As we continue to reposition our economy, students of public schools should be able to also head safely back to class. However, the high number of students in the classroom do not allow for such luxury.” Mmanti Umoh, Lead Teennation

PurplePatch Schools, in partnership with Teennation have announced an investment by Community Stakeholders in technology to 100,000 public school students in local communities of Akwa Ibom state and the South South, enabling them access learning support while at home.

The initiative works with people in communities to provide Smart Phones and EduTech apps from Microsoft, Google to offer students in Junior and Senior Secondary School a holistic learning experience in school subjects. This saves valuable instructional time, creates efficient classroom subject transitions, and organizes content in a seamless single sign-on solution.

An immediate concern as we bring the lockdown to an end is the fate of an estimated 30 million children, who according to UNESCO, may never return to school. For these, the world’s least-advantaged children, education is often the only escape from poverty – a route that is in danger of closing.

The best and most well-intentioned efforts to get students to learn post-pandemic will mean that students suffer—especially low-income students. Fewer low-income and rural students have access to the technology necessary for online learning. Also, parents working in low-income jobs will not be able to finance the learning of their children. Low-income students are therefore more likely to be left alone or in environments that are less than ideal for learning.

Mmanti Umoh, the Lead Education Consultant of Purple Patch Schools shared; “It’s a tough situation for everyone, but it’s most likely to harm low-income students. We are working with the Community Stakeholders to make sure public school students have the support and resources they need to learn and up skill while the government creates a structure to enable them to go back to the classroom. We are grateful to our recent donor, a leader of the International Community, who invested in changing the narrative for community school kids in Akwa Ibom.”

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She added; “This increased demand on government budgets is causing national deficits to grow at a terrifying rate as countries grapple with the economic consequences of the pandemic. As governments and philanthropic bodies move their speed to urgent social protection and economic revival programs, Teennation would like to ensure we protect education budgets, which in many countries and states were already stretched. Education will play a key role in our recovery—and is needed at the individual, family, community, national, and global levels.

Ramping up remote learning as fast as possible is a concern that might exacerbate achievement gaps. Disadvantaged groups are less able to utilize computers and internet access, which we rely on with remote learning.

However, While advantaged families will be able to use their resources to access enrichment activities no matter what schools do, Public school students will have learning gaps as schools limit instruction for everyone; so community stakeholders need to step in. To be clear, the achievement gap problem is a real concern and business stakeholders will need to get creative to address this.

From providing personal protective equipment to adapted learning curriculum, to remote learning, we would be happy to know that students can use this opportunity to learn and enhance their knowledge. This is going to be a difficult time. Let’s work together, be patient with others, and act creatively to meet the basic needs of our students.

Purple Patch Schools through its Africa Industry Ready (AIR) project has provided Up Skilling Opportunities, Vocational Skills Training, Digital Literacy, Up-skilling Programmes, Soft Skills Training, Behavioral Training, and Customized Training Programmes. Over 750,000 public school students have been trained (60% of the number includes teen mothers, at-risk students and students with disabilities).

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