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36.4 million Nigerian students affected by school closures

…experts call for investments in infrastructure to aid virtual learning

In Nigeria, 36.4 million primary and secondary school children have been out of school on the back of the Coronavirus pandemic, which caused havoc globally since its influx into the ecosystem. In all, 73.8 percent of the world’s school population were affected by school closures while 1.2 billion learners have been out of school worldwide.

This was revealed by the Education Innovation Survey report titled “Learning in a pandemic: Nigeria’s response to teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic” compiled by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre.

Speaking during the virtual launch of the report and the TEP Centre which took place on Wednesday, Bridget Azubuike, Head of research, TEP Centre said the pandemic affected all sectors and activities in the country including the critical education sector causing a disruption in learning activities.

Furthermore, the impact of the possible E-learning platform was constrained as access to digital tools and internet connectivity, electricity supply were some of the major challenges faced by students and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic” Azubuike said.

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As a recommendation, she called for more investments in infrastructure to aid virtual learning, adding that it is necessary to provide students with evidence-based learning, provision of learning devices like laptops, tablets etc, prioritizing teacher’s development and also activating remote learning in tertiary institutions.

Modupe Adefeso-Olapeju, managing director, TEP Centre, in her address said that the release of the Education Innovation Survey reports which covers the first three months of the pandemic and subsequent closure of schools in Nigeria was a culmination of learning and interactions adding that the work of the TEP covers learning, monitoring and evaluation, research and public-private dialogue all in a bid to improve Nigeria’s education sector.

In his address, Laoye Jaiyeola, chief executive officer, NESG said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on various sectors including the health, economy, humanitarian and security.

“We have been overwhelmed by the impact of the coronavirus however, the NESG will continue to engage in advocacy and public-private dialogue to develop all critical sectors of the Nigerian economy,” Jaiyeola said.

Oroodam Otto, founder, Slum2School Africa, during the panel session, said it is necessary for Nigeria’s education sector to be structured in a way that it ensures that there are equity and equality for all students irrespective of social structure.

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