Behold! The New Face of Academic Excellence (2)

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Nearly every business sector is affected by the COVID19 pandemic, but the education sector has more hits. In the past few weeks, I have received calls and chat with a few numbers of proprietors in some of the schools around me and beyond. Our discussion you guess right is centred on virtual classroom or digital learning. It’s so unfortunate that neither the parents nor the school managements will be able to afford the digital learning for now.


As you may have known that I work to influence the environmental challenges in low-income communities to developing potentials, and in a period of 5 weeks between February to March 2020, before the lockdown, our digital skills initiative for career, business, and community development have reached 7 secondary schools and over 1200 Teenagers/Youths through ERAAfrica.

 

Apart from spending the majority of my life and engaged in digital skills training and service business for 9 years within the low-income communities, the ERAAfrica initiative to give people within such communities across Africa a new hope has further given me an insight on how critical the situation is and in conclusion anyone who manage to excel from such communities surely fought several battles.


Also read: Behold! The New Face of Academic Excellence


Possibility and Affordability of Digital Learning

For school owners or potentials that are ready to invest their resources in terms of training and infrastructures will find digital learning cost-effective and profitable but that heavily depends on the ability of their customers (parents) to afford it.

 

This issue is tenable within the affluent communities but as for the low-income communities, it is not visible. It is one thing to afford devices it is another thing to continuously pay for internet subscriptions to access the lectures.

 

It will also cost a fortune if the school managements will have to go on online real-time (webinar) compare to a recorded version

 

There are many reasons digital learning will be unaffordable in Nigeria and maybe Africa as a whole as we glance through in the previous edition of this article, on top of the list is internet access and electricity.

 

  •  Internet Access: Internet subscription is still on the high rate in Nigeria and many African Countries, although there may likely be a turning point as the situation is forcing digitization of our activities most especially education. This change if not initiated by existing players in the industry will be forced by new entrants.
  • Electricity: Could our governments characterized by corruption gear up to this demand, I still can predict but my concern is if the conspiracy theory as suggested by experts during the advent of academic education during the industrial revolution will also be part of the game in this digital revolution since digital technology will create an equal ground for both rich and the poor.

 

Whether the government works towards the possibility and affordability of digital learning or not, in as much there is no policy against free enterprise providing solutions to make it possible and affordable, there will surely be new opportunities for those who are ready to make it work.


 Also Read: The Financial Implications of Education

Opportunities and Threats of Digital Learning

I believe that teaching, as well as marketing is one of the prominent professions of the digital age but this opinion does not apply to classroom teachers because digital learning is a threat to their source of income if they are not ready to upskills themselves to meet up.

 

Majority schools in the adoption of digital learning will go for the recorded version signifying less requirement if at all they need for classroom teachers. This will give the gigs economy system to thrive within the education sector. Meaning a few good subjects teachers and smart enough will be earning it big if they are good in marketing their skills

 

I have presumably discussed above the opportunities available for those who will make available affordable data (internet subscription) and electricity if government policy is not in place to fight that. Apart from that threat and opportunity of digital learning is that there will be;

 

New Schools

I’ve been there before, before the digitization, any competent computer schools/institutions as well know cannot teach computer literacy or any other advanced application without making available the facilities (Computer Systems). Our present school system works on making available the classrooms, furniture and fittings and teachers, but the new school system in addition to those facilities will have to make available besides computer systems, the internet, and electricity.

 

The new school systems of the digital age will be in four categories;

  1. The virtual real-time where students can access class anywhere with their devices connected to the internet. This digital learning system will be costly and may not work for basic schools. Apart from the cost of data and electricity, there will be a need for monitoring as the parent may need to employ someone for that role. If at all any basic school will adopt this system, it will not be among the poor and middle-class communities because every parent will need to have his mini school at home to make it work.
  2. Fully digitalize where the school makes available all the facilities including the computer systems and internet and ready to supply power from the opening and closing of the school every day. The student only comes to the school; sit in front of their systems and listening to the lectures with one or two coordinators in a class which must be tech-savvy.
  3. Partially digital with a personal computer system will be those schools that want the student to compulsorily have their laptop and must come to school with it every day. In each classroom, there will be a computer system attached to a large screen monitor or projector to play each subject for the students. Students are to note on laptops and have access to the previous lectures for further studies at home.
  4.  As for Partially digital without personal system school systems, students will still have to use their notebooks and pen to jot and take note, the student doesn't need to have their laptop. But like the partially with the personal computer system, each classroom will have a computer system attached to a large screen monitor or projector to play each subject for the students. Here students should also have access to the softcopy or hardcopy of the lectures for further studies at home.

Also Read: Education we are proud of

Whichever system any school decided to use, assignments, tests, and examinations should be digital. This means even if you decided to go for full or partial digital new school systems, the need for a digital lab is inevitable.

 

If your ideology of digital learning is to shift the major part of the process to the parents for basic education, your dream is just for 5% of the population if you can access it.

 

The Big Players

Looking at the cost implication of making available the lectures in the new school system that will evolve, it is likely many schools will be operating accessing lectures on subscriptions from big institutions that are ready to make the lectures available and ready to keep updating it.

 

This is another opportunity that will be available in the digitization of our education.

 

All this will only be possible after the COVID19 war but the wise one will get prepare ahead of time.

 

To be continued ……

 

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