By Charles Nwankwo
“Schools are closed but we have not closed teaching and learning in Ebonyi State, what we have just done is that instead of being in classroom we have brought the classroom into your homes. So this is home class for primary and secondary schools pupils and students”
Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima made this assertion in an interview with Citizens’ Advocate in his office at Centenary City, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Dr. Chima disclosed that the Ebonyi State Ministry of Education has initiated and launched Ebonyi Radio and Television Teacher (EB-RTV Teacher) to ensure that teaching and learning continued in the State.
He explained that the programme is not just aimed as a response to COVID 19 challenge, it is also a programme designed to enhance the level of literacy and numeracy of Ebonyians including adults.
According to him, it is a non-formal education for Basic Education pupils which is primary 1 to JS 3 and Senior Secondary Education students, SS1 to SS3.
He noted that the programme provides the opportunity to ensure quality assurance in teaching, because the ministry selected the best of teachers who will teach those hard-nut topics on Radio and Television after proper editing by professionals that will serve as public editors.
“That will mean that school children at the hinter land will have the opportunity to listen and then juxtapose or compare their notes with what the teachers in the class room may have taught them. It is like bringing classroom to the bedroom or to the parlours of all Ebonyians in this state.
The Commissioner enjoined all teachers in Ebonyi State to participate in disseminating information about the new Ebonyi Radio TV Teacher and find a way to tell their pupils and students; though they are unable to teach them in the classrooms, they have carried teaching forward on Radio and TV in which they can stay at the comfort of their home and listen.
He noted that the EB-RTV Teacher programme runs daily from Monday to Friday by 10:30am to 11:30am and in the evening, 4:30pm to 5:30pm respectively.
While on Saturdays, interactive section comes on as a period pupils and students can call in to ask questions based on the topics treated within the weekdays and teacher will be in the studio live to answers their questions.
Dr. Chima implored the five tertiary institutions in Ebonyi State, include; Ebonyi state University, Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Unwana and Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu in line with what Federal Minister of Education said that schools should begin to innovate and design ways of teaching and learning because this COVID 19 pandemic is challenging the system of teaching and learning in Nigeria.
He pointed out that it is a high time Nigeria began to design a scheme of work to understand that there may be a time natural disaster as the present one could occur.
The Commissioner emphasized that, it is obvious now that most universities overseas are engaging in entrepreneurial teaching, stating that people must not converge in one place to learn, they can still learn and do whatever they are doing.
He therefore called on the various Rectors, Provosts and Vice Chancellors of the five tertiary institutions to design how they could reach out their students on air.
He maintained that students hearing the voice of their lecturers and having interactive period will encourage them to continue reading their books using various social media platforms especially Telegram APP.
He urged universities to establish a university Telegram APP that can contain over one thousand five hundred people in the plat form.
Dr. Chima challenged Nigeria scientists to start thinking on electronic way of teaching and assessment where students can log in and then receive lecture on visual classroom, suggesting that we must begin the way we can do it as Nigerian because we have the best brain in this part of the world.
The Education Commissioner applauded the proactive measures His Excellency, the Governor of Ebonyi state Dr. David Nweze Umahi employed with respect to COVID 19 pandemic, adding that His Excellency is working sleepless night to ensuring a composite reaction to this COVID 19 both in finance, economy, food and agriculture, hygiene and education.
He described Umahi as the best Governor we have now in this challenge we are in.
Appreciating the unflinching effort of Ebonyi state Education stakeholders includes; Chairman Universal Basic Education Chief Hyacinth Ikpo, Chairman Secondary Education Board, Dr. Elizabeth Ezaanyim, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Mrs. Blessing Ezeoke, EAs, STAs,TAs to the Governor on Education, associations of NUT, ANCOPS, JUSPAN, NAPPS and other Education stakeholders for ensuring the success of the EB-RTV Teacher now available for pupils and students of Ebonyi State.
Dr. Chima called on parents and guardians, town union presidents, political class, teachers to encourage school children to turn off films and listen to Ebonyi Radio TV daily.
In a Telephone interview, the Vice Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Professor Chigozie Ogbu and the Provost Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo, Professor Benedict Mbam said although their institutions do not have plan on ground to teach their students on Mass Media or Social Media but would think out measures to innovate to the direction of running distance learning for tertiary institution students.
Meanwhile, the acting Rector Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu, Dr. Wilfred Nwangwu said that distance teaching and learning method cannot be feasible in the institution, stating that college of agriculture was more of practical than theory.
He advocated for the reopening of schools for students to continue learning in schools