School closures likely to increase the disadvantage gap among students ― Dipo Awojide

School closures are likely to increase the disadvantage gap among students whose parents can afford resources for online learning and children from poor families that can’t. Therefore, state governments should do everything humanly possible to ensure that no child regardless of their background falls behind in their education during this pandemic.

Senior Lecturer in Strategy, Nottingham Business School and Founder of BTDT Hub, Dr Dipo Awojide, stated this during a Tweet chat with Nigerian Tribune on the topic: ‘Education, Jobs and the Nigerian Youth’ recently.

Responding to the question, “So many schools (primary, secondary) have taken to online studies. But so many children are from poor households that can’t afford data. What suggestions do you have for the education of these kids to be catered for?”

Dr Awojide tweeting via @OgeniDipo responded saying, “School closures are likely to widen the disadvantage gap, so state governments must intervene. State governments should do everything humanly possible to ensure that no child, whatever their background might be, falls behind in their education because of this pandemic.”

He added that “First, basic education is the responsibility of state governments. A few of them have created online modes of educating our kids.

“They can share resources and hard copy materials at Local Government Areas or even distribute to specific areas for parents to pick up.”

Advising parents, he said, “parents can pick educational materials on Mathematics, English Language, French, Basic Science & Technology, Pre-vocational studies, and Business Studies. These resources can last for up to 6-10 weeks, with parents delivering teaching to their kids at home.

“It is challenging for parents who work from home to do this, but one to three hours a day for children is fair. It is difficult, but we must do it. We cannot let our kids just remain at home doing nothing. Playing/watching TV is good, but we must also ensure that they learn.

“Second, some parents are not educated, so they are in no position to help their kids with home tutoring. State Governments must try to reach and help as many children and families as possible.”

Dr Awojide said, “State governments can identify the poorest kids and allow some of them (perhaps 30 per cent or 40 per cent of these kids) go to school at least once in a week.

“Children in Primary 1-3 can attend school once a week on Wednesdays while children in primary 4-6 attend on Thursdays. This can be replicated for secondary school students. I can share comprehensive policy ideas (free) on how this will work if consulted.”

The BTDT Hub founder added that the current situation “is a good time for us to reflect on the importance of having a database of all our school children at the state level. Where do they come from? Date of birth. Who are their parents? Family income? And all that sort of information.”

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