With schools still closed, many schools at all levels have turned to e-learning to keep their pupils and students learning. At the tertiary level, the Education Minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, mandated institutions to launch online classes, while at the primary and secondary levels, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) broadcast classes on radio and television.
The FME also collaborated with education digital content providers and telecommunication firms to provide free internet access to online educational resources at no cost.
With the initiative, learners can access content on Schoolgate (www.schoolgate.ng); MobileClassroom (www.mobileclassroom.com.ng); National Open University (ceagslearn.nouedu.net); Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.com) and Seesaw (web.seesaw.me) free.
The various state ministries of education have also come up with their e-learning initiatives; while private schools use all kinds of online platforms to engage their learners at a cost. At the low end, schools use WhatsApp to post worksheets, videos lessons, and while at the high end, schools use platforms, such as Google meets; Google classrooms, and Zoom to teach.
The experience has been mixed for parents and students.
Mrs. Adesola Adediran, Head of School, Soundhope Montessori Nursery and Primary School, Ipaja, Lagos, noted that online classes in the school had been effective so far because notes, worksheets and assignments could be sent to pupils via Whatsapp and other online channels, adding that grading and corrections could be done immediately too.
She, nonetheless, stated that online classes could not be compared to physical classes because the teacher uses teaching aids and other apparatus to enhance effectiveness.
“It has been effective so far because we can send notes, work sheet and homework to pupils. We can mark online and equally do corrections immediately. But it cannot be compared to physical classroom. Because as a teacher in the physical classroom, you will understand your pupils better. There are so many methods to reinforce a particular topic. All these are not available online classes,” she noted.
A parent, Mrs. Adijat Jimoh, said her children get their work on WhatsApp. She, however, lamented that the process of following up on the assignments for each child was tedious as the chatroom gets crowded with comments and the teacher’s lesson becomes difficult to find in the process.
“In my children’s school, their teachers send videos and lessons to their class groups on WhatsApp. My children do the assignments, then we post to the group. Sometimes, I spend a long time scrolling in search of the teacher’s post because many others would have posted after that. The constant post fills up my phone memory. I called the headmistress that I would come to the school to pick their text books. I am tired of it,” she said.
On her own part, a parent, Mrs Olawole, noted that e-learning is not being deployed in her children’s school, adding that she employed a private tutor to teach them at home since the lockdown began.
She said: “My children attend a private a school and they are not into the e-learning stuff. Since I don’t want them to stay idle, I got a teacher to teach them at home.”