Written by: Fredrick Osheku (Communication Officer, TEP Centre).
In December 2019, a novel strain of a virus was identified. This strain, since named Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has ballooned into a global pandemic present in almost every country in the world. Because of its very high infection rate, quite a number of social sectors have been shut down, including the education sector.
The education sector will remain shut as long as the pandemic rages, and that presents a peculiar problem. There is the very high possibility that the longer children spend out of school, the more difficult the learning experience will be when they resume. There is also the time wasted which could have been utilized properly. This leaves us a very pertinent question. How do we ensure our children are learning even in the middle of a shut down?
The statement “never let a good crisis go to waste” comes to mind in this situation. Of course, good in the statement looks at the benefits that can be extracted from the crisis, and not the crisis itself.
This coronavirus pandemic is a crisis to not just the education system, and it has highlighted limitations and deficiencies in our current system. We should take advantage of the exposure of these limitations and develop innovative solutions. This was the reason why the human species survived and thrived. We adapted and we innovated.
If our education system is to thrive, we must adapt to our current reality, however temporary, and innovate in other to get the best out of this reality. For example, answering the question of “how do we reach and teach children in rural communities who are unable to go the school during this shut down?” might be the answer to solving the perennial problem of the increasing number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
There are quite a number of options already available to explore and improve upon one of which is the wildly popular online schooling. This option is an avenue that needs to be streamlined to conform with the established curriculum. Also, this option although popular in the urban areas, may not be as effective in the rural areas as they lack the internet infrastructure needed to access this form of schooling.
There are doubtless other ideas and prospective solutions out there in the wild waiting to be harnessed. As a people, we need to band together to ensure that the current temporary situation does not hamper the futures of our children (who are our future).
We must take action now, we must innovate now, we must not let a good crisis go to waste.