COVID-19 lockdown: GSM service providers emerge gainers as schools move online

Almost every sector of the economy is/was shut down for COVID-19 to be caged. But the GSM service providers, along side the power sector ‘ganged’ up against suffering Nigerians to emerge winners.
Analysts say, because of the lock down, most people relied on mobile calls and data to know what is happening on the other side of the divide. This, they say brought about the ‘ables’ telling those without data or call credit what is happening or not.
To add to the pains, most schools came out with e-class, to keep their students on track. An innovation that carried the haves not and ‘big men’ along irrespective of class to ensure their wards are not left out.
Joel Amagada, a social analyst in Lagos said, this led to a situation where class merged at the detriment of some, while the education authorities looked the other way.
The inequality gap in the society was further been widened by the introduction of online lessons for pupils who have been forced to stay at home following the closure of schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new initiative allows only those with access to digital learning resources will keep learning in the comfort of their homes while those without access, who are in majority are left behind.
According to UNESCO, an estimated 1.725 billion learners have been affected as a result of school closures, representing about 99.9 per cent of the world’s student population as of April 13th, 2020.
As pleasant as this solution is, it is said that students from under-served low-income communities will be left out and unable to access learning during this period.
A teacher with a private school in Alimosho area of Lagos state, Miss Jumoke Philips, noted that though it comes with at a cost because of the gadgets involved, it will be quite beneficial to the pupils instead of just staying at home and doing nothing.
“They attend each class like in the normal school schedule. They have been given the timetable so they know when each class starts and ends,” she said.
But reacting, a parent, Kingsley Okpeke, told Blueprint that he has two children attending such online classes, noting that he is paying through his nose to maintain the children in the class.
“I paid N15, 000 per month for each child, apart from internet subscription in one of the telecommunication companies, as well provision for fuel should in case electricity companies take light, which was quite often.
“Averagely, I pay around N35, 000 for both children, yet I still don’t understand what they are teaching this kids,” he added.
Recounting her experience, a parent, Mrs. Mosunwola Akinola, said the major obstacle initially encountered was the issue with network providers’ as data are usually epileptic and always frustrating.
“Now, we subscribe with N10, 000, which gives about 40gig & it lasts for just nine days. So far, that is how we have been coping with the kids’ online classes in this lockdown. We pray that God will heal our land shortly.”
Another parent who simply identified herself as Ngozi, said she is not a fan of online because of some challenges. “First, the students may not be opportune to ask questions to their teachers; actual learning is hindered as there is no face-to-face interaction; also teachers cannot teach as much as they would like to because there is a limit to what the teacher can say over the internet.
According to the Head of School (HOS) of Modern Pace Group of schools, Abesan Estate in Mosan-Okunola LCDA, Mr. Ajayi Babafemi, the school is making use of the already existing education portal on its website.
“Every class has its own menu on the portal. So the teachers prepared their sessions via power-point presentation and these were uploaded on the portal. And every child in our school already has their email, so we sent a mail with a password to their parents urging them to go to the website and download the children’s work and get them to do the work.”
Speaking on the challenges and sustainability, Babafemi said is uncertainty sustainability, especially as it affects teacher’s salary, “but we are already engaging our parents. We sent out an e-survey last Friday, expecting their feedback, this is our second week in the online lesson; by the third week we will know our parents’ stand, if they really want us to continue, after which we discuss terms and conditions.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *