With the arrival of Covid 19 within Nigeria, the country was placed on a national lockdown. Other sectors were affected and so was the education sector.
According to UNESCO figures, nearly 40 million learners in Nigeria were affected. All schools in the country were shut down and when reopened, were faced with harsh restrictions. In a bid to survive, Nigeria’s educational system had to turn to the use of technology to continue education and individualized learning of children at home.
Even after the lockdown was lifted, social distancing still had to be implemented and students had to resume in batches to avoid overcrowding. Classrooms had to be more spacious, human contact was removed and in cases where it was allowed, it was extremely restricted.
To adapt, some schools were forced to make students learn both online and on-site. Virtual interactions were used to replace face-to-face relations. Below are some of the ways the Nigerian educational system has been able to adapt to the new normal in education through the use of technology.
After schools in Nigeria were shut down, there were concerns that the move to digitalized teaching would only further widen the gap between the rich and the poor. There were also fears that the education of those who could not have access to the internet or afford a data subscription might be seriously affected or be put on hold.
However, apart from digital and online technology, the educational system in Nigeria has managed to adapt to this new normal in education through the use of another form of technology: The traditional media.
The traditional media such as radio and TV have been used to continue the education of learners at home. Educational cartoons and content can be accessed by these learners through their television. The federal government alongside other state governments has disseminated educational content for learners in the country via programs on radio and television stations.
Several direct broadcast satellite services such as Startimes and DSTV have introduced channels dedicated to students. In a state such as Ogun state, Teach for Nigeria is working with the government to deliver classes on TV.
The use of traditional media has helped to continue the education of students around the country and helped the Nigerian educational system to survive amidst the new normal in education.
Another way technology has helped in ensuring the continuous learning of students despite the harsh realities of the pandemic is through Virtual Classrooms.
In February 2020, Slum2School Africa launched the first-ever virtual classroom in Africa. This made it possible for 948 children to learn remotely and continue their education despite the harsh realities of the new normal in education. Other schools in Nigeria have adopted the use of Google Classrooms.
In a bid to avoid missed learning for the majority of students, the Nigerian educational system has had to use several digital learning platforms. These include but are not limited to Khan Academy and My learning Academy.
Several institutions also use various licenced Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environments ( VLE). Several schools have also been able to conduct their exams online using these platforms.
In a bid to cushion the effects and extra expenses of using these digital platforms, some internet service providers offer free access for students to these digital learning platforms while others offer access at a subsidized subscription rate.
The new normal in education has forced Nigeria’s educational system to move its curriculum online. This makes it easier for teachers to conduct online teaching. The notes and outlines are also being drafted online.
Teachers have to create online courses for students to learn remotely. Several institutions have also taken advantage of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to provide their learners with online courses so they can continue their education remotely.
Ulesson, is an edu-tech app launched in February 2020 that got over 25,000 downloads within its first three months. The mobile app allows users to take lessons and tests from their phones.
Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, teachers have had to turn to several educational apps to help them teach their students online. Some internet service providers also zero-rated these educational apps or give students free data to access these apps.
Nigeria’s educational system has also been able to survive through the use of social media. Lessons have been disseminated to students via WhatsApp and Telegram groups.
In some scenarios where the students don’t possess a mobile device, they can still get access to the lectures by using their parent’s phones.
The use of video lessons has massively helped both teachers and students alike quickly adapt to the new normal in education. The switch from on-site to online teaching was quick and sharp, this adopted learning method enables a two-way conversation. Students can ask teachers questions and they in return can give feedback during the online lessons.
The teacher and the students communicate face to face and it’s simpler for the teacher to hold the learner’s attention and prevent distraction. They also get real-time responses and can assist those students who have difficulty comprehending the lessons faster.
Several apps have been used for Video lessons. These include Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp video calls. Apart from the use of video calls, educational content is also uploaded on platforms like Youtube for students to watch and access. You can check out our YouTube platform Edufirst TV for short video lessons for secondary school students.
Thanks to the new normal in education, all educational stakeholders in Nigeria have had to use technology to survive the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.
Technology must be integrated into teaching and conversing with learners. However, several tutors were not prepared for this change and earlier found it difficult to find the perfect blend between teaching and technology.
These teachers were helped via online workshops and training dedicated to helping them learn and discover the skills necessary to teach their students online.
The pandemic had several implications for Nigerian learners. They stood the risk of paused education, missed learning and a total lack of access to education. Nigeria’s educational system was devastated.
To ensure continuous learning and education despite the harsh realities that came with the pandemic, technology had to be integrated. Students were taught via various online platforms and through traditional media.
Technology has helped to keep the educational system alive and assisted students to receive lectures via online and distance learning. Technology has also been very key in helping both students and teachers alike adapt to the new normal in education.