2020 to avert the spread of the pandemic coronavirus, it is extended till further notice with the gradual easing of lockdown instructions. What happens to learners?

UNESCO reported that almost 40 million learners have been affected by the nationwide school closures in Nigeria, of which over 91 per cent are primary and secondary school learners. Soon, COVID-19 has disrupted the landscape of learning by limiting how students can access learning across the country.

Happening to an already fragile education system, the COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges on the government, students, and parents, and could amplify some of the cracks in the system.

While the nation begins to grapple with these challenges, a key question arises: Is the Nigerian education system designed to adapt rapidly to the changing world? Considering the state of affairs in the world today, the nation’s ability to ensure continuation of learning will depend largely on their ability to swiftly harness available technology, provide adequate infrastructure, and mobilise stakeholders to prepare alternative learning programmes.

The world embraces technological innovations to beanbag the effects of  the pandemic. Thus, virtual interactions are increasingly adopted to replace face-to-face engagements and limit the total disruption to many sectors

Usage of distance learning programmes, open educational applications, and platforms by schools and teachers to reach learners remotely like Zoom class, Google class, has had tremendous effect. Included in the list could be other integrated digital learning platforms video lessons, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and broadcast through radio and television.

No doubt, the success of these recommendations in Nigeria hinges on the use of high technology or low technology solutions, which are based on the reliability of local power supply, Internet connectivity and digital skills of teachers, students, parents, and caretakers.

 

Tomorrow is too far to bridge the gap of educational inequity by ensuring adequate funding of the education sector. The effects brought about by the pandemic is just one out of many implications of educational inequity; we don’t know what awaits us in the future.

Therefore, it is highly important that we provide an equitable and inclusive learning environment for the students to ensure continuity in learning for all, irrespective of their socio-economic background. Unique of the palliative measures that can be adopted includes a public and private partnership with non-profits and other government agencies who are working to salvage the situation.

Efforts like this can be supported through the provision of funds at this critical time. None should forget that education is the bedrock of every society as it is the solution to whatever problem we might have.

We should all remember that whatever the problem is, education remains the solution. Our future is in our hands to decide, let us join hands together to make Nigeria a better place through quality and inclusive education.

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