How to Save Education From Disruptions, Pandemic – by Experts
In a country that just started the production of the pencil in 2019, how do we expect such a country to invest in Edu-based ICT programs? There are so many questions and discussions surrounding the education sector as a result of what happened during the pandemic lockdown.
Can we even afford to have another lockdown? If in the future we have another pandemic, will learning have to suffer again? How then do we as a nation prepare or arm ourselves to prevent another pandemic?
The effect of the pandemic as a result of the novel COVID-19 is still being felt by every aspect of the economy. More than a billion learners according to UNESCO had to stay at home, and even as it is right now in Nigeria, no level of learning class is in school – from pre-school to the tertiary level.
Recently, members of ECOWAS met to discuss solutions to education in West Africa. Guess what their conclusion was – yes, providing ICT-related solutions to distance learning so that West Africans can learn without having to be physically present. That sounds like something that should have been in place all these years.
Most developed countries have had this in place for decades, staying at home during the first wave of the lockdown didn’t even hinder learning for them. But West Africa had to even post-pone the famous WAEC exam till August. According to Dr. Obinyan, Provost of Corona College of Education, some schools were able to carry on due to what they’ve faced during the Ebola crisis “some private schools quickly took to adopting new ways of teaching and learning, using technology and e-learning platforms to execute their curriculum”.
For example, the City of Knowledge Academy, a school in Ijebu-Ode had a blended form of learning – by combining both in-person and online education. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the school had a seamless session when other schools were on lockdown.
Dr. Obinyan also pointed out the gap that was exposed as a result of the pandemic. She says “The rich took advantage of the e-learning to continue learning, while the most public schools had to send their pupils/students home with the hope that the lockdown was going to last few weeks”. Every hand must be on deck to bridge this gap.
Even though efforts were made to ensure the continuation of learning, most of the learners had to rely on their resources, radio, and television. Some teachers even had to learn new ways to deliver teaching, something they had no prior training for.
It will be hard to imagine another pandemic that would lead to the destabilization of every sector of the economy. This is why we need to learn from history, and put in place necessary measures.
What are they?
- Adequate funding for the health and education sector. The percentage of both the health and education sector are not even up to 20% of the national budget for 2020. Health got just 4.14%, while education 6.7%.
- Investing in the use of technology, not only for computer classes but also for online learning.
- Implementation of hybrid learning – using both in-person and e-learning methods.
- Training teachers on how to use ICT-related equipment and programs.
- Restructuring the curriculum to support e-learning.