Schools gone on air: how badly we expose our ills.

By Deji Ibileye

Education is a continuous process as it is believed that learning is not restricted to the four walls of the school. But do you believe that this postulation in relation with the curriculum-based education is restricted to the offline classroom setting here in Nigeria, where infrastructures that could aid learning outside classroom are not in place.

COVID-19 pandemic has turned itself  into a hen, scratching out our poorly buried mess. So many things as regards the lack of preparedness of our country for any form of contingency ranging from our almost zero test centres to delayed closure of borders. Now this hen has exhumed the mess in the electricity sector. How?

The government of Ondo state yesterday announced the commencement of schools on air through the state’s television and radio stations. It was a nice move and credit should be given to the state government for this.

But then, how will the kids who in their houses, there is no stable electricity or generator to power their television or radio set at the time of the on-air class learn? How will the kids in Okitipupa, Ode irele or those places that have not gotten electricity for over 6 to 8 years now be abreast of the class? How do we intend to enable the rural kids in towns like Omi Afa, Molege, Ago Pannu, Bolorunduro, Ajebandele, Oboto etc be able to enjoy thesame program Kids in the state’s metropolis are enjoying?

Countries that are already prepared for any form of situations have put measures in place to ensure that these students that were sent home few days to examinations or in the nick of the term were given tablets to help their learning in this period of lockdown even to the most rural parts of the country.

What can we do in this our situation where our epileptic power supply may not allow the impact of the on-air school to be felt?

1. The state could include the use of USSD codes in the tutorial plans e.g if you need a tutorial on Chemistry, send 1 to 2345 etc. Because most parents even in the creek have handsets and they can easily key into it for their kids.

2. Make more emphasis on the radio training than the TV’s because most people especially those in the creek listen to radio programs more than watching TV, because of this our light.

3. Encourage E-Tutorials just like RevTutors Educational Services is already doing to actively engage students whose parents possess smartphones.

4. Or install centre screen in all the Communities in the state, where the tutorial can be watched by these rural students.

It is hoped that our electricity is fixed among other things to afford us the opportunity to enjoy as desired.


Deji Ibileye writes from Akure in Nigeria.

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