In a live community chat on Instagram TV, Edtech startup ScholarX took a timeout with its community of teachers and stakeholders in educational institutions. The conversation centered on the effects of the COVID-19 on education.
For this chat, founder of Talent Mine Academy, Aramide Akintimehin joined the CEO of ScholarX, Bola Lawal, as guest. Aramide is also a fellow of Teach For Nigeria. Her organisation, Talent Mine Academy, started in Ota, Ogun state after she noticed that some children did not go to school because parents could not afford the subsidized dues of a public school.
Giving an inside look into her background, Aramide, an alumnus of Covenant University, expressed her dissatisfaction with how teaching took place in schools. This was before she joined Teach For Nigeria as a graduate teaching in a public school. This was a major motivation for founding Talent Mine Academy.
As the chat unfolded, here were the major takeaways.
Human capital not fully developed
Before launching into the challenges that the educational system is facing as a result of the pandemic, Aramide clarified that the more general problem of the system is in human capital.
According to her, the human capital of the educational sector is not well-developed and this trickles down to the quality of education that the students receive.
In many cases, this makes students develop the wrong mindset about education. She gave the example of children she had taught in the rural area who previously wanted to become mechanics, vulcanizers, with one sharing that he wanted to become a yahoo boy (fraudster).
According to her, the children had these miniature dreams for two reasons. One is that the people they looked up to in their immediate environment only had these skills, and so it appeared as if that was the best they could be too.
The other reason is that they did not have teachers who were interested enough to try and help them have an elevated perspective beyond what was obtainable in their surroundings.
By bringing other people from similar backgrounds with the children to share their experiences of growth and achievements with them, she was able to help the children dream a little bigger and strive to attain more.
Using Talent Mine Academy as the case study, the live chat moved on to discuss the challenges being faced as a result of the pandemic.
Poor access to remote learning technology
The Academy which provides quality education to children whose parents cannot afford it has not been able to physically continue its educational activities with its students. The effects are particularly harsher on the pupils of the Academy, as they are children with relatively no access to smartphones. Therefore, online or remote learning cannot be applied to this situation.
The digital divide between pupils like those of Talent Mine Academy and other urban areas has always been there, the effects of the pandemic only served to emphasize it.
Another of the challenge is that most parents in the rural areas and most parts of Nigeria operate a hand-to-mouth lifestyle. They have to go out and work daily so as to get money for food. This, in turn, means that most of these parents do not place a premium on education because of the pressing need to survive.
As a result, the children do not have the access to quality education that their peers have, and in some cases, this translates to poor learning experiences.
This means that the pupils may not have been able to grasp academic concepts easily when they were attending physical schools. Remote learning through radio and other forms, even if they can be accessed, would, therefore, prove inefficient with these children.
Technology is the future
The future of education is technology. However, if people cannot access that technology then it will still be a case of running in circles.
Rounding up the chat, Bola Lawal and Aramide both emphasized collaboration in the private sector as a way to ensure that the challenges in the educational sector are tackled and solved. When the Government sees that something of impact is being done, it will recognize it, and want to be a part of it.
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