The outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic which led to lockdowns, emergency health and food crisis, loss of lives amongst other things has crippled economies across the globe.
The education sector is a major area the pandemic has dealt a blow to. Around the world, governments closed down schools in order to keep children and teachers safe as they all grapple to overcome the health emergency the world has found itself in.
In developed nations, school gates were closed but that did not stop academic activities.
However, in most African countries, which includes Nigeria, the closure of school gates led to the abrupt end of academic activities in most schools at all levels of learning.
Hence, while our children are ‘enjoying COVID-19 holidays’, their counterparts in other parts of the world continued learning and have made progress.
They are able to achieve this feat because they have earlier integrated virtual learning into their educational curricular.
While many individuals may have divergent views about why we as a country have not been able to achieve same feat as other countries, it is obvious that as a nation we had not invested adequately in education and technology within and outside our schools.
That is why once our school gates closed, academic activities ended in most schools.
With about two months gone in the school calendar and nothing tangible achieved, a number of state and private schools have embarked on television and radio lessons, with some states even venturing into e-learning.
Also, a number of the private schools across the country have embarked on the use of virtual tools to continue learning even as they brush their way through various challenges ranging from lack of adequate power supply, poor internet access, high cost of data, lack of capacity amongst teachers, parents, etc.
Aside these challenges, most private schools are saddled with the challenge of how to keep up with the cost of other adopted means of teaching (e.g. the virtual learning) and how to pay their staff: both academic and admin.
These challenges and much more have led to the call to reopen schools.
This brings me to the crux of the matter in question – what is the cost of reopening our schools in the face of the pandemic without a cure or vaccine? To better understand the cost of reopening our schools, we may need to consider some various points of concern in the value chain.
These various points of concern of sending our children to school and having them back home must be thoroughly x-rayed to guide our estimation of the cost involved in the of reopening schools.