In March 2020, The Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria instructed the shutdown of all schools across the nation due to the rapid spread of the Covid19 virus in the country.
This threw the educational system into a situation it had never experienced before. The education system had to come up with ways to ensure the continuous education of learners despite the pandemic and the harsh realities that came with it which we have since begun to refer to as “The new normal” in education.
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The Federal Ministry of Education, however, played some key roles in helping the schools prepare and adapt to the new normal in education. Some of these roles are:
In a bid to prepare educational institutions in the country to adapt to the new normal in education, the Federal Ministry of Education published public health guidelines for the safe reopening of schools across the country.
These guidelines would help the schools reopen safely after the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 virus. These guidelines were part of the response strategy of the Federal Ministry of Education.
The guidelines include measures and actions to enable the staff and students of various educational and learning facilities across the nation to remain safe whilst teaching and learning in line with the realities and dangers of Covid-19.
The guidelines require that schools obey safety protocols and social distancing rules which were provided by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
These protocols include but are not limited to wearing face masks, social distancing, placing hand washing basins and sanitizers at strategic locations, and the testing of students and staff of the institutions.
These guidelines would help the schools reopen safely and guide them while adapting to the new normal in education.
In the early parts of the year, 2020, schools were made to shut down due to the pandemic. Several schools were in shock and were limited in resources to ensure continuous learning of their students remotely.
The Federal Ministry of Education assisted them to face the realities and to adapt quickly to the new normal in education which included remote and distance learning. The Ministry provided E-learning resources to institutions of learning across the country.
They also launched an online digital platform to aid students and teachers with remote learning. They also released an E-learning time table for the period of the lockdown.
The Federal Ministry of Education provided access to online learning programmes. They disseminated educational content to schools for their learners at various levels. These educational contents and resources include but are not limited to; worksheets, assessment cards, online grading systems, printed take-home activity books, content and time table for television and radio teachings.
These resources helped mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the educational system. Teachers using these resources were more prepared to indulge in online teaching with their students.
The Federal Ministry of Education joined forces with state governments across the country to aid teaching using traditional media via radio and TV programmes.
They also assisted with funds to further strengthen and support these programmes and helped students and teachers alike adjust to the new normal in education.
The Federal Ministry of Education created a webpage on their official website (edu.gov.ng) that was dedicated to coordinate education responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This webpage was used to provide information, real-time guidance, guidelines and remote learning resources to states across Nigeria to enable them to be better prepared for the new normal in education.
The webpage allowed states and institutions across Nigeria to access the needed guidance, information, guidelines and resources they need, to enable them to ensure that the education of learners across the nation was not disrupted by the pandemic.
Another action taken by The Federal Ministry of Education to prepare both teachers and learners to face the new normal in education was the creation of the Learn At Home Programme. This programme ensured that education continued for students across Nigeria.
The Federal Ministry of Education worked with the Presidential Task Force on Covid19 and the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) to help prepare schools and institutions for the new normal in education.
They got real-time updates on how the pandemic was being handled across the country and provided guidelines to help educational institutions in the 36 states of Nigeria safely reopen and continue onsite education.
The Federal Ministry of Education developed a Covid-19 education sector strategic Framework to enable continuous learning during the pandemic.
This initiative was named “Opening Better”. The goal was to reduce the impact and constraints caused by this new normal in education on both educational institutions, and teachers and students alike. The strategic framework was made available on the ministry’s portal, and this helped states to develop their own response strategies further helping the educational system across the country be in a more prepared position to face the new normal in education.
The Federal Ministry of Education in a bid to help the educational system prepare to face the new normal in education provided support to both teachers and students.
This support ensured safer school operations upon reopening and enhanced the educational system’s ability to survive amidst the pandemic. The Ministry provided wash and hygiene supplies to various schools across the nation.
They provided children with special needs with better access to online resources, indulged in capacity building for schools around the 36 states in Nigeria and provided a safe back-to-school campaign.
The Federal Ministry of Education established a remote monitoring system to measure the progress and effectiveness of the newly begun remote and distance learning.
This monitoring system allowed the educational system of the country to monitor results and effectiveness, allowing them to recognize what worked and what didn’t.
This system would further help the educational sector quickly and easily adjust to methods that yielded results whilst facing the realities of the new normal in education.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, over 30 million learners across Nigeria stood the risk of disrupted and discontinued learning and education.
To prevent that from happening, the educational sector has had to come up with response plans to continue education amidst the pandemic.
The Federal Ministry of Education also played several roles in mitigating the effects of the pandemic in education and preparing the sector for the new normal in education.