Lockdown: Stakeholders decry challenges of online classes

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Online class

SOME stakeholders in the education sector on Wednesday said the online classes occasioned by lockdown and movement restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic had presented a lot of drawbacks for students, parents and schools.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Wednesday in Lagos that though the classes had been beneficial, it had come with various challenges for them.

Mr John Folarin, a Teaching Consultant, said the online classes have some benefits, including better engagement for students because of the fun in handling devices, improved ICT skills, and ability to replay classes done via video or voice notes.

Folarin, however, noted that this method of teaching had experienced some drawbacks for both teachers and students.

“Some of these include: lack of facilities and resources such as inadequate devices, lack of data and epileptic power, which may cause students to miss real time classes.

“In some cases, topics are not properly explained as many teachers don’t have the patience to explain the content by typing.

“If a teacher solves a Mathematics question on a sheet of paper and post, it won’t be sufficient for the slow learners,” he said.

A Parent, Mrs Janet Onyewuenyi, said the classes, though engaging and impactful, came with some inconveniences for parents and guardians who were saddled with the task of supervising their wards.

Onyewuenyi, who is also a businessman, noted that if the schools don’t send the classes, parents won’t know what to teach the children.

“I can’t go out, especially between the hours of 10.00a.m. to 3.00p.m, because I have four children who are attending the classes, and I have to take them, one after the other.

“When the teachers send the work, parents explain and supervise, then ensure they do the homework and keep notes for when school resumes,” she said.

Onyewuenyi said further that the school had notified them that the classes were drawn from the third term scheme, but did not charge for the services being rendered.

Also, Ms Lamide Fajemisin, E-commerce Brand Professional, said she had to get a teacher to support to avoid her children losing interest in their work.

“The challenge is mostly with the internet use and the attention span of the children.

“I work from home and sometimes don’t have the time to attend to them, so they don’t lose interest, I got a teacher to support,” she said.

In his remarks, Mr Jason Idika, a Sales Engineer, said the classes had been beneficial, because it had kept his children busy and safe.

Idika added that though, the school was running the Third Term Scheme, parents were charged a token fee for the services.

“Initially, we didn’t pay because they used it to tidy up the second term scheme,” he said.

Idika, however, noted that apart from the challenges with power and data, the classes were done in a hurry.

Also, Mrs Elizabeth Omubo, said that her children’s school was not running the Third Term Scheme, but only engaging the students to ensure they don’t forget what they had been taught.

“We paid N2,000 for those ones in Nursery and Primary School, while we paid N3,000 for the one in secondary,” she said.

Omubo said she had to buy an Android phone to enable her children to partake in the classes.

Also commenting, Mrs Amaka Ukwedike, a parent told NAN that it was a good development to keep the children on track with academic activities.

Ukwedike said that the online lessons, though with good motive, had some shortcomings which did not allow it to be well embraced.

“It is a fair idea for some parents whose children are expected to participate in the lesson, but has some set backs.

“Some of these setbacks include: high cost of data, which is a major problem for an average family,” she said.

Ukwedike appealed to telecommunication companies to collaborate with school authorities to make data packages cheaper and affordable for the online lessons.

“Most schools have kept faith by ensuring that their students are observing major subjects like Mathematics and English in the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.

“But, the problem is that sometimes, the video containing the lessons being sent to the children through their parents’ phone consumed too much data and the telecommunication operators need to help,” she said.

A school Proprietor, Mrs Ifesy Nwagu, told NAN that the lockdown had subjected some families to hardship as they lacked food to eat, and could not afford resources for internet learning.

“It is only one who has eaten that can afford to recharge and have their android phone loaded with data; so, the challenges are there for parents this period,” Ifesy of Marymartins School, Ijegun, Ikotun, said.

She further noted that the whole process was more effected at the secondary and tertiary levels where their intellect could cope with system.

Ifesy then suggested that the primary and nursery levels should resort to alternative process instead of staying idle because most of them could not afford it.

“There should be an alternative to e-learning for those that cannot meet up, especially for the primary level, because only a few are benefiting from it, which is not fair,” she added.

Also, Mrs Doris Isaac, a private school supervisor, told NAN that few parents had resolved to teaching their children as they could not meet up with resources to key into the online lessons.

“Parents are passionate about their children’s education, and this is the reason some are also taking the advantage of the stay-at-home to personally teach their children,” Isaac said.

Angela Ogboo, a Chemistry teacher and House Mistress in Saint Francis College, Idimu, Lagos, told NAN that even where the system was in place, the teachers had challenges with working tools.

“Some teachers cannot meet up because of the state of their phones, network issues and the poor power supply even, when they were compelled to prepare the lessons for the students.

“Those combined subjects as Basic Science and Technology (BST) and Prevocational Study (PVS) with different teachers are not easy to coordinate online, as the e-learning demands that you must have steady power supply or a functional generator,” she said.

Commenting, Mrs Yomi Newton, immediate past
President, Federal Government Girls College, Kazaure in Katsina State, told NAN that the online and e-learning system was not meant for everyone.

According to her, those that could not meet up with providing the resources because of finance resorted to home lessons, adding that one must work within his means.

“Some do not have the same opportunity as others so they have to ask a teacher to come to take the lessons for their kids at home instead of remaining idle.

“This, of course is cheaper than getting an android phone for my son, loading it with data and ensuring that there is fuel in my generator,” she said.

Newton, medical personnel, noted that there would have been a lot of advantages and benefits if certain amenities were provided. (NAN)

– May 27, 2020 @ 15:05 GMT |

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