Stakeholders in the educational sector have called on the government to set up structures that would help improve Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), in education during the lockdown and post COVID-19 era.
The call was made during the third-part of the webinar series of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), titled: “Re-opening: Insight Series for NAPPS FCT Schools”.
The virtual training and workshop series scheduled to hold throughout July is aimed at empowering its members on schools re-opening strategies in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the panelists, Dr Akin Fapohunda, an educationist, urged the government to adopt a laptop-per-child policy as a practical response to the ongoing lockdown of schools.
“ Government should look at approaches that would improve the public and private educational sector especially during periods like this,’’ he said.
He also called on the government to embark on the establishment of a laptop manufacturing plant and a solar panel project.
“ The establishment of a laptop manufacturing plant and a local assembly of solar panels are to cater to the IT and electricity needs of students and teachers.
“ Government should also direct agencies to provide free bandwidth for school children all over the country,’’ he said.
Fapohunda also called on the government to rethink its decision on the cancellation of the West African School Certificate Examinations for year 2020.
He said the exams could be rescheduled for the month of September or October, in a special arrangement, in adherence to COVID-19 safety measures.
He added that it was very important for the government to bridge the gap by carrying private school owners along in its decisions and policy making plans.
“ in the FCT, we have about 104 federal government schools, while we have over 30,000 private schools. So, it is only good that the government invites private school owners as part of its decision making body,’’ he said.
A behavioural change expert, Sam Obafemi, urged school owners to adopt alternative approaches to home schooling for the lockdown.
He advised participants on how to improve on logistics with school children in mind which could help in increased revenue.
According to him, the government ought to be crisis ready at all times as crisis is a seasonal phenomenon that affects all areas of life.
He said schools should look at developing apps that could help them cope with unforeseen crisis and make it withstand being short term expensive and long term affordable.
In her remarks, Mrs Samira Jibir, the Proprietor of Glisten International School, Jahi, Abuja, advised schools to be disruptive with their method of teaching due to the pandemic.
Jibir said gone were the days when there was a particular way of doing things in the educational sector.
She urged all school owners to adopt a personal approach of blended learning that would benefit their learning spaces as they battled with the uncertainties ahead.
The president of NAPPS FCT chapter, Mrs Olusola Bankole, said it was very important for the government to encourage teachers to subscribe to online classes.
She reiterated that the association had embarked on corporate social responsibilities to schools in and around the FCT.
She said the association had also provided handwashing stations and infrared thermometers at subsidised rates to its members.
She disclosed that about 100 teachers and principals from public schools were part of the ongoing training.
Bankole also urged private school owners to reach out to public schools around them to see how they could be of help to them after the lockdown.
NAN reports that no fewer than 300 teachers and proprietors from FCT and neighboring states were trained on modalities to adopt for schools reopening after the lockdown.
Almost 100 teachers and principals from government owned schools and institutions were part of the training.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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