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COVID-19: We need more teachers, teaching aids to reopen schools – Perm Sec

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono says additional teachers and teaching materials are needed to reopen schools, so as to adjust effectively to the new normal in teaching and learning occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Echono said this on Monday while delivering a keynote address during the virtual 2020 EdTech Summit organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with Afritex .

The permanent secretary said this while noting that schools are overpopulated and learning cannot continue that way amid the COVID-19 preventive measures.

“This way they can observe social distancing rules. If there are 60 students in a class there is higher risk of contracting the infection. If reduce it by half it means you need two classrooms instead of one, you cannot have one teacher in two classrooms at the same time so you have to recruit additional teachers.

“Are we going to ask some students to come to schools and others not to come?  We are going to devise two programmes; a staggered programme for those who have examinations to come in to do revision programme in order for them to take their examinations and go back so that others can come in to take their place”, he explained.

Echono said the pandemic is changing the role of teachers as they are now more facilitators than their traditional role as teachers.

He however expressed concern that  schools in the states that cannot even pay staff salaries may not be able to open schools safely amid the pandemic.

The CEO and Lead Consultant of Afritex, Oyesola Oworu while delivering this welcome address opined that a National Educational policy framework for planning and  development of Educational sector in Nigeria will be needed in the face of the pandemic and future pandemics.

Charles Uwadia, President, Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) said the pandemic presents an opportunity to duscuss e- learning.

Uwadia stated that UN SDG goal No 4 seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all and to promote life learning opportunities for all. He said Nigeria’s National policy on education clearly recognize open and distance learning in providing qualitative and inclusive live long and universal education for a greater number of Nigerians.

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