ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECT OF COVID 19 ON PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA
The outbreak of Coronavirus negatively affected educational activities worldwide. The coronavirus pandemic affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the widespread closures of schools (Wikipedia, 2020b). It created serious disruptions in academic activities, as well as in career plans. As part of the global efforts to combat COVID-19, many countries across the world closed down schools in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) monitoring, over 100 countries implemented nationwide closures, impacting over half of the world’s student population (UNESCO, 2020a). Even Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson – one of those who earlier opposed the move, later admitted that “closing down schools could place further downward pressure on the upward curve of the Coronavirus outbreak”(ABC News, 2020). Some of the countries that closed down schools due to COVID-19 include, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, China, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Japan, Iran, USA, France, Spain, Italy, North and South Korea, Lebanon, Vietnam, Thailand, Germany, and South Korea just to mention but a few. School closures carry high social, educational and economic costs, and the disruptions they cause touch people across communities, but their impact is particularly severe for disadvantaged persons and their families (UNESCO, 2020b).
The disruption caused by COVID-19 in the educational sector may last longer than expected if a more reliable solution for coronavirus is not found on time, and the spread of the disease continues. UNESCO Director-General, Andrey Azoulayals cited by VOA News (2020), warned that “the global scale and speed of the educational disruption due to coronavirus is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education”. No doubts, unplanned school closures can cause severe problems for students, educators, parents and the society at large. It could negatively affect the academic interest and performance of students. If the students are not engaged productively, it could lead to idleness which might result in youth involvement in crimes, loss of interest in learning, and poor academic performance. The US Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) also expressed concerns about the implications of school closures. According to the CDC, “longer closures may result in more students congregating outside of schools. Quentin (2014), states that school closing is very controversial, and it can have spillover effects on a large number of students in receiving schools. It can affect the quality of teaching and learning and academic achievement particularly for students with special needs or those with learning difficulties that often requires more physical attention and guidance from the teachers. Though, technology can be used to remedy some of the fallouts from school closures, but it cannot replace the important effect of face-to-face
interactions by students and teachers. Besides, many students do not have the necessary access to supportive technologies which makes it harder to maximize the potentials of learning technology during school closures. However, against all odds, mathematical model and empirical analysis of reactive closures of schools in past pandemics indicates that it reduces the total number of cases in the community by 25 percent and postpones the peak of the pandemic by a week or two, while proactive closures of school during pandemics remains one of the most beneficial interventions that can be employed to mitigate the impact of epidemic disease (Erika and Nicholas, 2020).