By Comfort Ordia & Olaoluwa Omolafe
Ever since the emergence of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, the education sector in the nation has been one of the sectors highly affected. The pandemic has brought about lockdown in all the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country and has since caused mixed feelings among students who are already staying too long in their various homes.
Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19 which is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered virus which emerged in the Wuhan city of China on November 17, 2019 and has ever since been spreading with an increasing rate across the globe, thereby causing various negative side effects on economic sector of all affected nations, Nigeria not excluded.
Currently, Nigeria as a nation has recorded over 44 000 confirmed cases with over 900 death as well as over 31, 000 recovered cases and as at August 5, 2020, the nation is still experiencing a drastic increase in the pandemic spread across the nation.
Having declared the first confirmed case of the virus in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, when an Italian citizen in Lagos tested positive for the virus, the education sector was closed down on March 19, 2020 as ordered by the Federal Ministry of Education. It is now over four months with little hope of resumption. It should be noted that the strict step was taken in order to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
However, several students have seized the lockdown period to venture into businesses and other opportunities in skills acquisition, such as writing skills, graphics designing skills, farming techniques, trading skills amongst others while some see the moment as an opportunity to rest before schools resumption.
In respect of this, The Hope reporters went out to ask some students their experience during the lockdown and what they have been able to venture into so far.
According to Uzoma Lilian, a National Diploma student of Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, said she has been involved in something that will fetch her money. She disclosed further that she was using the opportunity to do car wash, thereby making some money.
Uzoma, said she faced financial difficult before venturing into car wash. She explained that her family do send her money while in school which is no longer the same story while currently at home.
“My challenge during this lockdown is financial challenge, because while in school, my uncles, dad, mum and friends in most cases do send money. That is why they said students are rich but I think now we are poor because even those that do lie to get money now have nothing to lie about, she said.
However, she urged the federal government to re-open the schools saying, that is what Nigerian students want.
“At my place of work, people would be looking at me being a girl, but what a man can do a woman can do, but not better. Government should open schools and support schools financially to get equipment that will be needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Education is good, government should please help students out by lifting the ban on reopening of schools”.
“I am not ashamed of doing car wash because sometimes, some dirty businesses bring good money, I also sew clothes. So, I just add washing of cars to it and I want to be self-employed,” she stressed.
While counting the advantages she sees during the lock down, she said, “well it has brought families that were not in good terms together, husbands and wives that don’t always have time for their children are now together as a result of the lockdown nationwide, but part of my own advantage is that I traveled to where I like.
Speaking further, she prayed that the lockdown does not continue but if it does, she will look for a good job or work that will fetch her better money. “I will hustle but good hustle, because I am not getting any younger. So, it’s all money.
Also speaking, Ehihon Emmanuel, a National Diploma undergraduate of Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, said he has been idle since the emergence of the lockdown but have a lot of time to spend with his loved ones at home.
While speaking on what he might do should the lockdown persist, he said he will have to get a work and start hustling to make his life better and start a family.
He then urged federal government to make education its priority, by putting in place tools, equipment and machine to curtail the spread of the virus, stressing that schools should be able to control classes, so it won’t be overcrowded.
Buttressing his points, Adeoye Tobi Mary, an undergraduate from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, said the pandemic is the will of God for the wicked who are perishing day by day. It’s a virus for the repentance of the lost on her experience during the lockdown, Mary said she has learnt to be patient and prayerful in affliction, free mind, rest, renewed strength and energy, and discovery of new talents.
She then urged the federal government and higher institutions to make enough facilities and equipment for social distancing of students in various institutions. She also stressed that Nigeria need to repent and forsake their sins without which there is no deliverance.
Another undergraduate from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Lawal Bukola, said the lockdown has affected all areas of life both home and abroad, as she was unable to perform her normal duties. She added that as a student, the lockdown has affected her school calendar, making it impossible for some student to graduate this year. “It makes me home sick,” she stressed.
While sharing what she has learnt during the lockdown, said she has learnt more of personal hygiene, how to depend on herself for survival, et-cetera. Should the lockdown continue, she said she plans to stay safe, source for more business idea and add value to herself.
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