The COVID-19 Pandemic is visibly affecting every facet of human existence globally, alongside other sectors in Nigeria, the Educational sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus as both Federal and State Government ordered the closure of schools across the country.
However, in order to engage and keep student abreast with the syllabus and school curriculum, online learning and teaching, just like most state in Nigeria was also adopted in Oyo State.
The Executive Chairman, Universal Basic Education Board, Oyo State, while speaking on an NTA Programme, PANORAMA, explained government plans and how it hope to make the online classes to be effective and impactful on students in Oyo State.
“It is a statement of fact that COVID-19 came and affected every facet of human endeavour and Education is not an exception, and the State Governor, Seyi Makinde in reaction to the spread of COVID-19 at that time decided to shut down schools, both primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Oyo State since the month of March. It is not something anybody plan for, but when it came we just have to rise up to the occasion, in reaction to that the government had to design ways and action in which our students will not be completely idle while we are still attending to COVID-19.
“At the ministry of Education level they organized what they call school of air, and they also use online teaching for secondary school students who are matured and have more knowledge of using the internet, as a result of that they are teaching them various subject either through radio, television and other online media.
“ At the Primary School level we introduce SUBEB LEARNING ON AIR,where we have our teachers that are actually teaching the students in classroom, we gather some of them there in the programme to teach them English and Mathematics, It starts from basic 1 up to basic 6, and it run from Monday to Saturday, it is air on the State radio which have a very wide reach, we have 88.5fm, the oluyole fm in Ibadan, and the Ability fm which covers virtually every zone in the state. And we decided to add social studies and basic science in addition to Mathematics and English which we started from basic 1 to 6, that’s what we are doing to equip these students. Also we are getting feedback through social media to know how the people are reacting to this, so we get pictures or videos of students assembling themselves to listen to this teaching on radio, and the parents, brothers and sisters guard the children so we know how they are responding to the teaching.”
On the question on private school engagement on online learning their quality and mode of engagement, Dr Nureni agrees that the effort made by private schools so far has been worthwhile.
Some of the private school are hooking to the programme of government, while some of them have online arrangement because they have their platform, where they can send assignment and get response from students, we cannot say it is fruitful, but bottom line is that half bread is always better than none, rather than this children being idle, I think it is better to engage them one way or the other, the arrangement being made by private school owner is worthwhile.”
The Oyo SUBEB boss also admitted that the absence of facial interaction between teachers and students may affect the quality of teaching.
“Teaching itself is an interactive exercise, which is supposed to be one on one, because when you teach, you do the class management, you do the facial interaction, and you examine your students base on your facial expression to know whether they actually understand what you are teaching. All those are missing because there can’t be that facial interaction, there can’t be that inter personal communication again, that is one of the challenges we are facing, what we are having in place is like a palliative because it can not in any way completely replace the normal teaching in the classroom.
The SUBEB Chairman expects parents to play a vital role in the education of their children especially at this time of COVID-19.
“We have discovered overtime that parents are no longer taking adequate interest of their children unlike what it use to be in the past, during the normal lesson period, the students stay more at home than they stay in the school, the parents are advise to be more responsible, to take more responsibility on their children, let them feed well, cloth them well, let them ensure that they monitor what they do in school.
“In Oyo State, we are re-introducing to public schools, the idea of open day, and the ministry of education has also accepted that it should be done in the secondary sector too, so that the parents will have opportunity to interacting with the teachers to know what challenges their wards and children are facing in school that we improve the standard and quality of education that we are having in the state.”
However, in a related development, some parent and students express frustration in the online mode of learning because they have to use data on their phone and at the same time the space on their phone are limited to store the online application.
Another parent confirmed within 3 weeks after the shutdown of schools, public and private schools introduced online learning, and that is what they have been engaging school pupils on, including continuous assessment.
An Educationist Kemi Koleowo, also express her views on the state of education in Oyo State.
“Oyo State had a deficeit in terms of educationa programme, we have a lot of students that were out of school even before the pandemic, and right am sure that figure would have increases”
It is expected that the Oyo State government will be pro-active and put in all necessary measure when schools eventually open for academic activities.