The Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) has had great impact on the world and and it’s economy at large. This includes the developed,developing and the under developed countries. Nigeria being one of the developing countries has had many challenges to face during this pandemic. Shortage of food , food riots,clean water, healthcare and also major hitches in the educational sector.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) recognizes education as a fundamental human right. It is amongst the most important rights for survival of humans. John Dewey is an American Philosopher and an Educator.He said that “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” That is to say,education is a lifetime process with no true beginning or ending. It is through education that you can change the face of the world.
Nigeria as a country had always struggled in the educational sector. A United Nations International Children’s Fund(UNICEF) report in 2018, has it that Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out of school children. It had greatly increased over the years from 10.5million to 13.2 million. Most of these children are in the Northern Nigeria states. States like Borno, Yobe,Adamawa which are the epicenters of Boko Haram insurgencies that has disrupted academic activities.
Moreover since the outbreak of this pandemic, there has been partial and total lock downs in all over the countries of the world. Shutdowns in parastatals, private businesses, airlines, sporting centers, schools the list endless. All these lockdown measures serves as precaution to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
However Nigeria commenced her impromptu shut down of all educational institutions since 26th March 2020. This closure included kindergartens, Nursery, Primary, secondary and Tertiary institutions.This period has truly been a trying time for education in developing and under developed countries in the world. These countries have gradually embraced the technology of Remote teaching and learningbut not without hitches here and there . A typical example of a developing country is Nigeria,which we are going to use as a case study.
What is remote learning?
Remote learning can simply be defined as teaching and learning that occurs outside the physical or traditional classroom .The remote learning is also known as e-learning. It provides an opportunity for students and teachers to remain connected and engaged with content. However working from their homes through computers or high-tech phones. Remote learning technology is usually implemented during emergency situations that may pose a threat to student or staff safety.
Child recieving online classes
The new dependence on technology in every area of education
The new dependence on technology for every aspect of education is forced to occur overnight. This has left many people(teachers,parents and students) struggling with technological difficulties. Moreso the challenges of studying at home and learning how to construct a productive schedule outside the school environment. The Government has opted to cancel or delay standardized exams and testings. Admissions are even being delayed across the country. This may lead to extension of the school year due to delays and many missed days of school.
With schools cancelled,many working parents are forced to take off work in order to care for their young children. It may be too early to say how students and teachers will cope with online learning as they figure out the kinks. These difficulties may require a more unique approach to online learning. There is need for extra assistance from parents as these students navigate a new educational paradigm.
Futhermore challenges for low-income families children in the rural areas . Unfortunately, many families rely on the public school system, for education, food and childcare support.
With these worries, schools and universities are closing down and moving abruptly to online platforms and remote education. Students being newly introduced to remote education may opt for a future degree online. Looking at the benefits of distance learning and the affordable options available. Schools and members of staff are learning how to convert their lessons to online platforms gradually. Now both students and staff are learning how to deal with remote learning and communication. Although many schools are continuing online, many students do not have access to computers or the internet in their homes. An emphasis is being put on online and distance education making affordable programs more relevant and known to the public.
How are the schools,parents and student coping with remote learning technology in Nigeria.
The Federal Ministry of Education of Nigeria collaborated with the Universal Basic Education Commission(UBEC) to put some educational programs in place. Resources, support are given to students across the nation in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.The government have also collaborated with the media.Radio and Television stations to set up broadcast on teaching and learning on specific times of the day. The use of Television and Radio broadcast for learning is also a form of remote learning.
However even with online classes, parents still need to help younger children navigate school on the computer. Parents with kindergarten children are unable to work unless other arrangements can be made. New educational opportunities are being advertised and made available for students online. However the switch has also pointed to the importance of the public school systems for lower-income families.The challenges the switch presents for families, special needs students, as well as staff and students across the board cannot be overruled.
Parental care with young children at home from school and their normal schedules disrupted. Parents are needing to make schedules for children who would normally be in school. However, not all schools and universities are able to make it online and may soon be closed forever.
Another way that students are continuing their studies is through Distance education.
What is distance education learning?
This kind of learning uses online programs that replace instructors with educational material that students study on their own.This is slightly different from remote learning which the instructors are present instead of materials. New learning opportunities, students who are currently making the switch from frontal classes to online classes. Students who find that a remote education actually works well for them, and may choose to take further education or degrees online.
Problems faced with remote learning.
1.Concentration difficulties in younger children, as well as students with ADHD. Moreso special needs children, find it difficult to concentrate to full capacity with online educational tools.
2.Many pupils and students don’t have computers or high tech phones especially in the rural areas.
3.Lack of constant power supply .
4.Many teachers are not technologically inclined to handle remote teaching technology.
5.Parents need to be highly involved during online learning especially with children.
6.Some parents also are not technologically inclined to help their children with the remote learning tools.
7.High consumption of data is needed ,when some low income families can barely feed.
8.Network interruptions during classes due to bad weather.
9.Children if not supervised misuse data for irrelevant things like playing games,visiting adult sites etc.
10.Authenticity of a student work or assessment online can also be a problem,because anybody can do it for them
Advantages of Remote learning.
1.Safety of students and teachers is guaranteed.Teaching and learning is done at the comfort of their homes.Despite the ravaging pandemic education must continue.
2.Student tend to become more responsible: Students create time to do their assignments and projects on their own without teachers running after them.
3.Teachers,parents and students will be technologically preparing for the future ie “Bringing the future today”.
4.Assessments,tests can all be done remotely.
5.Schedules for classes are flexible.
In conclusion the novel corona virus pandemic has greatly served as an eye opener to all nations of the world. Private businesses, sporting events, travel agencies,parastatals and educational institutions have been crippled.The harsh reality is that those that fail to adapt to the overnight great dependence on digital technology will cease to exist.
The irony of pupils and students in a traditional classroom one moment ,the next minute every one has gone digital. People struggling to keep abreast with forced overnight dependence on digital technology due to this pandemic.Therefore it is only pertinent to say that “Digital is now,and no longer the future”,especially in the educational sector. Therefore there is a great need for nations to hunger and embrace constant change. Moreover to see the need to adopt, adapt and evolve to the growing needs of the present and implementation of digital technology in all areas of life.