The Nigerian education system has recorded some achievements in virtual learning through the use of technology in spite of COVID-19 pandemic challenges witnessed in the sector.
Some educationists stated this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Monday.
They spoke on how the sector has fared since the advent of COVID -19 pandemic.
Prof. Adams Onuka, an education evaluation expert, University of Ibadan, said though the sector suffered some setbacks in the year under review, but the year also brought some happy developments.
He said,’’we have seen stakeholders in the sector embracing the “new normal’’ way of learning delivery as learning facilitators.
“They have started bracing up to practise the new normal way of learning delivery, virtual platform.
“We are hoping that the government will provide an enabling environment for continuing utilisation of virtual platforms in addition to face to face mode of learning delivery.”
While speaking on some of the challenges the sector faced in 2020, he said the sector in particular has had some setbacks due mainly to the lockdown that kept pupils and students away from physical interaction.
He noted that the sector was greatly affected due to the ill preparedness of the Nigerian state for mitigation measures to cope with the new normal way of virtual learning delivery that came with the pandemic.
“This is more pronounced in the public sector education. The poor state of infrastructure in our public education institutions coupled with inadequate power supply, contributed to aggravating the situation.
“The Public Higher Education sub-sector has been worse for it, especially the university system which was struck by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), strike for nine months now.
“This is due to poor facility, poor motivation arising from unfulfilled agreements among other challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria,” Onuka said.
Also, Prof. Oyesoji Aremu, Chairman, Education Management Board of the Nigerian Baptist Convention said assessing the effects of COVID-19 on the education sector shows among other things that quality of delivery of instructions was affected.
He said this was because of either poor knowledge of online facilitation or lack of basic architecture of virtual learning.
“Similarly, school academic calendar was abridged to accommodate the period lost to COVID-19. These and others must have surely affected the sector in a big way.
“Also, many students wrote examinations amidst anxieties of COVID-19 infections. This could also affect academic performance and resilience of the affected students,” Aremu said.
He noted that as the year 2021 approaches, many of the challenges that confronted the sector are still not abated or addressed and this calls for intervention from the government to mitigate them.
“For instance, the resurgence of COVID-19 is worrisome given the fact that it may impact on the system again.
“Also, the sector is not immune from the challenge of insecurity especially in the North where terrorists and bandits are making teaching and learning difficult.
“As much as possible, this should be addressed with a view to making our schools safe.
“It will not be too bad an idea if there could be a concerted and collaborative effort to ensure school vigilance with the assistance of trusted locals who can provide intelligence,” he said.
Aremu further said that the lingering disagreement between the Federal Government and ASUU should finally be resolved as its continuation could negatively impact on the quality of higher education in Nigeria. (NAN)