Dear Honorable Minister of Education, with great honour and high sense of humility, I really commend your defty efforts – your great actions towards the development of education in our country.
According to the report given by Umerah Raphael on Bootinfos on 3rd of April, 2020, I learned that in your immense efforts, you have talked with 237 Vice Chancellors, Rectors and Provosts of Nigerian higher institutions to restart session through virtual teaching by activating virtual learning environment to enable we students continue our studies through digital devices while at home.
This idea is an excellent one Mr minister of education, but my question is; are we good to go with such system in Nigeria?
Although, you have pledged that the Federal Government will do its best to resolve the labour crisis between them and ASUU about are currently strike saga but still, there will be effect on us. What if ASUU refuses or pretense to and fail to carry out the mission assigned online as expected? You should also not forget that, not every lecturers are social media handlers, many are only good in face-to-face interactions. So it is the students that will suffer if those lecturers did not perform well online.
You also said that the vice chancellors of private Universities have embraced the idea claiming to have top upgrade virtual learning system. What about the government owned institutions?
Our Honorable Minister sir, I will like to remind you about the level of the education system of this country which you are also aware of, how the sector has not been well financed by the government as expected which has resulted in lagging among all other countries.
If we are not to deceive ourselves in this country, we should all believe that Nigeria as a country has not well developed and has not been technologically advanced up to the level – in term of embracing online education, particularly the government owned institutions.
Unlike the government owned institutions filled with scholarship students that the government hardly pay their bills and the wards of the vulnerable citizens of the country who must struggle hard to pay their school fees especially when partial payment is not accepted, private institutions will easily embrace this method because they are filled with the children of high personalities and politicians paying huge amount of money as school fees and well financed by the owners as a business owner will not want his organization go bankrupt.
As a student studying in Nigeria, I see the E-learning introduced as a good and encouraging idea as it will promote the education system of this country but to me, it is just a proposal that may not work as we lack many materials for the effectiveness of such in our country.
In my own opinion Mr minister of education, there are many reasons why this E-Learning system may not work in our country for now except if some things can be attended to by our government.
You are aiming at helping students continue their education while at home as you can’t afford total shut of schools to prevent the spread of the pandemic which no one can say how long this lockdown of a thing would take, but many Nigerian students will suffer if this virtual learning system is implemented because, all hands are not equal.
The level of science and technology in Nigeria is not in the best position of making a reasonable provision for Virtual Teaching – “learning through online platform”.
In terms of facilities, I don’t think our own schools here can compete with those of other countries as the government has failed us in the financial aspect of developing the schools despite the agitation of ASUU to revitalize the institutions.
There are many disadvantages attached to E-learning program especially in this country.
If there is no stability of electricity, students will miss many online classes while at home without light on phones and laptops and possibly may not gain what they missed later!
Also, now that our parents’ sources of income have been blocked by asking them to stay home without any provision made for them while we students cannot also strive for means, purchasing of data to access Internet might be somehow difficult for us.
Another disadvantage is that, all hands are not equal, not every student of higher institutions can afford Android phones and tablets not to talk of laptops, many are using small phones while some don’t have at all, some students are living in rural area where they don’t enjoy electricity and good network services. These students will be affected if this system is implemented.
For this E-learning aim to be achieved, firstly, if at all not for free we need stable electricity with minimal payment in this country in making the system to function properly because, if there is no good provision for electricity, this system will not function effectively and it is the minors that will be affected. How will our junior ones watch televisions and listen to radios to learn when the light is not stable?
Secondly, we need a very strong solid and reliable internet network to enable students access the platform freely without any problem from network providers. Our government should liaise with internet companies and publishers to provide free services to help students study from home since we have no means of income to purchase data while at home.
Thirdly, the curriculum of all the institutions should be unified and circular since it is virtual learning program.
Lastly, there should be provisions for students who can’t afford to buy Android Phones and Tablets, even if at all they would pay for it in any way. There are many online shops like Jumia and co that the government can liaise with across the states for door-to-door distributions of the electronics since we are totally locked down and don’t have any means of finding one.
If these aforementioned steps are taken by the government, I opine that we can give the system a trial but, if not, I can say that the education of the vulnerable students of the country is at risk and might be jeopardized while you claim of helping them.
COURTESY: Abu Lubabah
A 200 Level English Language Student of UDUS.