COVID-19 widens education inequality gap as schools move online

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Over the past months, the world has grappled with the impact of COVID-19. Its impact is far-reaching and one area which has been significantly affected is education.

All over the world, schools have been forced to close, and Nigeria is not left out. With the uncertainty regarding how long the shutdown will last, an estimated 46 million Nigerian students are still at the crossroads on what the future holds for them.

In line with global trends, highbrow private schools in the country have adopted a virtual learning model. However, a significant number of students in the Nigerian educational system are found in public schools.

The new initiative allows only those with access to digital learning resources will keep learning in the comfort of their homes while those without access, who are in majority are left behind.

As pleasant as this solution is, it is said that students from under-served low-income communities will be left out and unable to access learning during this period.

A teacher with a private school in Alimosho area of Lagos state, Miss Jumoke Philips, noted that though it comes with at a cost because of the gadgets involved, it will be quite beneficial to the pupils instead of just staying at home and doing nothing.

But reacting, a parent, Kingsley Okpeke, said he has two children attending such online classes, noting that he is paying through his nose to maintain the children in the class.

“I paid N15, 000 per month for each child, apart from internet subscription in one of the telecommunication companies, as well provision for fuel should in case electricity companies take light, which was quite often.

“Averagely, I pay around N35, 000 for both children, yet I still don’t understand what they are teaching this kids,” he added.

For Iyabo Akinola, the major obstacle initially encountered was the issue with network providers’ as data are usually epileptic and always frustrating.

“Now, we subscribe with N10, 000, which gives about 40G and it lasts for just nine days. So far, that is how we have been coping with the kids’ online classes in this lockdown. We pray that God will heal our land shortly.”