Education Journal, Vol. 3, Issue 4, Dec  2020, Pages 88-102; DOI: https://doi.org/10.31058/j.edu.2020.34009 https://doi.org/10.31058/j.edu.2020.34009

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Nigerian Education System: Impacts, Management, Responses, and Way Forward

, Vol. 3, Issue 4, Dec  2020, Pages 88-102.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31058/j.edu.2020.34009

Adelakun Iyanuoluwa Samuel 1*

1 Department of Educational Management and Business Studies, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti, Nigeria

Received: 5 July 2020; Accepted: 10 August 2020; Published: 4 September 2020

Abstract

The sudden outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which originated from the city of Wuhan, China, has become a major public health challenge for not only China but also countries all over the world. In fact the pandemic has led to the total lockdown of most of the human activities in various parts of the world. The World Health Organization announced that the outbreaks of the novel coronavirus have constituted a public health emergency of international concern. As of February 26, 2020, COVID-19 has been recognized in 34 countries, with a total of 80,239 laboratory-confirmed cases and 2,700 deaths, there was a sudden shoot up of confirmed cases of 4.9 million in at least 188 countries with 323,300 deaths and nearly 1.7 million recoveries as at 20th of May 2020. Infection control measures are necessary to prevent the virus from further spreading and to help control the epidemic situation. One of the control measures is the total lockdown of schools at various levels in the whole world, on march 19, 2020 Nigerian government through the federal ministry of education ordered the closure of all schools at various levels.There is no doubt that the interference of the coronavirus pandemic has caused so many challenges on the Nigerian education system, in the like this, this paper reveals the concepts of coronavirus (covid-19), issues, challenges and impacts on the sustainable development of the educational system of Nigeria.

Keywords

Coronavirus, Nigerian Education System

1. Introduction

As of April 21th, 2020, approximately 1.723 billion learners have been affected with the sudden closures of school in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNESCO monitoring, as of the date above 191 countries have implemented nationwide closures and 5 have implemented local closures, impacting about 98.4 percent of the world' s student population. On 23 March 2020, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) released a statement announcing the cancellation of Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge International AS & A Level, Cambridge AICE Diploma, and Cambridge Pre-U examinations for the May/June 2020 series across all countries. International Baccalaureate exams were cancelled. Efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 through non-medical interventions and preventive measures such as social-distancing and self-isolation have prompted the widespread closure of primary, secondary, and tertiary schooling in over 100 countries. Nigeria as a country have as well ensured all schools and personnel experience a compulsory stay at home order so as to prevent further spread of this deadly virus from spreading among students and school personnel since it can easily be contacted through have direct contact with the carrier of the virus. In fact many unified examinations have to be suspended.

Most of Africa’s 54 countries are now with confirmed cases and death tolls due to COVID-19, some have closed their borders and banned international flights, local and international trade are declining at an drastic rate. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria and most of the African countries have declared complete lockdowns. According to Wondwosen Tamrat and Damtew Teferra (2020), research on the April 2020 Africa economic forecasts revealed that Africa could experience economy loss of between US$90 billion and US$200 billion in 2020, with the GDP shrinking by three to eight points. In South Africa, growth is expected to contract by 1.5% in the first two months of the outbreak, due to its effect on key economic sectors, such as mining and tourism. Ethiopia’s recent request for assistance, on behalf of the African nations to the G20 forum, for US$150 billion emergency financing, the freezing of interest rates on loans and the cancellation of debts is a clear indication of the massive threat to the continent’s economies and sustainable development.

Mathematical modeling has shown that transmission of an outbreak may be stepped down by closing of schools which are the major atmosphere for social gathering. However, effectiveness of this move depends on the contacts and social distancing principles children maintain outside their schools. School closure helps a lot when it is introduced at the early stage, but if it occurs late to an outbreak, it may be less effective and may not have any impact at all because by then the disease could have gone out of hands in the school system. This is why over the years educational sector have remain a sensitive part of the sustainable development of any country; because the tune in the development of any country is majorly dictated by the educational sector. Again in some cases where necessities are not properly managed, the reopening of schools after a period of pandemic closure may result in increased infection rates, in fact doubled the initial figures. The closures as a result of the pandemic does not only affect the educational sector, it has also led to the suspension of all public gathering; closure of major markets, religious organizations were restricted from worshiping together and many other gatherings’ activities were on hold during the trying period. Even with all these, it is difficult to measure the specific impact of school closures, because it varies from place to place, persons to persons; the impact may be positive or effective on individuals as the case may be. Nevertheless this research will examine the noticeable effects of Covid-19 on the education system of Nigeria.

2. Pandemic and Closure of Schools

The trying the period of 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States, school closures and public gathering bans were introduced with which helps in the reduction of mortality rates. It was recorded that cities that implemented such interventions earlier had greater delays in reaching peak mortality rates. Schools were closed for 4 weeks according to a study of 43 US cities' response to the Spanish Flu. School closures were shown to reduce morbidity from the Asian flu by 90% during the 1957-58 outbreak, and up to 50% in controlling influenza in the US, 2004-2008. Multiple countries successfully slowed the spread of infection through school closures during the 2009 H1N1 Flu pandemic. The closures of schools in the city of Oita in Japan helped in the successful decrease in the number of infected students even at the peak of infection. Mandatory school closures and other social distancing measures were associated with a 29% to 37% reduction in influenza transmission rates. Early closures of schools in the United States delayed the peak of the 2009 H1N1 Flu pandemic. Despite the overall success of closing schools, some studies of school closures concluded that it is not the best measure in the control of pandemic and that the process is ineffective. For example a study conducted in Michigan found that district level reactive school closures were ineffective.

In the year 2009 when there was an outbreak of swine flu in the United Kingdom, in an article titled Closure of Schools during an Influenza Pandemic published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, a group of epidemiologists endorsed the closure of schools in order to reduce the further spread of the infection, and buy time to research and produce a effective vaccine. They studied previous influenza pandemics including the 1918 flu pandemic, the influenza pandemic of 1957 and the 1968 flu pandemic, they reported the effect of school closure would have, particularly with a large percentage of doctors and nurses being women, of whom half had children under the school going age of 16. They as well looked at the past trends of the spread of influenza in France during French school holidays and noted that cases of flu reduced when there was closure of schools. Looking at when teachers in Israel went on strike during the flu season of 1999-2000, visits to doctors and the number of respiratory infections dropped in seldom.

Many countries have (rightly) decided to close schools, colleges and universities. The crisis crystallizes the dilemma policymakers are facing between closing schools (reducing contact and saving lives) and keeping them open (allowing workers to work and maintaining the economy). The severe short-term disruption is felt by many families around the world: home schooling is not only a massive shock to parents’ productivity, but also to children’s social life and learning. Teaching is moving online, on an untested and unprecedented scale. Student assessments are also moving online, with a lot of trial and error and uncertainty for everyone. Many assessments have simply been cancelled. Importantly, these interruptions will not just be a short-term issue, but can also have long-term consequences for the affected cohorts and are likely to increase inequality.

Unlike western countries, the Federal Ministry of Education’s school-closure directive did not produce policy measures on how to ease learning disruptions for children and how to address the digital mean of learning which may be alternative method to physical teaching learning process in the dynamic society. In an account of Taibat Hussain [15], the Coordinated Education response to COVID-19 pandemic on the landing page of the Ministry website is vague and does little to address the learning needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. The single well-documented response is the Nigeria Education in Emergency Working Group (NWiWwg) Strategy, published on 7 April 2020 which aims to mitigate the negative impact of the school closure on learners and teachers in North-East Nigeria. While the efforts of the Federal and State government in the health sector and in providing financial stimulus packages and emergency palliatives must be commended, ignoring the education sector would be disastrous. As emphasised by UNESCO, temporary school closure comes with high social and economic costs, with severe impact on children from disadvantaged background.

2.1. What is Coronavirus (Covid-19)?

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that this outbreak had constituted a public health emergency of international concern (Mahase 2020). The novel coronavirus was initially named 2019-nCoV and officially as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2). As of February 26, COVID-19 has been recognized in 34 countries, with a total of 80,239 laboratory-confirmed cases and 2,700 deaths (WHO 2020).

2.2. Viral Etiology

According to recent research, similar to SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARSCoV-2 is zootoxic, with Chinese horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus sinicus) being the most probable origin [4,9]. Also The Chinese Preventive Medicine Association (2020) accounted pangolins as the most likely intermediate host of the virus.

2.4. Clinical Symptoms

Most of patients with COVID-19 represent relatively serene cases. According to recent studies [7,25] and relevant data from the National Health Commission of China (2020), the proportion of severe cases among all patients with COVID-19 in China was around 15% to 25%. Majority of patients experienced fever and dry cough, while some also had shortness of breath, fatigue, and other atypical symptoms, such as muscle pain, confusion, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, and vomiting [5]. Among patients who underwent chest computed tomography (CT), most showed bilateral pneumonia, with ground-glass opacity and bilateral patchy shadows being the most common patterns [7]. Among hospitalized patients in Wuhan, around one-fourth to one-third developed serious complications, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, arrhythmia, and shock, and were therefore transferred to the intensive care unit [6]. In general, older age and the existence of underlying co-morbidities (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease) were associated with poorer prognosis [20].

2.5. Covid-19 Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of COVID-19 can be based on a combination of epidemiologic information (e.g., a history of travel to or residence in affected region 14 d prior to symptom onset), clinical symptoms, CT imaging findings, and laboratory tests (e.g., reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR] tests on respiratory tract specimens) according to standards of either the WHO (2020) or the National Health Commission of China (2020). It should be mentioned that a single negative RT-PCR test result from suspected patients does not exclude infection. Clinically, we should be alert of patients with an epidemiologic history, COVID-19–related symptoms, and/or positive CT imaging results. So far, there has been no evidence from randomized controlled trials to recommend any specific anti-nCoV treatment, so the management of COVID-19 has been largely supportive (WHO 2020). Currently, the approach to COVID-19 is to control the source of infection; use infection prevention and control measures to lower the risk of transmission; and provide early diagnosis, isolation, and supportive care for affected patients [20]. A series of clinical trials are being carried out to investigate interventions that are potentially more effective (e.g., lopinavir, remdesivir; Del Rio and Malani 2020). On January 8, 2020, a novel coronavirus was officially announced as the causative pathogen of COVID-19 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention [9]. The epidemics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID- 19) started from Wuhan, China, last December and have become a major challenging public health problem for not only China but also countries around the world [14].

2.6. Impacts of Covid-19 on the Nigerian Education System

In Nigeria, the outbreaks of Lassa fever, bird flu, monkey pox, Ebola disease and others didn’t weigh down the socio-economic and educational system as of the case of coronavirus, this has been raising dust in the country, educational system and heartfelt burden to the concern personnel, knowing well the possible effects of the prolong holidays as a result of the pandemic.

3. Impactson Education: Schools

Going to school is the best public policy tool available to develop skills and potentials, school time can be fun, and from an economic point of view the primary point of being in school is that it increases a child’s ability to become a useful and acceptable member of the society. Even a relatively short time in school has a longer impact in the life of a child; a short period of missed school may have consequences for skill growth in future. This is why we cannot estimate how much the COVID-19 interruption will affect learning; it is only the visible effect we can see, the gradual decay of inbuilt abilities may not be easily noticed very precisely. We are now in a new world far different from the things we use to know. The school time tables and schedules have changes, and in fact at the resumption of the school after the lockdown, so many grounds needs to be covered in order for the educational system of Nigeria to be able to compete with the world’s educational system. Facilities in schools are been underutilized during lockdown, some might have damaged as a result of not been used for a long period of time.

In detail account of UNESCO, about 35.9 million primary and secondary school learners are currently out-of-school as a result of the school closures. For primary schools, this number totals approximately 25.6 million students, of which about 87 percent (23.5 million) are students enrolled in public schools. The numbers are just as stark for secondary school learners. Of the roughly 10.3 million secondary school students who are out-of-school as a result of the closures, approximately 81 percent (8.4 million) of them are public school students. There is no assurance that all the learners who left the school will be back in school the pandemic lockdown; some may have change their lives’ view seeing going to school as a waste of time, some may have died, some will change school, some may have join bad groups shifting their attention away from school. Etc. this is where the work of parents and guidance should come in to ensure the proper welfare of learners even while they stayed back home. Unfortunately learning within the homes are as well limited looking at the literacy level of some parents in Nigeria; not every parent could handle well the pedagogy aspect of parenthood and besides other commitments of parents are to be considered. The effect of this may not be easily noticed now; the future of a child in this category is naturally exposed to a serious academic crash if there are no proper interventions, because until the ban on movement is lifted and schools are reopened, majority of students will not be learning.

3.1. Impacts on Education: Educational Finance

The sudden interruption of the education system in Nigeria as a result of the pandemic has led the government, parents, individuals, ministries of education at various levels and other concerned personnel to have shift in the plans and strategies to finance the education of their children and the education system at large. There is no doubt the school calendar is going to be extended, and while this is on, there is going to extra payments at various levels of the educational system. During the lockdown some parents were forced to procure laptops, android phones, television cables and other means of ICT, this is to ensure their wards move with the new innovative of the online classes at various levels designed for teachers to reach out to their students. Most of the developing private schools in Nigeria could not afford the payment of their staffs during the period of lockdown because students are not in school, some have not paid the school levies before the emergence of the pandemic leading to school proprietors not having access to inflow of income to welfare their staffs working in their respective schools, in fact there is fear of whether private some schools in Nigeria will be able to survive and keep existing after the pandemic lockdown. Even when there is a standing order that says no work no pay in Nigeria, during the lockdown the governments at some levels still ensured continuous payments of staff in schools, ministries of education knowing well that they are not working for their earnings during the lockdown. There is no doubt that the expenses run as workers payment during the period of lockdown are mere gifts and not payment for work done, this will surely have effect on the future educational finance because the working time does not tallies with the staffs payment. Actually this developmental move is nobody’s fault because no one could have predict the world will be faced with this great challenge, government tried to ensure the welfare of workers during the pandemic lockdown with the belief that they are the oil keeping the engine of the national economy running. The sad truth about this development is if it persists, it may have serious impacts on the commitment of governments towards the education system in the face of competing demands from the healthcare, business and other sectors serving vulnerable segments of the society at large.

3.2. Impact on Education: Graduates and School Leavers

There is no doubt that students in terminal classes in lower and higher levels of education system of Nigeria has been held on a spot; they were unable to graduate or even move to the next level in their academic pursuit this has led to the set a great back of the smooth running of educational sector of Nigeria and the world at large. What makes education beautiful and fulfilling is the progress in terms of moving to the next level, graduating and becoming a useful and acceptable member of the society after being exposed to the teaching-learning processes in the school. The careers of this year’s university graduates may be severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have experienced majorly teaching interruptions in the final part of their studies, interruptions in their assessments, and finally they are likely to graduate at the beginning of a major global recession, because there is no doubt there will be global recession in the economy of the world at large at the end of the pandemic lockdown. While there was boom in the economy of Nigeria in the past, some graduates still find it difficult to get their desired jobs in the labor market, now that there is every tendencies that the economy of the country could experience a drastic meltdown after the covid-19 pandemic, how will graduate get menial jobs talk less of their desired jobs. Unfortunately if this persists for a longer period of time, there might be a great hit on the smooth running of the economy, educational and other sectors of the country at large. Evidence suggests that poor market conditions at labour market entry cause workers to accept lower paid jobs for survival first, and that this has permanent effects on the careers of some graduate because they have been doing the jobs far related to their area of specializations for so many years which on the long run has made them not been fulfilled in their choice careers. Oreopoulos et al. [13] show that graduates from programmes with high predicted earnings can compensate for their poor starting point through both within- and across-firm earnings gains, but graduates from other programmes have been found to experience permanent earnings losses from graduating in a recession.

3.3. Impacts on Education: Learners Welfare

According to Thelma & Adedeji [18] Learners in Nigeria are also losing access to the daily meals made available by the federally-funded school feeding programs. Without any doubt, Nigeria has one of the largest school feeding programs in the world, with the World Food Programme estimating that in 2019, Nigeria’s Homegrown Schools Feeding Initiative provided access to daily meals to over 9 million children in over 40,000 public schools. The benefits of school feeding programs extend beyond the immediate education benefits of the meals provided, such as encouraging enrollment in schools, and boosting learning. School feeding programs yield larger socio-economic benefits for children, their families, and society at large, which are especially pertinent to children of low socio-economic groups: boosting health and nutrition, and providing social protection and safety nets.

Some learners especially those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds, the daily meals provided at schools are their primary source of healthy and nutritious meals. Now that the schools are closed, over 9 million public school students are currently being deprived of this benefit. Beyond feeding, Nigeria' s feeding program also offers health services, including application of anti worm treatments and immunizations for learners in public schools across 17 states. Unfortunately the pandemic lockdown involving the schools will as well affect access to some basic health services for poorer children in underdeveloped societies of Nigeria. Some homes in this categories depend so much on this free meal to cater for their children in this because they have opportunity to safe little expenses to be incurred on their children, which on the long run such savings are use to take care of other expenses in their homes. Now that the school is on lockdown, many parents in this category will surely find it difficult to adjust because their children’s welfare has fully fallen back on them coupled with the tight economy whereby there is drastic reduction in the economic development of the country at large.

3.4. Impacts on Education: Families

It is to be noted that children have not generally been sent home to play, eat and sleep as some parents and guidance might have been seeing it from the inception of the coronavirus lockdown which has forced the gates of all the schools to be locked till date. The idea is that they continue their education at home, in the hope of not missing out too much. Parents and concern family members are to be involved in the continuous education of their children while at home, but the question here is how many parents or guidance are educated or even have time to attend to their children academics? A case study of parents who didn’t have opportunity to attend schools while growing up; they were not sent to school, they are into trades, farming, fishing and the likes. Such parents could do nothing than to provide financial and material needs for their children while the aspect to guide their children academic suffers. Though some illiterate Parents still have the basic knowledge of simple arithmetic and reading due to their daily businesses, such parents supplement a child’s mathematics learning by practicing counting or highlighting simple mathematics problems in everyday life; or they illuminate history lessons with trips to important monuments or museums. Being the prime driver of learning, even in conjunction with online materials which many do not have access to; but while many parents round the world do successfully school their children at home during the pandemic lockdown as a result of being educated a little, some are far lacking behind because they were not well informed and couldn’t help their children in continuous education while staying back with them at home. For example a road side mechanic in Nigeria who has never being to school in his life, he has a wife who sells sea foods in the market square; she is as well not educated, a child in such parents care during the period of pandemic lockdown may end up losing interest in schooling and choose to become a road side mechanic or a fish seller all because that was what he was able to lay his hands on. This support the assertion that families are central to education and are widely agreed to provide major inputs into a child’s learning, as described by Bjorklund and Salvanes [2].

While global home schooling will surely produce some inspirational moments, some angry moments, some fun moments and some frustrated moments, it seems very unlikely that it will on the average replace the learning lost as a result of school closure because the teaching-learning at homes varies while there is uniqueness in the teaching-learning activities in school though it may not be accurate as the school setting’ learning; there will likely be significant disparities between families in the extent to which they can help their children learn, since parents have varying characters and also from different backgrounds and tribes. According to Oreopoulos et al. [12] the amount of time available to devote to teaching, the non-cognitive skills of the parents, resources (for example, not everyone will have the kit to access the best online material), and also the amount of knowledge – it’s hard to help your child learn something that you may not understand yourself. Consequently, this episode will lead to an increase in the inequality of human capital growth for the affected cohorts.

Another surety impact of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown on the educational system is the wastage of house rents on the part higher institution students; at least as at the time of this write-up, the lockdown have exceeded three months and still counting because nobody knows when will come to an end in Nigeria. Secured accommodations which have been paid for by the students in their various institutions continues lying empty while the lockdown is been persist, some parents may definitely be faced with the challenges of not being able to meet up with the next due payment of their children’s accommodation when they resume back to continue their studies. A child who is supposed to pay for four years accommodation respectively may end up paying for five years if the school lockdown is continues; this will definitely result in extra cost on the parents because the finance incurred on such children will be counted as deficit at the expense of other developmental projects at home.

4. Managing Coronavirus Pandemic in Nigeria Education System

According to the coronavirus response monitoring plans by Unicef Nigeria (2020), Nigeria Education sector maintains a Response Monitoring Tool named 5W Matrix (Who is doing What, Where, When and for Whom) for monitoring Education Sector partners activities under the current COVID19 contingency response. While the pandemic is still on, partners are submitting their reports on a monthly basis to the Education Sector secretariat appointed team. Based on the submissions, the Education Sector Secretariat team on a regular basis developed maps and other tools to strengthen the coordination on the response; they ensured proper documentation in identifying gaps and prevent duplication of activities/programmes during and after this pandemic period. The Monitoring System also aimed to minimize reporting requirements to partners while at the same time provide regular required information about the progress of programme implementation and ensure alignment with the (to be) amended Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Along the line there was regular partner participation in this monitoring is critical to maintaining strong coordination because it was observed that it is through joint efforts we all can end the continuous grips of coronavirus. This was view to continuously allow the Sector to visualize gaps and needs, build partnerships and collaborations, and advocate on behalf of the entire sector.

The sector has on a regular basis conducting monitoring meetings on COVID19 response at least twice a month since the inception of pandemic lockdown in Nigeria. These meetings has been holding online ( via Skype, zoom etc) in line with the social distancing rules and all implementing partners and other stakeholders have been partaking in the meetings to come out with substantial plans in managing the educational sector in such the trying times of the covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Information on partner activities and reports from periodic meetings is been shared directly with the Federal Ministry of Education and SUBEB for considerations and implementations in which education data collection strives to use the official Education Management Information System (EMIS) school codes to allow for seamless integration with Federal Ministry of Education’s data. Furthermore, Also Education in Emergencies working Group (EiEWG) Information Management Officers do conduct regular capacity building opportunities for both EiEWG members and SUBEB focal points in order to improve information management within the Education Sector even at the critical time of the country.

Also Unicef Nigeria response team to coronavirus, designed a framework according to a specific need resulting from COVID19 crisis. This framework is to give partners concrete information on the impact of the pandemic so far on the educational sector and further suggest ideas of how they can support in term prevention, how they can continue to support learners during the pandemic lockdown period that schools are on complete lockdown and more detailed guidance on how the education partners can support both the federal and states’ Ministries of Education to re-start learning on a gallant note and the activities to prioritize once the shutdown of schools is lifted.

According to Unicef Nigeria, there were three strategic selected objectives linked to the COVID19 main consequence on school system: School closure: Before, during and after (School reopening) the school closure.

a. Prevent spread and transmission of coronavirus through and among learners, teachers, parents and School Based Management Committee (SBMC).

b. Mitigate/Minimize the impact of school closure due to COVID19 on learning and wellbeing of learners, teachers, parents and SBMC through alternatives solution.

c. Ensure effective, inclusive and safe return to quality learning for learners, teachers, and SBMC.

As at April, 2020 many states in Nigeria have switched to the radio-television means of communicating with learners whereby teachers go on air teaching their respective subjects and topics to learners listening and watch at home, some learning channels were lunched on various satellite networks even though not every home in Nigeria can afford the purchase and monthly subscriptions of satellite networks. At least with this development some of learners are still being updated in their academics. Some private universities in Nigeria took this advantage to further develop their ICT section to create platforms in reaching out to their students’ even while in their respective homes with their parents/guidance. A case study of Bowen University Iwo, Osun State immediately swift to action at the beginning of the lockdown; the university’s ICT unit developed a software to reach out to their students in their various homes, they teach and even conducted examinations as at when due. This software was able to view learners in the comfort of their homes, to detect the students face, and ensure nobody is helping them write their exams. This was a commendable effort from Bowen University’s management in ensuring there is continuous education even in the face of corona virus pandemic. Unfortunately the development was unable to get down to government universities because the period of the pandemic lockdown came after the academic staffs of universities union declared indefinite strike action as a result of unmet demands from the government. Along the line, on April 22nd 2020, President Muhamadu Buhari ordered the payment of all university staffs to further encourage them in carrying out relevant researches in finding a lasting solution and vaccines to prevent the spread of corona virus in Nigeria, but this move wasn’t effective because there was still strike action in place. For how long will education system of Nigeria continue to suffer strike action as a result of mismanagement of staffs in the sector? Nobody knows, but we all hope that one day Nigeria will rise again and takes its place in the world developmental ranking.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the socio-economic inequalities of the Nigeria education system; many wealthy families in Nigeria send their children to private schools leaving the poor resources and facilities in public schools all because of the increase in mismanagement of resources allocated to the education system. The children in private schools might experience little disruption in their learning, because the authorities of most standardized private schools do ensure their schools are well equipped with ICT infrastructures and they can afford remote learning. Learners from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities without access to computers and other devices outside school will however be left struggling. In many cases, these children live in communities with poor or non-existent internet connectivity and epileptic power supply. Inevitably, if this digital innovative is the only alternative to switch to during the lockdown it will make worse learning disparities among these children because not many parents can afford an android phone talk less of other sophisticated ICT tools used in aiding learning

While trying to curb the further damage of the corona virus pandemic on the educational sector, the state government of Oyo on the 15th June 2020 ordered the reopening of schools on 29th June 2020 for students in terminal classes such as Primary 6, JSS 3, and SSS 3 to prepare them for their respective external examinations. This was carried out even while there was still a standing order by the federal government of Nigeria that all schools are to remain close till further notice and directives. While doing this, the Oyo state government promised to ensure all health precautions are in place to prevent staffs and learners in this category from being effected with the virus. Another control measure made by the federal government of Nigeria on the effect of covid-19 pandemic on the education sector was the step to reopen schools to terminal students; the directive came from the president on 29th June 2020 with the advice of Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 after uninterrupted school closure since March 19th 2020. With this, learners in primary six, Junior Secondary School three, and Senior Secondary School three are to resume on the 6th of July 2020 for adequate preparations for their terminal exams, other classes and all tertiary institutions are to remain closed till further notice. All necessary health precautions are to be put in place in various concerned schools, the ministries of education and school authorities are to abide by the laid down rules while the temporary school activities in ongoing. There is no doubt this decision will help the learners in this category to have time to prepare for their external examinations so as for them not to experience massive failure. As reported by The Guardian [17], on the 30th of June, 2020, Nigerian Union of Teachers and Academic Staff Union of Universities rejected this reopening of schools’ proposal by the federal government, saying they are not going to resume and expose their lives to the risk of Covid-19, they are of the opinion that the government should first provide health facilities along-side isolation centre in schools before they will be willing to resume, this is so unfortunate to the developmental trend of the country. The alarming question here now is how is the government going to meet up with the demands from the teachers during the economic recession the country and the world are facing? But then education system needs to keep running so as to prevent complete breakdown of the system in future.

5. Conclusion

The outbreak of corona virus has shaken the educational sector of Nigeria off its strength. In fact, looking at the trend of the pandemic, it could be something we are going to live with for a long period of time. There is no doubt that there is going to be a serious set-back in the development of Nigeria education system if the coronavirus pandemic lockdown is not properly managed by the government and concern personnel. Schools calendar have been disrupted, there is reduction in the economic development of the country which has affected the education finance as well. Since the family income depends on the economic growth of any country, most of the families in Nigeria are experiencing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic lockdown; some of the vulnerable families having their children under the federal government free feeding scheme are being faced with the challenge of going in search of food for their children while they are with them at home. Unfortunately the illiteracy level of some parents in Nigeria is not helping the matter because not every parents or guidance could handle the black and white teaching of their children. This on a long run will cause children in these category to experience a great set-back in their academic endeavors, in fact many of them may from there drop out of school and take some other things.

The pandemic lockdown has led to the shortage of funds for the educational system, parents as well are been faced with the reality of having to pay extra cost on their children academics whenever they resume to school. This is certainly a trying time for the economy, a hit on the sustainable development of the country and it is not going to be an easy experience for some households who could barely afford daily balanced diet who have been sacrificing a lot for their children to get the best education for them to become a useful and acceptable member of the society. It won’t be surprising if a larger percentage of students dropped out of schools after the pandemic lockdown in Nigeria as a result of inability to of parents to bear the cost of financing their children’s education.

The outbreak of the corona virus coupled with the lockdown of schools at various levels of education in Nigeria has served as test for the education technology interventions for teaching-learning activities. Unfortunately the Nigeria education system arrived at this point not fully prepared. It was observed that even the E-Learning chosen as the alternatives to be used in reaching out to the learners in the period of lockdown has not successfully work because of non unemployment of expert to manage the IT section of the Nigeria Education system, huge tariff charges from various network providers in Nigeria. Also with the move to reopen schools to the learners in terminal classes, there will be adequate time to prepare them for their respective terminal examinations, but this can only be possible if the government and the schools authorities make available preventive measures and facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our schools. The good question here is will this move be effective now that the government and the nation at large are experiencing economic meltdown? Nobody knows the answer to this until the move is been reevaluated after a period of operation in that trend.

6. Recommendations

Since it was observed that there were no proper plans in place to curb and manage the influence of coronavirus on the educational system, it is highly recommended for the government and concerned educational personnel should ensure there are futuristic plans to in case of another similar experience. This is COVID-19, nobody knows what other occurrences will happen in future and will lead to interruption of the activities of the educational system of Nigeria, therefore plans are to be made in ensuring the future of the education system is secured and not been disrupted with emergence of disease.

Having observed that even the E-Learning chosen as the alternatives to be used in reaching out to the learners in the period of lockdown has not successfully work because of non unemployment of expert to manage the ICT section of the Nigeria Education system, huge tariff charges from various network providers in Nigeria. Therefore it is advisable for the Nigeria ministry of education to employ experts in the area of ICT to further introduce programs that will enhance the productivity of the education sector in order to compete with the outside world even in the period of global pandemic lockdown. These experts should design the teaching learning activities through social media platforms such as Google Classroom which is a free web service that is developed by Google for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way with the purpose of streamlining the process of sharing files between lecturers and students. WhatsApp which is freeware, cross-platform, messaging and voice over IP service, it is owned by Facebook, Inc. It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls and share images, documents, user location and other media. Zoom which is a video communication that provides video telephone and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform that is used for distance education and social relations. Blog is an online journal or informational website use in displaying information in a reversed chronological order with the latest post appearing first. It is a platform where a writer shares his/her view on any concepts. All these will still maintain the social distancing rules, helps the teacher to teach, reach out to learners through voice, written words or even video conversations. Learners won’t have to miss a lot as a result of not physically present in class. Also if after a period of time, the move to reopen schools for learners in terminal classes works perfectly, it can also be extended to other levels of education enforcing all related health rules and regulations are been followed to details in order to ensure much damage is not done to the development of the Nigerian educational sector.

Teachers and tertiary institutions staffs are to soft-pedal their actions with the government on the reopening of schools, they can as well volunteer to make provision for the preventive kits in schools and other related health facilities to curb the further spread of coronavirus in our schools, the Parent Teachers Association, Alumni, Schools Board of Governors.etc…are advised extend more supportive hands in upholding the education sector of Nigeria. The future of the country’s educational system is in the hands of everyone of us and we can’t afford to allow it to be soiled with the interference of the coronavirus, private sectors and concerned individuals should as well come in to rescue the it from the impending doom which may spring up after the lockdown caused by covid-19 pandemic.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.

Copyright

© 2017 by the authors. Licensee International Technology and Science Press Limited. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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