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COVID-19: Commission warns against neglecting poor students in digital education

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The Director General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, has warned against exclusion of indigent children in digital learning, saying doing so would mean creating trouble for the future of all.  

Oyeleye, who spoke at the inauguration of cheap affordable e-learning devices in partnership with the Ibironke Adeagbo Foundation (IAF) for students in the south west said it is to enable them continue learning from home and to ensure that no child is left behind in educational development despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

While handing over 55 units of the devices to the DAWN commission boss, a trustee of IAF, Mr. Diran Famakinwa, said about 20,000 of the digital devices loaded with data and syllabus had already been introduced to the Lagos State government to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oyeleye, while receiving the devices noted that only a few parents and students can afford data for digital education.

He said, “Our pupils have gone home for months. We realised suddenly that COVID-19 is not going to go tomorrow morning and we are not going to just put the kids at home without finding a way for them to continue to learn. We live in a part of the world where data for digital education is not that easy to come by. 

“We have to put on our thinking cap and see how we can move forward to make sure that our children at home are thoroughly educated.  We also have to make sure that coronavirus does not introduce a two-tier education. What do I mean by two-tier digital education?  A lot of private schools at the moment are doing their classes online because their parents have paid for it. The schools have the facilities and the parents too have the devices at home for education to continue, primary schools, even nursery schools some of them in Lagos are doing classes online.  We know, without deceiving ourselves that majority of our pupils don’t have that luxury.  Their parents cannot afford it.  Does that mean we then neglect them?  No, because if we do, we are neglecting the future. So at DAWN commission, our job is to think critically, even for the states,” Oyeleye added.
  
He disclosed that Adeagbo, who conceived the idea in order to bridge the gap between the western world and Nigeria in the education sector, was poised to co-opt the governors of Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun, to buy into the idea so that other students aside the SS3 and JS3 who are being prepared to write their terminal examinations, are not left behind in their studies.


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