Richard Ginika Izuora
Following the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the nation’s education sector, a Professor of Science and Computer Education at the Lagos State University, Peter Akinsola Okebukola has called for urgent development of a national blueprint to address the challenges of the new normal.
This is even as he said that the slow growth of the economy, post-Covid-19 may worsen the future of the education sector in Nigeria, saying that corruption is not freeing money for investment in education.
Speaking at the maiden edition of a Public Lecture series organised by the Corona College of Education, (CCED)Lagos with the theme, ‘Quality, Standard and Curriculum Delivery in Tertiary Education in a Covid-19 Era’, Professor Okebukola noted that committed leadership is a huge challenge in Africa that has refused to go away.
He said that good curriculum delivery is key to quality education, adding that adulterated blended learning, incessant strike action by unions, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics are among the challenges facing the nation’s education system today.
Giving the policy options for Post Covid-19 pandemic, Okebukola who was a former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), stressed the need for the development of an e-learning compliant mobile application, power and connectivity for the development of the sector, adding that there is need for capacity building for all stakeholders and training for teachers for quality e-learning process.
In his recommendations for Corona College of Education, Professor Okebukola urged the management and staff of the institution to work a new relentlessly towards producing a breed of teachers who score high in content knowledge.
Speaking further he said, there is the school should conduct a gap analysis of teaching staff of the college in the skills desired to have in the new breed of teachers, also implement training programmes to bridge the desired gap.
He said the college should, “ set up 21st-century classrooms for micro-teaching practice for the Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) trainees, ensure that the curriculum of the college surpasses provision of the NCE minimum academic standards and a model.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Provost of the College, Dr Olajumoke Mekiliuwa, said virtual learning has conferred on all flexible learning opportunities and wider access to education.
She said virtual learning has at the same time placed an immense burden on all stakeholders to evaluate resources and capacity for virtual curriculum delivery, as well as the assurance of quality
“ It is against this backdrop that the topic for today’s lecture was carefully crafted to capture the concerns of stakeholders amidst the lockdown and its aftermath and the need to ensure qualitative delivery of instructions, which seems to have been jeopardized by identifiable deficiencies in the delivery of virtual education in Nigeria today.
“The idea of a public lecture became imperative, first as an integral part of the College’s academic tradition to generate discourses around pertinent issues in Nigeria today. Secondly and more so, by the reason of emergent issues in education, engendered in recent times by the Covid- 19 pandemic. The Covid-19 has been described as a re-engineering virus, which has reconfigured the traditional modes of learning, change the ways faculty and students access, produce and share knowledge,” she said.
Speaking further, Dr Mekiliuwa listed other concerns to include technology, data, connectivity, poor power supply, effective delivery of online classes, monitoring/supervision of students in the virtual classroom and examination integrity among other issues.
Chairman, Governing Council, Corona College of Education, Mr. Dotun Sulaiman in his view noted that the public lecture series was apt given where we are at this point.
He said the pandemic has in the last 15 months disrupted activities, particularly education, adding that up to two billion students had their education disrupted.
“It is pertinent therefore as stakeholders in education, that we re-examine ways teaching and learning is carried out in this dispensation because the experience in the last one year taught us many things we didn’t know before – new possibilities, new ways etc.
“It is time for us to sit back and think through exactly on how to do it, particularly with respect to standards of education. It is with this view in mind that I find the theme of today’s lecture a fascinating one,” he concluded.
In her closing remarks, the CEO, Corona Schools Trust Council, Mrs Adeyoyin Adesina expressed delight in the hosting of the first lecture of the college.
According to her, the school is determined to ensure qualitative delivery of virtual education amid the Covid-19 era, thus, its first public lecture series with the theme ‘Quality, Standard and Curriculum Delivery in Tertiary Education in a Covid-19 Era’ is appropriate
TThe public lecture which was apt following the identified deficiencies in the delivery of virtual education occasioned by the lock-down and its aftermath witnessed the participation of professors, rectors, provosts, heads of faculties, deans of universities, proprietors, heads of schools/ administrators, students and well-meaning Nigerians from all nooks and crannies of the society.
Aimed at evaluating resources and capacity for virtual curriculum delivery, as well as the assurance of quality, participants at the event were of the view that there is a need for effective monitoring of the e-learning process occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
No doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on every sector of the economy, education included, hence the need to monitor the quality of curriculum delivery in schools to avoid total collapse.