Note To Esteemed Readers

It is no longer news that the outbreak of the world deadly coronavirus disease pandemic has shut down economic activities across the world. When it first started in Wuhan city there in China, it was like a common flu. When it started spreading to other parts of the world, we black Africans were like oh its the white man’s syndrome. And when it eventually hit Africa, we Nigerians where like thank God its still a bit far from us! When it finally hit Nigeria, we were like if Ebola could not survive our weather, is it this common coronavirus that would withstand it. Gradually, doctors and other health workers who attended to the foreigner who landed in Nigeria with the disease were quarantined. At this stage, so many Nigerians still doubt the existence of the virus even when after one or two persons tested positive. The noise from social media declaring intake of ginger, garlic, and lemon infusion as a cure for the virus made people nearly become reckless with their lives, thinking if at all they tested positive for the virus, at the gush of these infusions, they will be well. The conspiracy theories associated with the virus made it worse for citizens who believed it was all political affairs and then refused to give listening ears to advice of the health workers on the reality of the deadly virus. But it dawn on us when airports and international boarders were shutdown. The panic aggravated when known national figures started coming on air announcing their positive status of the virus. At this point, the virus had already spread to almost all the states of the country which made government officials to declare the closure of interstate boarders and restriction of movements within the various states affected. At this very point, no one could force any one to accept the reality of the of the existence of the virus as everyone became ambassador for COVID 19 pandemic. Street, television, radio, social media sensitization, wearing of face masks, washing and sanitizing of hands became part of our daily activities.

Coranavirus Pandemic And Education System

You may be wondering where this whole narrative is heading! Well this global pandemic has not only shutdown economic activities but has also halt our activities in the education sector. Ever since Nigeria recorded active cases of Coronavirus, the education system have almost taken the place of a puzzle. Schools have been on indefinite holiday. How will our dear children learn have been the question pondering the hearts of the government, parents and teachers. The government have suggested that lessons should be passed to learners using platforms such as radio, television, and even social media. Another question is how effective can this method of learning be when not every learner have access to this media declared above? As a teacher in Urban area, I have been passing lesson to my learners through video tutoring same method most private schools have adopted. Now what happens to those learners in rural areas where there are no adequate means of communication? Solution to these questions is what I have decided to share with you on this post. You and I know very well that its possible for all learners to have same learning contents but its impossible for all to have equal effective learning opportunity. If you have ever attended school in the village and later had opportunity to continue your studies in the city, or you once studied in public school and later moved to private school, you will definitely understand my point. So what are the possible solutions to these?

Way Forward

1. Literate parents and guidance should get scheme of work from the schools or ministry of education, get approved text books for each subject, sit back with your wards and teach the contents to them in the areas you are good at. Contact the teachers for appropriate explanations on the difficult areas. Those parents and guidance that are not literate, should provide their wards with learning materials including an internet accessible cell phones to enable them study on their own, search for relevant information where necessary. The most important duty of the parents/guidance is to ensure that their wards are engaged with their studies.

2. Public libraries in the rural and urban areas should be opened for learners to have free and full access to learning materials. As we all know, not all learners are privilege enough to afford certain learning materials. This measure should also include I.C.T centres for learners who can not afford computer or cell phone for e-learning where possible. I know you would say it will encourage mass gathering. If churches can manage and practice social distancing, why can’t the library which is a ‘mind your business’ affairs do same. The library officials have role to play here. Just like the health workers, they (the library officials), at this point, should be placed on essential services for the sake of our dear learners. So at this point, the government and able individuals should look into this. Places in cities and rural areas especially where there are no libraries and I.C.T centres should be addressed.

3. The learners should encourage their parents by showing seriousness in their studies. This pandemic period is a very difficult and trying time. There is this inner joy and peace that parents derive when they see their wards putting enough efforts in their studies. So to impress and motivate your parents to struggle and contribute more to your educational needs, you have a great role to play.

4. The learners in external examination classes should take advantage of the stay at home period to study even more so as to obtain a good result after the examinations. The truth is, no examiner would blame the pandemic on the failure of any learner. The exams were only postponed indefinitely due to the underlying consequences of mass gathering. So if you are a wise learner, your grades should be the best you’ve ever had after the pandemic. This also applies to learners in higher institution of learning. Already you are adults. The decision you make towards your studies now that you are home will determine your level of seriousness. When I was in school, every holidays, I used to take books from my senior colleagues just to study ahead. This made me one of the best in my department. So don’t turn your stay at home into flexing moments, rather, focus on your studies.

In conclusion, no one knows when this pandemic will be over but it is something that could have been avoided if only adequate measures were put in place on time and if only too we had accepted the reality of the existence of the virus in time. So both the government, parents, teachers, and learners should work as a team to ensure the education system do not collapse at the end of the COVID 19 pandemic. I advice that while we are home, we should always remember to maintain social distancing, abide by the COVID 19 rules of our dear government to stay safe.

Gloria Ogunbor.

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