The Challenges and Prospects of E-Learning during Covid-19 Pandemic
From the onset of the pandemic, teachers were immediately tasked with implementing distance learning modalities, often without sufficient guidance, training, or resources. This occurred at every level of education. In many contexts, teacher professional development has moved online or been disseminated via telephone and video applications, but marginalized teachers may have missed out on such support. Web-based class meetings and messaging applications have become useful tools and new ways of communicating with their learners and the education community Teachers across the globe were largely unprepared to support continuity of learning and adapt to new teaching methodologies.
Many primary school teachers have received even minimum training, which often does not include basic digital skills. Even in contexts with adequate infrastructure and connectivity, many educators lack the most basic Information and Communication Technology skills, meaning they will likely struggle with their own ongoing professional development, let alone with facilitating quality distance learning. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted that both initial and in-service teacher education are in need of reform to better train teachers in new methods of education delivery.
Teachers’ physical health was put at risk when required to provide face-to-face education for the children of essential workers and vulnerable children. Adding to the fear of being exposed to the virus was a fear of losing salaries and benefits, all while coping with increased workloads and family responsibilities. This is especially true of female teachers who had to continue teaching and bore a disproportionate share of family responsibilities. Some countries integrated psychological support into their contingency plans, manuals, and guides for teachers and local associations; and Non Governmental Organizations mobilized to provide additional support.
Many more teachers will need psychological support themselves if they are to meet the needs of their students. Without this, the strain can lead to burnout, resulting in high rates of absenteeism, and can even lead some teachers to leave their jobs, undermining efforts to build school resilience. COVID-19 has had varying impacts on the employment and salaries. Recent data suggest that only a minority of countries did not pay statutory teachers. However, furloughing and delays in salary payments were more common. In the public sector, teachers on temporary contracts were especially affected, as contracts were not renewed and those paid by the hour were out of work.
The Challenges and Prospects of E-Learning during Covid-19 Pandemic
Delta being one of the States having in particular, where parents stopped paying fees or teachers have been unable to teach remotely, teachers lost their livelihoods. A survey by Education International revealed that, among 93 teacher unions from 67 countries, nearly two-thirds reported that education workers in private institutions were significantly affected, with teachers on temporary contracts and support personnel were most affected. Refugee teachers are often not part of the national education system and also were vulnerable to the cessation of salaries and job losses while schools were not in session.
Failure of non-state schools, either now or in the future, would leave public education systems to absorb high numbers of additional students. Non-payment of teacher salaries not only poses a problem for individual, family, and community well-being, but also hinders the delivery of quality education. In the short term, many teachers may need to turn to alternative sources of income and will be unable to support pupils in distance learning. In the long term, schools may face teacher shortages due to attrition. The crisis has been a reminder of the essential role of teachers and that government and other key partners have an ongoing duty of care to education personnel.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study will be to investigate and identify the challenges and prospects of e-learning during Covid-19 pandemic in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State. Specifically, the study will examine:
1) attitudes of teachers towards e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State;
2) the various challenges of e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State,
3) the prospects of e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State,
4) the influence of e-learning utilization on teachers’ ICT competence in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
In trying to find solutions to specific problems raised, the following research questions will be generated:
1) To what extent do attitudes of teachers towards e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State?
2) What are the various challenges of e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State?
3) What are the prospects of e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State?
4) To what extent does e-learning utilization influence teachers’ ICT competence in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State?
The following research hypotheses will be formulated:
1) There is no significant influence of attitudes of teachers towards e-learning utilization in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State?
2) There is no significant influence of e-learning utilization on teachers’ ICT competence in primary schools in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State?
This study will take the form of a descriptive survey, which involves recording the answers of respondents through surveys or questionnaires. The population of the study will be all primary school teachers in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State and the sample for the study will consist of 250 primary school teachers that will be randomly selected from twenty five (25) primary schools with 10 teachers drawn from each school. A questionnaire titled ‘Challenges and Prospects of E-learning’ that will be designed by the researcher will be used to collect the data for this study. The instrument will be validated by experts in computer science, educational technology and tests and measurement to ensure it measures what it is designed to measure. To ensure reliability of the instrument the Cronbach alpha statistics technique will be employed; a reliability coefficient higher than 0.5 will be regarded as a high reliability index and less than 0.5 will be regarded as a low reliability index. The data that will be collected by the researcher will be analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation and chi-square statistical techniques for research questions and hypotheses respectively. The hypotheses will be tested at 0.5 levels of significance.
Definition of Terms
The following terms will be defined as will be used in the study:
Covid-19: Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel corona virus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
e-learning: e-learning is imparting and facilitating knowledge on media, electronic devices like that on the Internet, CD-ROMs, and DVDs, streaming media etc.
Attitudes of teachers: The way teachers perceive and think that may lead to the action they will take related to their teaching practices in the class.
Challenges: something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve, especially something you have never done before and will enjoy doing
Prospects: Prospect implies expectation of a particular event, condition, or development of definite interest or concern.
Teachers’ ICT competence: this is the teacher’s confident and critical use of electronic media for work, leisure and communication. These competencies are related to logical and critical thinking, to high-level information management skills, and to well-developed communication skills.