Following the outbreak of coronavirus across the world, schools are compelled to shut down and seek alternatives to teaching.
Schools in developed and some developing countries are quick to respond to and arrest the situation by adopting online teaching to continue their pedagogic services to their students.
As usual, Nigerian teachers are to follow suit. They are being tasked to engage their students in online teaching, using relevant tools, in order not to keep them busy with learning. Unlike other states in the country, Lagos Launched online platforms to engage the students.
Though there are numerous tools teachers can use – Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Moodle Cloud, etc – to help them successfully engage the students, there are impediments that will frustrate their efforts. Online teaching goes beyond thundering orders to get things done. There are resources that the school must provide to get things done. Access to the necessary resources is a major challenge Nigerian teachers face.
Edugist, as a media corporation that reports on education issues, has a responsibility to report on the alternatives some schools, especially those outside Nigeria, have adopted to teach their students.
In order to compile comprehensive reports on this trend, this writer reached out to some Nigerian teachers and educators in countries such as Somaliland, Bahrain and … to get some information on the alternatives they have adopted.
According to Mr Mafe, a teacher in Bahrain, schools in the country have been shut down indefinitely, but teachers continue with their pedagogic activities.
“We also experienced coronavirus here, and schools were shut down as a preventive measure. When it happened, teaching didn’t stop. The first thing we did was to upload coursework in form of worksheets, PowerPoint and audio visual lessons copied from YouTube based on the topics taught in the school. Next, the school created a platform through which the teachers send their work. And the IT department has the responsibility to send all materials to the kids. It depends on the school. It takes a functional and active IT department to achieve this. It has been very positive. Another alternative adopted is live teaching with the use of Skype and other relevant tools. Here, there is no problem of power supply and internet. We do have a successful class.”
During my conversation with a language instructor in Somaliland, he pointed out that every good school should always plan for a situation like this. He stressed that he had envisaged the closure. The proactive step he took was to train his teachers in the use of online teaching tools. He affirmed that teaching and learning activities continue without any challenges.
It is evident that Nigerian schools have a long way to go. Online teaching will face many challenges. The first challenge is lack of access to internet facilities. Live lessons may not work. If students have access to internet, what about the teachers. Using some of these tools requires enough data.
Another challenge is power supply. As a country, we have failed in this area. Even Somaliland, a de-facto state, enjoys uninterrupted power supply. There are many countries in Africa that have access to regular power supply. Online teaching will work for them.
It is essential that school owners provide relief packages for the teachers in oder to engage the students in online teaching during this break.