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Okebukola, others advise parents on home tutoring amid schools’ closure

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
21 May 2020   |   3:13 am
As schools globally remain shut following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission

As schools globally remain shut following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Peter Okebukola has enjoined parents to embrace home tutoring to keep their wards abreast of their studies.

This, according to the distinguished professor would keep children on track and flow seamlessly with the provision of the syllabus rather than get them academically engaged with topics with tangential and doubtful relevance to the school curriculum.

Okebukola who shared some views on how parents can keep their wards busy during this lockdown said, “Parents must have to work with the authorities of the school their children are attending. This is easier with private schools; less so with public schools. Regardless of school ownership, parents who can afford data for their phones should request the headteacher or principal or specific subject teachers for the syllabus sent through WhatsApp or as an email attachment.

Armed with the syllabus, parents should work out a timetable for home tutoring. For the many parents especially in rural areas notably farmers and petty traders who cannot afford the luxury of smartphones, they should seek the assistance of the village head or persons in the vicinity including the village teacher in procuring the syllabus. 

He also urged parents to develop a home school timetable that will run almost like that of the school.” “This time, instead of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 9 a.m. to 12 noon with a few breaks is ideal. It is necessary to approximate the school timetable (obtainable from their children) so as not to distort the daily rhythm of their children in a regular school day. Putting on the school uniform on some of the days will not be a bad idea.”

On the possibility of deficiency in children learning capacity, the don said, “We have postulated a hypothesis that points to such deficiency occurring. My research team at Lagos State University (LASU) has started work in this area. We are testing the hypothesis that the senior school certificate examinations that will be conducted when the lockdown is over, will record a lower level of performance especially by students in the rural areas.

Our assumptions are that students not being in school will depress knowledge and skills acquisition, motivation and attitude to schoolwork; depress opportunity to learn through after school tutoring, and elevate the impact of the long-stay-out-of-school syndrome. We also assume that the examination bodies will maintain the same standard of questions pre and post lockdown and the incidence of examination malpractice will not surge post lockdown.”

A media practitioner, Mr Wahab Abdullah noted that the closure of schools across the country will no doubt have a negative effect on the nation’s educational system. He said, “It is pertinent to note that whenever there is an abrupt disruption in any system, definitely it will bring some retrogression to the entire system. Already, Abdullah said there are several challenges confronting the sector, which stakeholders are battling to resolve  With the disruption in the academic system, Abdullah lamented that the students’ performance would be affected.

“For instance, there are modules prepared to follow, it is obvious that the majority, except some few schools, were able to conclude theirs before the forceful holiday. The only solution is for parents to monitor these children and not allow them to play away their time by engaging them thoroughly to study at home.

For instance, they can draw study timetable for them or make them adopt their class timetable for studying. “Also, the government must be ready to adjust the academic calendar moment academic works resume. This will enable the students or children to fill in the lost gaps.”