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‘How we are coping with schools’ shutdown’


Precisely on February 27 this year, the first case of Corona Virus (COVID-19) was reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China last year. This development adversely affected all sectors of the economy. From banking to agriculture, oil and gas sector— the stories are all the same. Oil prices, for instance recently crashed in the international market to $26.25 per barrel. While the nation’s 2020 budget benchmark for crude oil has been adjusted from $50 to $30 a barrel putting the country’s public finances under severe strain.

This development made President Muhammadu Buhari on March 29, announced a 14-day shutdown of businesses, economic and social activities in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. 

According to the President, “Based on the advice of the federal ministry of health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), I am directing the ceasation of all movements in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 pm on Monday, March 30, 2020.”

The education sector is not left out as the Federal Government, as part of a precautionary move aimed at curtailing the spread of the Corona Virus directed all 104 unity schools to close on or before March 26, 2020. All the principals of the various colleges were asked by the education minister, Adamu Adamu to fasttrack the second term examination, which was ongoing at the time until further notice.


As part of his directive, the minister expected that the management of all the unity colleges would as a matter of urgency activate the necessary emergency procedures and processes such as the provision of alcohol-based sanitisers and hand washing facilities among others. In addition to these, the students are expected to strictly adhere to the principles and best practices of good hygiene.

Similarly in Lagos, officials of Lagos State government announced that public and private schools as part of the preventive measures against the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic be closed down.

The state commissioner for education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, also disclosed that the move by the state to close schools became necessary to prevent children and their teachers from getting infected.

She said it was important for parents to ensure that their children practise “social distancing” while at home, wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitisers and observe high standards of personal hygiene, adding that children should be encouraged to remain at home.

Even the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) was suspended across Nigeria and Anglophone countries due to the threat of COVID-19. Students have been required to vacate schools, uncertain when they will return to resume learning.


But how have parents been coping with their children in the area of their academics since the beginning of the lockdown?
In an interview with The Guardian, senior lecturer, department of mass communication, University of Ilorin Dr. Kehinde Kadiri said he relies on private tutor who comes around to teach him. This is in addition to reading storybooks and watching educative programmes on YouTube.

Similarly, deputy registrar/ head of public relations, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) Nduibueze Ejiofor said keeping the children busy and not too far from their book at this auspicious time of COVID-19 lockdown has been a daunting task for him.

I have four young kids in secondary school. Since the closure of their school, I have taken control of the remote control to reduce access of television. I have tried and repeatedly maintained this culture since the beginning of the lockdown. It has not been easy especially if you have restless and hyperactive children.

In a similar vein, News Editor Radio UNILAG, Lydia Enyidiya Eke said her children have been learning online.“ We also have a DSTV channel where they teach children and I also give them some work to do. I had to stop their home tutor from coming because of COVID-19 outbreak. I also engage them myself by giving them work to do. There is also a WhatsApp platform where their teachers send work to be done at home.


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