Over the last couple of months, the impact of an alien virus has greatly been felt in all aspects of life.
One such field that has been affected to the core is the educational sector.
For weeks, domestic and international newspapers, online news portals, television, and radio news outlets both known and unknown were bombarded with issues of Covid-19, mostly with talks around containing and championing the aftermaths of the virus.
Again, perhaps second to saving lives and mitigating a further spread, safeguarding the intellectual future of nations was an integral part of panel discussions, state interventions and decisions as well as regular conversations amongst ordinary citizens.
Following the new course of everyday lifestyle and the apparent adaptation of several means and methods of living under extreme conditions courtesy of the novel virus, academic players have turned to technology as the only resort to maintaining a level of continuity and smooth running of institutions.
UNESCO reports that the virus has impacted over 60% of the world’s student population whereas statistics from United Nations in Ghana says some 9.2 million basic school students (kindergarten, primary and junior high schools) and 0.5 million tertiary education students were affected most especially because of government’s decisions to call educational institutions to a temporary standstill.
Quite obviously, the swift change from teaching and learning in classrooms and lecture halls to online platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom does put developing countries at a huge disadvantage as against giants like Italy, United States of America and China, though these countries might have recorded the largest number of cases worldwide.
Some 12 weeks after the first two cases of Covid-19 was imported into the country, the holy question on the lips of concerned leaders and responsible adults is “what improvements have the face of local education seen, towards the accommodation of student sentiments and pleas?”.
It is quite inapt to note though that, the outcry amongst students since online studies were introduced into the system, remains the same, if not maximized, particularly because assumed means for academic purposes have either proved ineffective or burdensome.
Albeit inconvenient, likely attributed to the inexperience amongst Ghanaian students and the lack of available equipment to institutional heads, e-education presents a flawless public façade of indispensability.
One Mr. Dominic Asitanga, a Masters graduate of the Ghana Institute of Journalism opines that “a positive of online studies is its provision of options in fast tracking the way hitherto, technology would have been embraced in the education sector, hence the rethinking of certain educational strategies for the advancement of teaching and learning in difficult times.
“But the deficiency however is the wide gap between the haves and the have nots, particularly in the case where developing countries are mostly characterised and dominated by people who fall within the grips of poverty and actually cannot afford these technologies, most importantly internet.
This invalidates the blessings of e-learning and makes it a lurking danger because then, accessibility to adequate technology becomes a preserve of a select few who have the means”.
It would totally be ill-considered to be of the judgment that institutional heads and the government haven’t necessarily considered these thoughts, with credits given to their decision to ease restrictions on final year students of the various educational levels in preparation for imminent examinations and tests.
This notwithstanding doesn’t warrant the obvious neglect for voices advocating for the disadvantaged in the face of virtual classes. This comes on the back of evident stagnancy within the space of 84 days, with little or no educational material.
As at now, the fate of our world is unknown, and whether or not the intellectual future of the country would be sustained is totally contingent on our envisionment of an indiscriminatory means of online teaching and learning; a service that collectively addresses the needs of the rich and the poor.
One such considerable factor is collaborations with service providers to make readily available student-friendly data bundle options that drive teaching and learning only.
Another equally effective means could be imploring computer engineering students nationwide with the task of forging a network of platforms that allow easy access to prescribed
The writer, Kingsley A. Doe is an intern with JoyNews.
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