The flooding in about 31 of Nigeria’s 36 states is taking a toll on education as schools and learning facilities have been submerged in many communities across the country.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), some 1.3 million people have been displaced, over 600 are believed to have lost their lives, and about 200,000 houses damaged.
UNICEF estimates that over 1.5 million children’s education and health are being jeopardised by the flooding..
Oyintonyo Michael-Olomu, a senior lecturer at the Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa State, described the situation as unbearable, with almost the entire state submerged by the flood.
“It is not a funny experience, most communities in Bayelsa State have been submerged and lives lost in their numbers. Children can’t go to school because educational institutions are underwater,” Michael-Olomu said.
According to her, the floods have resulted in inequality in learning across the country. “The affected tertiary institutions can longer continue with their mapped curriculum and scheme of works because they are shut out by the flood.
“The inequality is heightened by the fact that most of these universities are just coming out of the eight-month strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), while those in private universities were having their lectures, and now the public universities are forced to shut down again. Without any iota of doubt, this amounts to learning inequality. The flood has jeopardised learning. Kalu Nnachi, the Ahoda West zonal coordinator of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Rivers State sees the floods as a big blow to education in both private and public schools.
“We are out of business now, and even after the waters have gone down, the damage cannot be overcome immediately. Academic activities are put on hold for now, and this is very disturbing considering the well-being of the children and the learning disruptions this will cause them,” he said.
Similarly, Esor Faith, the Ahoda East zonal coordinator of NAPPS in Rivers State, explained the situation as horrible, with the floods scattering the normal daily activities and property, including schools in more than 15 villages in Ahoda East.
“Over 22 schools, both public and private in Ahoda East have submerged, and educational activities are adversely affected, putting access to education in the state and other parts of the country in a mess,” she said.
Shola Thomas, a senior lecturer in the department of education management, at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), lamented that the affected students, especially at the primary and secondary school levels would miss a term. He said, however, that this could be harmonised when the floods would have been over.
“It is for the time being, and the children would be made to cover up the missed schemes of work. It does not really have anything to do with out-of-school, or access to education as both are two different issues,” she noted.
Ijeoma Ireh, the moderator, at African Thinkers’ College of Education, Oyigbo in Rivers State, said the floods have grounded education and jeopardised the future of many youth as there are little or no education activities going on in the affected states across the federation.
“All the schools are flooded, and the students are now in what is called ‘flood break’, even as the governments have taken some of them to a settlement such as the internal displacement centres for camping when situations normalise.
“No education is happening in those ad-hoc IDP centres; hence the children are missing out on their academic scheme of work. They might not even write their first-term examinations due to this development, and when they resume for the second term, it will lead to drawing back in the scheme of work. In fact, there is little or no access to education in those states, especially in the northern region,” she said.
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