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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

PROVIDE ENABLEMENT FOR THE VIRTUAL LEARNING INITIATIVE- NANS TELLS FG






In the light of the resolve made by the Minister of Education on Thursday, 2nd of April, 2020 during the teleconference with Heads of tertiary institutions across the country, issuing directives that Nigerian students should officially resume their academic works virtually i.e virtual learning, during this COVID-19 period.

The leadership of NANS South West Zone under the leadership of Comrade Kappo Samuel Olawale likes to applaud the proactive measure of the ministry and school managements to cushion the effect of the pandemic break on the academic life of Nigerian students and calendar of schools. 
We however demand that proper enablement be provided for all students if the initiative would be practicable.

Actually, this response is a proof that the cry of the students body to order reopening of schools is heard and is being addressed by the concerned authorities. This is seen as continuance of the initiative that is been adopted by a host of Southwestern state governments to ensure that basic and secondary school students continues to learn while staying at home through the digital classes being aired on television and radio at scheduled intervals. However, bearing the reality of our country in mind, virtual learning may be ineffective or totally unachievable if proper provisions and enablement are not put in place to help the initiative. 

To say virtual learning here means students should use their smart phones, computers and other Internet aided digital communication gadgets to attend online classes. Hence, students will be needing uninterrupted supply of power and Internet subscriptions to access the virtual classes. 

For the obvious constraint on the finances of the masses during this lockdown, how will Nigerian Students pay for Internet subscriptions and also keep their gadgets powered when the power supply is crippled?

To this end, NANS South West Zone demands that the FG is expected to compel, liaise and instruct various telecommunication operators or companies through the Minister of Communication to provide free and unlimited Internet access (subscription) for all Nigerian students for the next three months.

Efforts should also be made to ensure bill free and constant uninterrupted power supply by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and other private owned power holding companies throughout this trying period if the Federal Government wants to make positive efforts to Nigerian Students via e-Learning.

It should also be noted that hundred percent attendance in classes cannot be recorded through this virtual medium. Management of schools should therefore employ the most realistic flexible models of holding classes so that majority of their students can benefit. Concession should also be given to the students who are inevitably disadvantaged by the virtual learning initiative. There are students living in the most remote parts of the country where they neither have access to the internet nor are reached by power supply. There are other students who do not have smartphones or computers at all. Cyber cafés which would have been ready options are also part of the lockdown. 

Above all, the government should consider the unanticipated contingency of the COVID-19 outbreak as a lesson to generally develop the country and its citizen so that such contingency in the future will not render the nation as handicapped at it is. Our government should follow the world as it grows technologically. 

They should pay more attention to development of human resources and intensive education of Nigerians on the use of computers and computer aided gadgets.
The federal government should note that the interest of  Nigerian Students at all levels in the country is paramount and must not be jeopardized.

_Education is a Right, not a Privilege._


e-Signed:
COMRADE KAPPO SAMUEL OLAWALE
COORDINATOR,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS (NANS),
SOUTH WEST ZONE (NANS ZONE D).

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