SDG4, still some way off: No thanks to COVID-19

2020 will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 virus. With unprecedented worldwide school closures. a big blow was undoubtedly dealt to the progress of achieving Universal free basic Education.

In Nigeria, primary and secondary schools were closed from April to October 2020! 7 months!! With the country already struggling to achieve reasonable learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy along with the overwhelming 10.3 million out-of-school children, this was a very unwelcome development.

However, on the brighter side, there were feverish attempts made to salvage the situation from the public, private and NGO sectors. Several remote learning strategies came alive and were implemented across the country. Radio and TV programs for general consumption as well as school-led online teaching and learning activities.

We must hail the many parents who became emergency teachers!

Of course access was not ubiquitous. Marginalised children were mostly left out of interactive and teacher-led activities having to rely more on the radio and TV programmes. However, we choose to look on the bright side! Technology provides a strong response to the deart of infrasture and shortage of teachers. In today’s world MOOCs have thousands of students enroled and are managed by few teachers/facilitators effectively.

Nigeria must embrace digital learning if we are to solve the problems bedeviling our Education sector. In deed if we are going to fulfil our responsibility to Nigeria’s children, the sector must embrace radical changes in the policy to allow pervasive use of e-learning at all stages of our education system.

I see a Nigeria where primary and secondary school students are able to complete all or part of their studies through remote learning strategies. In that Nigeria, distance, time and money are not a barrier to this basic child right!!

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