Prof. Segun Ajiboye, the Registrar of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), says Africa must develop infrastructure to integrate technology into learning following lessons learnt from the COVID-19 experience.
Ajiboye stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday while speaking on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector.
The TRCN boss said the education sector was one of the worst-hit in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
He said this was because there were no preparations on how to sustain learning activities when the pandemic spread to the continent.
Ajiboye said the stay-at-home order due to the pandemic had affected the education of more than 1.5 million children and youths globally.
“In Nigeria and indeed Africa, we are badly affected because we were never prepared for this; we don’t have the infrastructure to be able to take care of this kind of situation.
“In some other climes, they were able to mitigate the impact of the pandemic using technology-mediated learning.
“Before the children were sent home, they were given laptops and the teachers have internet facilities and other applications they can use to teach their students during the lockdown.
“According to reports, it is only one-third of Africans that have access to the internet and that poses a big challenge.
“Even in Nigeria, just about 121 million Nigerians out of over 200 million have access, that is about 61 per cent actually have access to the internet,” Ajiboye said.
He noted further that the rural areas had bigger challenges in terms of technology-driven learning, adding that this must be addressed headlong.
Ajiboye, however, commended the move by the Federal Ministry of Education and state governments that had adopted television and radio to advance learning in recent time due to the pandemic.
The TRCN boss urged stakeholders to come together after the pandemic to rejig the whole architecture of Nigeria’s education system so as to make it technologically driven.
“It is now very clear that 21st-century education is not going to be one where teachers stand in front of the students to teach all the time.
“It is going to be a situation of what we call ‘Technology-Mediated Learning’ and this is the way to go.
“I believe very strongly that this current situation is an eye-opener for us and immediately after the pandemic, we will sit down as a country and chart a new course for our education system.
“In the areas of teachers’ preparation programmes in the universities and colleges of education, there must be the provision of facilities as well as training and retraining of our teachers,” he said.
Speaking on developments in the teachers’ registration programmes, Ajiboye said there would be an upscale in programmes and more teachers would be involved.
“We will make sure that primary, basic and post-basic teachers are involved and captured in the training programmes.
“Teachers will also be given laptops, they may have to pay for it instalmentally and it will be subsidised to make it accessible to all.
“We are going to expand the scope of our Digital Literacy Programme and include more teachers as well as provide them with technological devices that will aid teaching and learning,” Ajiboye said.