The Foundation for Rural Education and Empowerment, FREE, in a bid, to close the gap between children in rural communities and the Education in Emergency caused by COVID-19, reached out to hundred of children in rural communites.
The foundation has also distributed safety materials to teachers and children in rural communities in Oyo State since the state government announced resumption of schools for students in final year classes.
A statement to announce the activities of the foundation since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic read:”In a bid to ensure that children in rural communities are not continously at the disadvantage of learning in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, Foundation for Rural Education and Empowerment – FREE (formerly future bank Initiative Africa) have been reaching out to hundreds of children in terminal classes to keep them Safe at School.
“Since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic especially in Nigeria, all of us at FREE have been working round the clock to ensure that children in rural communities are no t being alienated from education in emergencies as they were mostly at the disadvantage of many programs put in place to keep children learning. Most children in rural schools couldn’t access online classrooms, some had no opportunity to access Televised classes while even some couldn’t power their radio for Interactive Radio Instructions which were all good ways to bring education to them.
” In the course of the pandemic, when reopening of schools was not coming forth, we celebrated the Day of the African Child on June 16 by staging a TeachOneChallenge – whereby an individual will teach one child in a day even as social distancing rules were being observed.
“When Oyo State, once again proved to be the pace setter by being first to reopen schools for children in terminal class, I knew this was a good time for children in marginalized communities to have the advantage of classrooms again but can also be denied if such advantage if the requirements for being allowed in school wasn’t provided. Though there are assertions that children may be asymptomatic with regards to COVID-19, considering also that the school to children, is another home of building back better made us embark on providing safety materials to children and teachers in the extreme rural schools of Ibadan, Oyo State through our SafeAtSchool Project.
“The aim is to cover as much as possible rural schools in Nigeria when schools finally reopen, however, we’ve so far reached out to rural communities closest to Ibadan city hoping to carry out more when other states reopen schools. In all of these places, we provided face masks to the children and their teachers, we also enlightened them on the COVID-19 pandemic, how it spreads and how to prevent it. We took the teachers as well as the pupils through some hand-washing practises as we believe that a safe health is a pathway to promising education.”