A popular saying often attributed to Sir Winston Churchill is, 'Never let a good crisis go to waste'. The impact of Covid-19 on education in Nigeria can be turned into a good crisis, if we find the courage to created extensive collaboration.
The blunt truth is that there is no good fight except one that is won. Similarly, there can be no good crisis except one that is exploited to achieve progressive ideals. The United Nations was forged in the anguish of the global crisis called WWII, and it was in this context that Churchill purportedly made that resounding statement - even though there is no official proof that he is the rightful owner of the attribution.
Can Covid-19 be a good crisis?
No crisis announces itself as 'good'. Every crisis has one singular agenda and it is to leave us worse off. We, the victims, are the ones that can determine whether a crisis is good or bad, through what we do or do not do.
The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting yet untold woes. We are losing loved ones. Businesses, across all sectors, are struggling to stay afloat. Government resources are fast depleting.
What good can come out of these woes? Well, our responses.
O-Care, the first indigenous company established by Transgreen Nigeria Limited to manufacture WHO-compliant medical-grade face mask was recently commissioned by the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. That was a good response to address a major vulnerability in our healthcare system.
The federal government, whose economic policies previously focused on the big enterprises and multinational agencies, has now changed tactics and rolled out support funds targeted at the most vulnerable people, micro, small and medium businesses. That is another good response to address socio-economic vulnerability.
While it is important that our first response to this pandemic should be to address our immediate vulnerabilities, we must go a step further to develop systems that prepare us for the unknown.
SWOT analysis and other business analytic tools help us to manage identifiable threats and weaknesses, but we now need a system that helps us identify and prepare for the unknown threat. This is important because Covid-19, according to experts, has set the world back by about two decades as stated in the Gatekeepers 2020 report, a publication of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has not only stopped progress — it's pushed it backwards," said Bill Gates, during a conference call with journalists on the report.
Impact of Covid-19 on education: preparing for the unknown
How and where do we begin the search for this system that will prepare us for the unknown and therefore help us to prevent or minimise losses in the future? I think the answer could be found in the word 'collaboration.'
Collaboration was the positive response that turned WWII into a good crisis. It is a proven template that could help us to jumpstart our recovery process, especially in the education sector.
Our sector is too atomised and therefore too fragile to be able to muster any solution capable of inspiring others. If we, as educationists, cannot set a laudable example of how to recover from the setback of this pandemic and how to prevent or minimise such in the future, we would have failed in our primary social responsibility to the society.
While the jury is out on whether we need as many associations of educators as we do, this pandemic has shown clearly that even those associations now need to forge a common platform to address our sector's need, particularly the private education subsector, so that we can jointly assess and document the impact of Covid-19 on education sector in Nigeria.
A unifying platform is needed to accurately and comprehensively document the extent of impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the education sector in Nigeria. This proposed report will prove crucial to designing recovery solutions and future safeguards.
The world cannot afford the setback it experienced in 2020 and if we are able to prevent or minimise the impact of such setback, then we can say that Covid-19 is a good crisis.
A version of this article was repurposed for publication in The Punch
Dr. Tejuosho is the founder of Mictec International School