By Peace Obi
The outbreak of COVID-19 caught the world unawares. Neither the governments nor the private sector operators in different sectors of the global economy were prepared for what eventually became a universal and unsparing experience.
While the lockdown measures adopted by governments in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly disease negatively impacted businesses and economies, it however gave rise to some new and innovative approaches in service delivery.
The journey into the new normal began in earnest. There was a swift change in the pace of technology adoption in commerce, goods and service, teaching and learning processes.
Interestingly, Nigerian educators braced the challenge and utilised various models to keep students engaged even as the school gates remained shut.
Speaking on the models Grace School adopted while the deadly virus ravaged the world, the Executive Director, Mrs. Olatokunbo Edun said the school embarked on several measures to accelerate learning and delivery of qualitative teaching for its students.
She said COVID-19 outbreak made the management and parents truly appreciate the school’s proactive steps and dynamism in teaching and learning.
“Before the advent of COVID, we actually prepared about the possibility of setting up online learning for our students. We started the test run before lockdown and obviously, it launched the school into a new era. We already had things in place and the process commenced with the training of all our teachers. Though there were some teething problems associated with such novel ideas, we were able to overcome.
“We had to adopt three approaches as students were not forced to come to school. The three learning methods are online, hybrid, which involves three days in school, two at home and five-day physical attendance in school.” She disclosed that questionnaires were administered to elicit parents’ choice on what they want for their children. “The fees were different and they had choices. Basically, learning remains the same thing but it is now left to parents to supervise their children,” Edun explained.
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, the educator said schools were most hit by the pandemic. She however noted that it has also given rise to the undeniable change being witnessed in the approach corporate and informal sectors now adopt in their service delivery.
According to her, despite the raging of the COVID-19 at the time, innovative educators kept teaching and learning ongoing through various approaches.
“During the time, we maximised our technology adoption and invested heavily in data and other enablers. We also had to procure germicidal lamps and they came through courier in order to facilitate speedy delivery. We obtained the lamps before school resumed and they were faced in all the classrooms. We also invested a lot of funds in sanitizing the entire school compound. We had to invest huge funds with a view to cushioning the effects of COVID-19. The school had to stop some extra-curricular activities to aid social distancing.”
The director added that the innovation adapted by Grace School to aid learning and facilitate the teaching process also came with its challenges. She hinted that while the students took the time to get accustomed to it, some parents were not patient enough during the period, adding, “it eventually became a success.
“They enjoy the system better through interactions and engagement session with their peers online. It is impressive to note that some of the students even in the primary school developed their own videos and started their own YouTube channels. The students are more independent and more technically sound. The investment in ICT has impacted positively on our students, as well as our teachers. The role of technology cannot be underestimated in view of its relevance to accelerate the learning process,” she stated.
Edun, who called on parents to be alive to their roles in the education of their children, warned that the desired result cannot be achieved without parents’ active involvement.
“A lot of Nigerian parents have abandoned their functions to the school. It should be noted that the school is meant to reinforce the training parents give their children. Parents should not abdicate their responsibilities to the school.”