COVID-19 and the Disruption on Education: A time and Need to ‘Raise Your hand’

Sule Matthew

It may be contestable but maybe, not out of place to argue that there has never been a time like ours in which the world has simultaneously suffered mixed crises. The universal health challenge of COVID-19 has consequentially shifted attentions and efforts from other important issues that should not be begging but commanding attentions.

It is not disputable that “We are fighting once in a generation chance” – a trying time for everyone everywhere, a rare moment of uncertainty and instability but most importantly, a time to #RaiseYourHand
As we get engrossed in the struggle to redeem our disrupted configurations by the unfriendly wave of the corona virus disease, priority of urgency and importance should be given to the bedrock of our collective prosperity – EDUCATION.

As the world is repositioning in the face of our new reality to reconcile with quality education amid and beyond the corona virus pandemic, it becomes a better time like never before, for Nigeria and Nigerians, everywhere to embrace this opportunity to #RaiseYourHand for the future that we want.

As “the world has witnessed an unprecedented coordination, scientific innovation and heroism of frontline workers”, it becomes a clear evidence of return on our past investment and a need to invest more.

Investment in education is an investment that will better prepare us for the next ‘pandemics’ – Pandemic of insecurity, Pandemic of moral decadent, pandemic of health crises among others.

To bring about an impactful transformation in education and with consideration to the current state of things, approaches that revolve around gender responsiveness, bridging digital divides, coaching the coaches and assessing internal quality (what are people really doing in class rooms) should be made the bedrock of our transformative plans.

Today, the alarming figures of out of school children is still part of our reality, we are still very much associable with functional illiteracy, the states of our learning facilities are still frightening and our position in building a resilient educational system is under a serious spell – a need to #RaiseYourHands.

It is however, important to confess the internal and external drives in strengthening the educational ecosystem in Nigeria particularly those aimed at ensuring a quick recovery and a better reformation; For example, the Global Partners for Education has supported the Nigerian ministry of education in a stride to keep school children learning by alternative methods while we battle with the corona virus impediments on school operations; This is of course, one area that we equally need to raise our hands as people in government, members of the press, civil society organizations and individuals to ensure a transparent, purposeful and goal oriented utilization of the USD 15,000,000 granted by GPE following a total request of USD 20,000,000 made by the Nigerian government in her proposed “continuing learning through alternate home-based platforms” programs.

It also becomes imperious at this time, for the Nigerian government through its agencies like the Nigerian Partnership for Education Project (NIPEP), to supplement the external intervention, for public sectors to collaborate with the government, for organizations to establish a synergy with the private sector and for individuals to raise their hands and fund education.

My advocacy is a universal call to all stakeholders, reinforcing the saying that; “To achieve the world that we want, we must invest in the people that will build it” – when we invest to keep people learning, we are investing in national building, sustainable peace and economic growth.

“Without urgent action, the learning crises will only deepen and the effect could be felt for generations to come.”

Sule Matthew Enemona writes from HOS Tutors Nigeria.
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