COVID-19 and Schools reopening: Turning disappointment into opportunities

NCDC Chairman

The saying goes that there are two sides to every coin. In order words, whatever has advantages also has disadvantages. The advent of COVID-19 which took the world by storm indeed tore the world apart in so many respects. Nigeria as part of the global village is not left out in the tale of woes. While countries are still counting their losses as they seek recovery processes, others are still confused wondering what steps to take.
While Nigeria has relaxed some of the measures instituted to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country and consequently allowed some activities to resume, there is yet no respite for the educational sector. Hopes that schools will resume for the students at the terminal stages to have their exams was dashed when the government made a volte face and torpedoed the arrangement.
This has sent tongues wagging from citizens who are lambasting the government over its failure to appreciate the importance education hold in the overall development of the country. As it appears there are no indications that the schools will fling their doors open any time soon. It is considered a great set back among parents for their pupils to repeat a class. The government on the other hand contends that it is better to save life than lose many students to the pandemic.
The obvious gap that is created is manifest in the already overstretched medical sector where the already understaffed medical personnel especially doctors would be deprived of the opportunity of increasing the manpower. A concerned parent once queried the gap that would be created when those doing house jobs in hospitals qualify, as there are no graduating medical students to take their place. It is same in all other areas.
While we appreciate government concern to save lives we also call upon it to develop as quickly as it can its own home grown solutions to the challenge of the pandemic rather than rely on solutions adopted by other countries which issues and circumstances do not approximate to ours. Does it mean that if the spread is sustained then we will continue to delay reopening of schools? Other developed nations we borrow a leaf from may leverage on the benefits of technology to run schools from home. We cannot say the same here that is lacking in basic resources.
Having said this Edge Express wishes to urge the embattled parents and their children to turn the disappointment into a huge opportunity, Aside from deepening their knowledge through self-study, the students could be encouraged to grow some skills while they wait for reopening. In this era when there is so much emphasis on entrepreneurship the time provides a chance for ambitious skill to grow themselves in other skills that attract their attention.
It is no longer an argument that government alone cannot create openings enough to absorb all the school leavers from our tertiary institutions that average nearly two millions on annual basis. Within a period of 6 months an enthusiastic student should master or come close to mastering some job skills. There are so many of them that can be captured within this time frame. Where some cannot completely have a good mastery of the chosen area, they can return to it within any of the subsequent holiday period to perfect the effort.

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