By Onosen Divine Alegbe
The last few weeks have witnessed heightened awareness of the threat from the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic.
As the virus spreads around the world, we also need to understand what it means for our education systems in Nigeria. With the need to contain the virus, many countries have embarked on complete lockdown implementing measures to reduce gatherings of crowds.
The question is, from an educational perspective, what do these students do when schools are closed? We implore government to create measures for students to have continuous education remotely using technology. At the same time, one more important question is: can students actually benefit from technology at home?
Two-thirds of school systems do not use digital content in education. A mere 10 percent of countries have more robust digital learning capabilities with some of the educational content available outside of school. No country, according to research, has universal curriculum-linked resources for teaching and learning, regardless of place and time.
At the same time, countries that lack access to good teaching in remote areas try to use this capability for education improvement, both by using the older and proven technologies such as radio and television broadcasting, and leveraging the potential of ICT. This is where teacher training with digital technologies and applications becomes important. Media, and especially social media, can also be used to educate students about the virus itself and to teach basic hygiene.
Nigeria’s current education system is designed for face-to-face teaching and learning, the lock-down and school closures may be accommodated for a short period of time. However, if the situation continues to last for months, it may need a dramatic change in delivery.
So, what should our government include as part of their strategic plan for this decade? I recommend; adequate investment in emerging technologies, its time to change the face of our society. Its time for us to have adequate data base of all citizenry, its time to improve connectivity of old technologies (such as radio and television broadcasting), improve telecommunication capabilities for schools to be able to deliver education online, just to mention a few.
The pandemic episode has overwhelmed the world and the best of professionals have also not been able to come up with a solution, but I must say that, it will soon become history in no time. As it were, nothing last forever but whilst still in the crisis, our government must begin to make strategic plans that will push our nation forward because whether we agree or not, this pandemic episode will change the world. Alot of things will not be done the usual way anymore. So, I recommend for our government to hasten plan to create avenues for continuous capacity development by embracing technology for education systems.
Onosen Divine Alegbe is the Chairperson, Legal Committee of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA)