COVID-19: Effective Online Teaching for Basic Education is Possible, Says UNICEF


By Kuni Tyessi

Contrary to reports about the smooth running of online classes in Nigeria’s education sector, with emphasis on basic education, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that utmost success can be achieved in this style of learning, saying that it has been tested and proven.
In a statement signed by its communications specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, it said to enhance the effectiveness of home based learning programmes, especially in the wake of the total lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF Nigeria is providing technical support and ensuring that edu-volunteers are part of the monitoring effort supporting state officials and parents.
It added that the efforts help states in tracking down the number of children via the platform, with feedback being received from callers on radio, television and the websites during monitoring sessions.
Using Ekiti State as an example, it said in a field research supervised by UNICEF’s Awwal Nasir in Ido Community, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and ministries of education, science and technology are using digital teaching and learning programmes to make sure that learning is not interrupted for pupils while the lockdown continues.
However, it said while programmes have run smoothly in some areas, others have faced challenges such as poor internet connectivity, teaching and learning resource limitations, level of parents’ literacy, poor electricity supply, distractions and high level of poverty.
“Lessons covering primary years 1-6 air in radio and television stations, and some are uploaded on dedicated websites. Assignments are often given during classes and learners are expected to complete and submit them online.
“These efforts help states to track the number of children via the platforms. Feedback is received from callers on radio, television and the websites during monitoring sessions, assignments submitted are used as a performance indicator to measure the impacts of programmes.
“Overall, reports show that many parents and guardians subscribe to the programme, and also making efforts to ensure their wards have the support needed to participate. The platform has been useful and has helped reduce the negative impact of the stay-at-home order, allow children to continue to learn even in difficult times,” it added.