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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Columnist: Mohammed Rabiu Adam

The acceptance of e-learning platforms and coronavirus pandemic

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The emergence of coronavirus or COVID-19 has led to breakdown of socio-physical interaction as experts in the Public Health have identified it as the main means of spreading the disease.

Among human institutions that have has received a severity of the pandemic is the educational sector.

The pandemic that knows no boundaries has travelled from the epicentre of Wuhan in China to Ghana and is currently having 313 cases of positive as at Wednesday, 8th April 2020.

In a bid to curb the rapid spread of the COVID-19, almost all educational institutions that used to impart knowledge through the traditional face-to-face mode have been temporarily close.

Electronic learning (e-learning) has been embraced globally including Ghana as the best the option since man cannot live without obtaining adequate and relevant knowledge, attitude, values and skills.

It is important to note that e-learning did not just start but has been in existence but the outbreak of COVID-19 has shown its significance. It is significant to further note that e-learning platform was not regarded let alone be recognised as equal means of acquiring knowledge in this country despite advancement in technological gadgets and numerous advantages it holds.

Although the e-learning could not be said to be perfect but it is arguably tailored towards embracing global technological-age trends and to meet the endless request for alternative learning platforms for congested lecturer halls.

It would be recalled that somewhere last year in this country, the regulatory bodies in the tertiary education and its institutions were reported to have sacked some lecturers for acquiring their PhD certificates through e-learning platforms.

People seeking jobs with the needed competencies for specific job appointments were denied all because the certificate is deemed not credible. Similarly, academic progress for e-learning platform certificate holders were denied to pursue postgraduate courses in our universities.

The fundamental question one will seek to ask is how different is the platform these very educational institutions and key stakeholders have prescribed for their students? Are these e-learning certificate holders now going to benefits from their knowledge or we going back to the old order after the COVID-19 pandemic? Those tertiary institutions who are now using the technologically-inclined platforms for lecturing, will they allow other holders of such certificates to pursue further studies in their institutions?

The existing system of distance education being practice currently across the various tertiary institutions through their satellite campuses cannot be equated to e-learning.

E-learning is flexible as it used either the synchronous or asynchronous model where they all come with and teaching and materials like recorded videos, text notes and live video chats which allows the learner to learn at his or her pace.

Their term or project papers are submitted online connected with turn-it in for checking plagiarism where institutional percentage are accepted or otherwise rejected. Therefore, e-learning could not be said to be breeding graduates with aided-certificates.

At this moment, as country we need to have e-learning policy for the future. This pandemic may not be the only catastrophe we may face which will require social distancing thereby affecting educational calendars.

If a man failed to realise changes in his environment, certainly the changes will forced him to recognise the abundant knowledge in that change waves.