By Lilian Agu Ogechi
In recent times, there has been a change in the world order due to the increasing number of people being infected with the coronavirus. All walks of life have been affected by this virus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The effect has been very devastating in all aspects of our daily lives and education cannot be ruled out. When Ghana recorded its first cases, it led to the closure of all schools from primary to the university as the first step to curb the outbreak of the virus. It must be mentioned that the situation has affected teaching and learning as well as other forms of auxiliary activities on the various campuses.
However, the pandemic has helped us devise ways to ensure that life goes on. Schools have come up with ways, including the use of social media, to ensure that teaching and learning is not brought to a halt completely.
This, in a way, may have its own challenges but as the adage goes, “Necessity is the mother of inventions.” This has, in one way or the other, helped keep the academic calendar going.
Since the shutdown of schools on March 16, some parents have opted for homeschooling to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on their children’s education. But many are quickly realising that this is not easy as they anticipated, despite receiving support from schools to facilitate homeschooling.
There are many distractions that come with these “innovations.’ There are times students will want to play around or even watch TV. Also, parents sometimes get so busy that they barely have time for themselves.
While parents who have had formal education can actively manage their children’s learning via homeschooling, this is not an option for those who are not formally educated, especially in a country where illiteracy is high.
The shutdown has affected pupils drastically. Many children do not have the chance to learn whilst home. Some students think they are on holiday and barely make any attempts to stay home to learn. They are seen roaming about, and it looks like they don’t even know the reasons why they are supposed to stay at home.
According to an educator in one of the junior high schools in the Ga West municipality said, “Many of the children only learn at school. They don’t study at home. Since we have been home, if you ask many of the students, they will tell you that they haven’t opened a book. And these are students preparing to write the BECE.”
For the first time in history, universities are forced to rely on technology to examine students. The pandemic has really affected education, to say the least. The pandemic has prevented the JHS and SHS students from writing their final examinations.
The online learning, though a good idea, is not being used effectively in this part of our world due to a number of challenges, including technology and availability. There are students who are not even allowed to use mobile phones in school and for that matter find it very difficult to study in times like this.
There is a learning programme on TV structured for these students to learn whilst at home, but I must say that most of these students either do not have access to TV sets or their relatives are watching other programmes on the same TV. How about the constant power eruptions?
When it comes to the university students, not all of them also have access to the internet because some are from the rural areas where internet connection is really poor and do not even enjoy social amenities like electricity. Meanwhile, some of these students will need to take examinations online for their end of semester assessment.
Moving forward, I will recommend that equal opportunities be given to all the students. This can be done through the use of the national television, which has a wider coverage. Also, teachers can be tasked to teach students privately at no fee since the academic calendar has not come to an end.
It is my hope that these new ways of life will be part and parcel of our everyday life and will be used subsequently.