COVID-19: Impending Situation Threatens to Deepen Nigeria's Education Crisis
The past few weeks have ushered in a range of government sanctioned and structure-shifting risk-control directives across Nigeria and the Globe, in an attempt to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19. From international airport closures, to a nationwide closure of all schools, and now, a two-week lockdown of three major states - Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, the ramifications from the slowdown/shutdown of economic activity are poised to be severe for Nigeria. It is especially critical, because in the backdrop of COVID-19, the global economic crisis and the recent slump in oil prices are further expected to intensify the impending economic crises, and create sharp shocks that will reshape the economy in the near term.For an already fragile education system, the COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges on the government, students, and parents, that will highlight and could amplify some of the cracks in the system. As the nation begins to grapple with these challenges, a key question arises: Is the Nigerian education system designed to adapt rapidly to the changing world? Given the state of affairs in the world today, the nation’s ability to ensure continuation of learning will depend largely on their ability to swiftly harness available technology, provide adequate infrastructure, and mobilize stakeholders to prepare alternative learning programs. In this piece, we examine some of the immediate and long-term impacts of the closures, and proffering suggestions as to how the government can mitigate these consequences. Additionally, we are looking towards the future, and making prescriptions for how they might turn this disruptive crisis into an opportunity to address several of its pre-pandemic supply side education problems.