Ebonyi boosts e-learning programme through provision of computers, internets to hinterlands-By Reginald Okoro

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Gov Dave Umahi

Ebonyi government says it will boost and expand the current e-learning programme it embarked on in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in shutting down of academic institutions.

Dr Onyebuchi Chima, Commissioner for Education disclosed this in an interview with SummitNews Correspondent on Wednesday in Abakaliki.

Chima said that the ongoing e-learning programme would be boosted and expanded by extending computers and internet accessibility to pupils and students in the hinterlands.

He explained that the move would also offer the Ministry the opportunity to expand the Ebonyi Radio and Television Virtual learning Assessment Centres (VLAC) to further incorporate interactive sections.

According to him, the initiative will enable the ministry carry out continuous assessment of pupils and students response to the programme.

The commissioner assured that the challenges posed to the education sector globally by the COVID-19 pandemic would not deter the state from meaningfully engaging its children educationally.

He explained that ‘Edutech’ though new in Nigeria, has become the way to go.

Chima further disclosed that the Ministry has developed a training programme for all the teachers in the state to enable them get integrated in the virtual teaching and learning exercise as well as save them from slipping into redundancy within the COVID-19 period.

Chima said: “We are expanding our Virtual School learning, and what we mean by that is that we are going to use this opportunity to expand what we call Ebonyi Radio and Television (EBRTV) Assessment Centres.

“Then, we will expand our virtual learning by having interactive sessions because we will provide computers and internet accessibility to our children living in the hinterlands.

“What we call Edutech, that is educational technology is coming newly to Nigeria.

“So, we will provide some edutech materials by starting that virtual outlets in our hinterlands to enable us provide opportunity to carry out continuous assessment of how our children are responding to our EBRTV learning programme.

“We are going to be running the programme pending the time it will be safe for schools to completely reopen.

“We want to put back our teachers to start working, and the way we want to do it is to activate their brains.

“For the past four to five months, most of them have not gone to classes and they are becoming redundant.

“So, we want to introduce teacher preparatory classes for them to educate them on how to provide teaching and learning using Virtual means.”

The Education commissioner said that the ministry would provide a time-table that would be used to ensure that teachers come back to school, adding that the ministry would provide them with master trainers and mentorship.

“Our desire as a ministry is to make sure that this COVID-19 does not swallow the intellectual capacities of our teachers,” he added.

Chima who also spoke on the partial reopening of schools for exit class students, said that Ebonyi government backed the Federal Ministry of Education’s stand on the resumption of schools.

“We, as a government support Federal Government’s decision to reopen our schools to enable exit class students to write their final examinations.

“We are going to do everything within our resources to ensure the conduct of the West African Schools Certificate and Basic Education Certificate Examinations are conduct with total compliance to the COVID-19 protocol.

“The safety of Ebonyi children is paramount in the agenda of the state government and that cannot be compromised,” he said.

He urged the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to also consider its obligatory social responsibilities for safety even as it strived to meet up with the year’s examination calendar.

The commissioner said government has embarked on aggressive clearing and fumigation of school facilities across the state.

He called for sustained Community-Teacher relation in the provision of security in the Schools pending total school resumption.

He appreciated Gov. Dave Umahi for his political will in driving the e-learning programme and urged teachers and students to take full advantage of the initiative.

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