By Funmi Ogundare
The President of the Association for Formidable Educators (AFED), Emmanuel Kanu Orji, has appealed to the federal government to consider the association’s effort by boosting its morale in its quest to complement the country’s effort towards attaining the SDGs 4 as enshrined in the United Nations policy document.
Orji, who was responding to questions on the challenges inhibiting the association from delivering online classes to its students, regretted that the federal government has not made any effort to recognise its input in the process of educating a large population of school age children from the low income household which would have contributed to the high and increasing number of those who are out of school.
He told THISDAY that the association has written to the federal government through the ministry of education, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the allied Micro Finance Banks (MFB), among others, adding that there has been no response till date.
“As you may recall, AFED is an umbrella body for low cost schools which cater for the children of school age from the low income households in Nigeria. Today, our association is responsible for the education of over 40 per cent of the school age children currently in one private school or the other across the federation. This is one of the most difficult moment in recent history,” he stressed.
Orji, who is the Proprietor of Rockford School, Ikorodu, Lagos, said the association was showing some level of resilience against the unprecedented global pandemic, adding that using technology in its various low-cost schools is at a low-key status.
“The low-cost schools are indeed operating from a very low budget and cannot afford what we may regard as the luxury of technology, and in case where this is available in small numbers, the end side of the learner is not readily available. Technology is for an end to end usage. There must be gadgets to help people stay connected.”
He regretted that parents can hardly afford the little charges in form of fees, how much more buying luxurious household items.
The president said a survey conducted by the association showed that over 40 per cent of parents, or relatives have smart phones, adding that it had trained over 1,300 educators on different online learning/educational apps.
“The training is still ongoing. Mrs, Esther Oluwatoyin Akingbade, who is leading the technical team in providing this, has shown high level of commitment and result has been tremendous.
“All these are to complement the effort of the government that has provided electronically transmitted lessons to our homes via television and radio
“All of these efforts not withstanding, there are homes where these remain illusive due to such factors that are common knowledge in the Nigerian local communities such as electric power supply and internet services,” Orji stressed.