Education during the Covid19 lockdown
- May 18, 2020
- Posted by: Admin
- Category: Education
“All schools and institutions – primary, secondary and tertiary – remain physically closed. Students are expected to continue learning via online and media channels.”
That was vintage Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State speaking last Wednesday during a media briefing where he released details of how the five weeks and one day coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown of the state, which started with the closure on non-food markets on Thursday, March 26, would be gradually eased from Monday. The schools had been shut immediately it became obvious that Lagos State would be the epicentre of coronavirus pandemic in the country, few weeks after the index case was recorded two months and five days ago. Extraordinary measures needed to be taken to slow down the spread and ultimately limit it.
The update on the pandemic on the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as at 10.22am yesterday indicated that out of the 1932 cases in the country, the Lagos State accounts for 976 with 756 cases on admission. Expectedly, it also accounts for most deaths with 21 out of 58. Although the state has also recorded most recoveries with 199 patients successfully treated and discharged out of 319 across the country, the situation still remains
precarious. But Lagosians need to get on with their lives, hence the gradual relaxation of the lockdown by the Federal Government from Monday, May 4. However, Sanwo-Olu considers re-opening the schools too risky at this moment.
The NCDC update cited above showed that coronavirus has spread to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and 34 out of the 36 states of the country with only Kogi and Cross River states yet to record any case of the virus. Like Lagos, most of the states had also shut their schools and institutions in a bid to contain the spread of the disease. And still like Lagos, they may not be in a hurry to reopen them. But the pupils and students need to get on with their studies; leaving them blank academically for as long the restrictive measures last could come with dire consequences. Nevertheless, the big question now is: How can the country ensure that the pupils/students remain engaged academically?
Sanwo-Olu proffered online and media channels as the way out, a method that is otherwise known as virtual learning. But do the available technology, infrastructure and economic power of majority of Nigerian parents support virtual learning? Do pupils, students and their parents have the basic foundation to cope with the method?