Learning In A Pandemic
Just like the rest of the world, Nigeria instructed schools to close down late March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, while most of the other countries have opted to have their classes online, this is not totally possible in Nigeria – where a very high percentage of the population has no access to the internet. According to Ydo Yao, regional director in West Africa of UN education agency UNESCO, “the pandemic, and the global shutdown of schools is deepening educational disparities between rich and poor, both between countries and within them.”
Even before COVID-19, there had already been a high increase and growth in the adoption of technology in education. The global investment in EdTech in 2019 reached US$18.66 billion, and an overall market projection for online education projected to reach about $350 Billion by 2025 – Market Business Insider. Be it online learning software, video conferencing tools, language apps, or virtual tutoring, there has been a significant increase in usage since COVID-19.
With online learning not available to most of the children, the government was of the idea that having educational programs on traditional media like radio and television will help also. Each of the Nigerian states was providing lessons on TV and radio, on various subjects all shown in a time table they have provided. Right from time, Nigeria has always sought ways to educate its children. During the emergence of the Boko Haram Islamist militant in the northeast, about 10 million children were receiving classes through educational programs aired by their local broadcasters.
In response to significant demand, many online learning platforms are offering free or discounted access to their services. Some wealthy Nigerian families have access to the internet, and schools in affluent areas offer some form of distance learning. Among these schools are Maple Canadian College, Lekki, Lagos, and Meadowlands Canadian School, FCT, Abuja. These are two leading international high schools for the new global, digital generation powered from Rosedale Academy Toronto (Ontario, Canada). They both offer a world-class Canadian university preparatory program to Nigerian students, who desire to study in the most sought-after universities and colleges abroad.
What is the future of learning?
While most agree that the unplanned transition to online learning is resulting in poor user experience, others believe that this new hybrid model of learning will spring up better benefits. According to Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Cloud and Vice President of Tencent Education, he concluded that “the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of school education. “