Despite limitations, school institutions are creating various platforms to facilitate learning out of the classroom.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has been impacting millions of people and threatening lives across the world. The educational sector is not left out especially when measures such as lockdown are being put in place to limit the spread of the virus. For pupils and students to pursue their education, e-learning platforms are being adopted and put in place by various school institutions to help learners study from home. While some school administrations have gone extra miles to step up learning management systems to dispense online and on-campus lectures to students, others have stepped-up social media forums such as WhatsApp groups, Google classrooms; Facebook pages as well as emails of parents through which they send lesson notes and other assignments to pupils and students.
Many schools have taken measures to upgrade teachers and the student community on the use of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This is to ensure a platform through which e-education can be executed. At the Saint Joseph's Comprehensive College, Afanayoa, Yaounde, the Vice Principal, Esau Ngong Mekeme says interest in distance learning has risen sharply in recent times due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. As such, the institution like others has taken urgent measures to strengthen teachers' capacity in the use of ICTs in the teaching/learning process. Teachers have undertaken a training programme on the use of online system. These systems, according to the Vice Principal, are being used to compile results, process and publish and also to store vital information. Teachers, equally use such platforms to give assignments to students while at home. One of the limitations, the school authority said, is that all the operations have to take place through the phone of parents. Not many parents have a Smartphone and as such not many students are involved in the teaching and learning process.
Online teaching, another principal says, is successful to a greater extent only to those students who have access to a Smartphone. Those with limited or no access to the established platforms find it challenging to be integrated into teaching programmes online. Online teaching is also said to be challenging to effectively evaluate students due to the absence of supervision and follow-up from some parents who are very busy and unavailable. The system also makes it difficult for teachers to control attendance.
Whatever means school authorities use to execute distance learning, be it via the TV or different ICTs, what is certain is that not all pupils and students will benefit from the tools especially in a country where the living standards are low and the access to electricity supply is not only limited but inconsistent.