As state governments across the country proceed to enforce lockdowns due to Covid-19, Ogun State government has provided a temporary solution to help its pupils stay sharp educationally while they stay at home.
The government issued a directive that the students in the state would be provided with tele-tutoring at certain hours of the day. This announcement also shared on Twitter by the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, enjoined the students to tune in to the state’s local television station for the lessons.
What are the challenges to this?
While this is a laudable approach, and is definitely better than none, there are certain factors that question the effectiveness of this initiative.
One is the diversity of the pupils themselves. According to the announcement, the tutoring on Television is for primary and secondary school pupils, however, the educational needs of these sets of people vary from class to class.
It is not clear, from the Ogundigiclass website, whether there is a timetable that lets the pupils know which category of students is expected to tune in on which day, what time and what to expect. What is clear, however, is that the sessions will hold from 9am and 11am and also from 1pm to 2pm.
Indicators from the Federal Ministry of Education in 2016 put the number of Junior Secondary school students in Ogun state to be 268,707 while the Senior Secondary students were 232,494. Primary school pupils amounted to 990,217 in total. These figures are expected to have increased significantly in 2019.
The pupils are spread across the rural and urban areas of the state. However, electricity supply would be a major problem which would be more pronounced in rural areas. So how would the government ensure that, apart from broadcasting the OgunDigiClass, students are actually watching it?
As suggested, a possible solution to this challenge might be for the state government to strike a deal with the IBEDC to ensure power stability across the state in the three hours the OgunDigiClass would run. Another method would be to adjust the programme timing to fit the times of day when the most parts of the state have power.
OgunDigiClass on internet and radio
While the effectiveness of the programme has been hampered by poor power supply for the 2 days that the initiative has run, there is, however, there is a general session that is uploaded to the website. This brings about the question of internet connectivity.
As of 2019, Ogun state has the second highest number of internet subscribers in Nigeria. There were 7.4 million subscribers from the state. While this isn’t a very enviable figure, it does indicate that making OgunDigiClass tutorials available on the website might be a good way of increasing the effectiveness of the initiative.
To further improve the effectiveness of this move, having radio alternatives to the tele-tutoring will go a long way in making sure the programme reaches a lot more people. This will be effective for students in rural areas where power and unstable TV signals are the realities.
Radio sets do not necessarily depend on electricity supply before they can be utilised. While this will not give the visual experience associated with television, it will go a long way in making the initiative more productive.
The OgunDigiClass programme is a most welcome idea at this time. As coronavirus is rampaging through our country, our children’s education don’t need to be on hold as we combat it.
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