As countries continue to grapple with the effect of COVID-19, the educational sector seems to have been badly hit by the pandemic. To cope with the new normal occasioned by the pandemic, most schools have adopted online teaching model with its attendant cost.
However, no one seems to be talking about how teaching and learning is taking place in slum communities.
According to UNICEF in 2020, 1.6billion school children worldwide were affected by school closure, data shows that, for at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, there was no such thing as “remote learning.”
Addressing the concern of education for children living in slum communities, Youth Advocate for Change through its Slum to Classroom Initiatives is providing free literacy programme and life skills support for about 60 children between the ages of 4 to 15 years.
According to the Team Lead of Youth Advocate for Change, Adeola Ogunlade said that Slum to Classroom started in October 2014 and had students who were hovering around 18 and 25. The intervention was put to a halt because of the pandemic last year, but in November, 2020, the initiatives kick started with 15 children but grew to 62 within three weeks upon resumption.
He said through this initiative, out of school kids and youths living in the slums are getting back to the classroom. We teach Mathematics, English and basic science. We are also incorporating hands-on skills programmes.
Ogunlade, who is a development journalist with one of the national newspaper explained that the initiatives was birthed when he visited Makoko community and did a story about one Mr Jerrand Alvessi, a fashion designer, who teaches young lad how to sow and in the evening teaches them how to read and write in Egun Language.
He posited that one of the apprentice in the centre begged him that they want to learn how to read and write in English language, said that that the request prompted him to bring in an English teacher to teach the students and since then, its has been impactful journey working in the slum
He pointed that some of these children benefiting from the progamme are orphans, living in substandard housing that is poorly serviced and/or overcrowded, and therefore unhealthy, unsafe, and socially undesirable. They come in three times in a week between the hours of 4pm to 6pm to the waiting hands of enthusiastic teachers.
He noted that the venue used is KHAN Foundation School, a school owned by Mr. Otega and was magnanimously given to support the initiative. Four teachers are presently been engaged. The teachers are excited, motivated, patience and are selfless as they teach the children.
He cited the words of the Lead Teacher, Paul Iyanu Jawu, Lagos, said that he sees this initiative as a missionary effort to salvage today’s children in Makoko.
Ogunlade added that the teachers who were been paid #10,000 per month were instrumental to the increase in the number of students attending the centre.
Ogunlade posited that the space available at the centre can accommodate 250 children and our teachers have resolved to provide basis education needed to help out of school children and youths in Makoko community.
He noted that it is been projected in 2020 by the United Nation that by 2021 about 24million (additional children and youths from primary to tertiary) may drop out or not have access to school globally because of the pandemic. Nigeria have been faced with 13.5million out of school children. Thus, any effort at investing in the education of the rural poor is germane for nation building.
Ogunlade explained further that to ensure the sustainability of the programme, the organisation needs lots of support.
“I am willing to sacrifice a lot and my resources to keep the vision going and l want to appeal for more support from well-meaning Nigerians to help. The teachers, whom among them are graduate, undergraduates are been paid allowances because of their resolved to make a difference in the community”, he said.