Following the effect of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria, educational institutions like every other aspect of life were shutdown. School children have been at home since March and only graduating classes are to resume from Monday depending on the state.
Following the lockdown, some state governments embarked on electronic and online classes to keep students mentally active within the period. This is a good development but the truth is that we are not really prepared for this.
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- Poverty – over 80% of school children come from homes below poverty line. So how can they afford the high cost of data subscription? In some homes there are up to 5 to 8 school children and you wonder how the parents can afford to have them online for lectures daily.
Just like their kids, parents were also on lockdown and without pay of palliatives from the government. How can the parents afford the data when they have no income while at the same time providing meals for the family?
- Lack of Power – It’s hard to have power supply up to four hours a day. And some areas and communities have not seen power for months or even years. So how would those with Television and radio have access to electronic classes?
- Rural Students – Millions of students living in the rural areas with no access to power, television, radio or smart phones. In fact the two factors stated above are more visible in our villages.
- Lack of Interest in Studying – We live in an era when majority of school children are least interested in studying. They have been fed with the notion that going to school doesn’t guarantee a good life.
The only reason many miss school is their freedom and friendships they miss and desire to return back for those two reasons.
WHAT GOVT AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS NEED TO DO NOW
This is an opportunity for the governments and educational institutions to invest into virtual learning. Schools ought to start developing a comprehensive curriculum that would encourage many people to receive lectures at home.
It would increase admissions into tertiary institutions and reduce larger populations on campuses. It would also help many persons to develop lifesaving entrepreneurial skills while acquiring formal education.
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