Education is one of the systems that received a blow from the novel Coronavirus. The virus which was first recorded on 27 February 2020 in Nigeria, had forced the federal government to close down all the educational institutions in the country. Though the closure was meant for one month, the rising cases of Coronavirus had made it last over four months.
It could be remembered that the federal government had recently ordered the partial reopening of schools on 4th of August, 2020 for the exit classes to write their final examinations. The move is indeed a step in the right direction as it indicates a gradual process of reopening of all schools in the country.
What did we learn from the coronavirus?
The coronavirus has indeed revealed the weaknesses of our educational system. If these weaknesses not are studied and addressed, Nigeria will find it difficult to grow as fast as possible. This is because no nation can be great or rise above the quality of its educational system.
Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. There is no doubt education enriches people’s understanding of themselves and the world. It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society. Education raises people’s productivity and creativity and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances. In addition, it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution.
However, education in Nigeria has not achieved a lot in raising people’s productivity, entrepreneurship and technological advances. This is because the system focused more on theory instead of the practical aspect. This notion must undergo total overhaul if Nigeria really wants to be one of the developed countries in the world.
In my own view, feeding students with the theoretical aspect of their courses of study for 70% to 90% at the expense of practicals will definitely affect not only the student but the educational system and the country at large. The fact is that these students will not be able to contribute positively to the society as the theories they are acquiring in school is capable of being varnished months after graduation. This is dangerous especially looking at the fact that they have no practical knowledge to become productive and/or independent.
If Nigeria’s system of education was well-grounded on practicals not theories, our students would have been at the forefront in the fight against the novel Coronavirus by inventing ventilators, testing kits, masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, and other personal protective equipment and medical devices as well as embarking on research to find the cure of the coronavirus.
Therefore, Nigeria must emulate countries like England, America, Germany, Japan and China by prioritizing the practical knowledge of students (what they can offer after graduation) not their certificates.
God bless Nigeria!
Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol,
Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano