EFFECT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON STUDENT’S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE
In Nigeria, the Federal government announced the indefinite postponement of the 2020 West African Examination Council and the National Examinations Council (NECO) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation is depressing. The statistics are scary and the consequences are severe. The numbers are unprecedented and the implications are enormous. Never before have so many children and youths been out of school at the same time. The consequences are better imagined.
Even before the current closure of schools, the world was already experiencing a global learning crisis, as many students, who, even while the school system was in full swing, were not learning the fundamental skills needed for life,(World Bank 2020).The closure of schools has now further compounded the situation with remarkable impacts on students, teachers, families and far-reaching economic and social consequences.
In many countries like Nigeria, poor children rely on the school feeding system for their only meal for the day. But with schools now forced to close, millions of children are missing out on these meals.
Many social vices are associated with youths not actively engaged in schooling. Children and youths who are not in school are more susceptible to social vices such as alcoholism, substance abuse and other forms of criminal activities. Early marriage and child labour are also some of the consequences of school closures.
In an attempt to positively engage the children and also ensure that they are not left behind in their learning journey, many countries including Nigeria have adopted online teaching and learning, using radio, television and internet solutions to support access to education.
In order to provide another window for learning, UNESCO through its COVID-19 Education response, floated a platform tagged Learning Never Stops, to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youths during this period of sudden disruption in the school system.
Recently, the Ministry of Education in Nigeria uploaded on its website electronic learning resources and education chat rooms for the thirty-six states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory, for continuing education and individualized learning for children at home.
Laudable as these initiatives appear, they cannot be compared to classroom based instructions and the benefit to the very poor children who rely on schools not only for education, but also for food, healthcare and safety.
Moreover, these efforts may not achieve the set objectives, given the limited access of poor children to television, electricity, internet and other equipment needed to take advantage of the e-learning platforms.