Turning COVID-19 into good crisis


 A popular saying often attributed to the British war hero, Sir Winston Churchill, is, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’. But how does one recognise a good crisis?


The blunt truth is that there is no good fight except one that is won. Similarly, there can be no good crisis except one that is exploited to achieve progressive ideals. The United Nations was forged in the anguish of the global crisis called World War II, and it was in this context that Churchill reportedly made that resounding statement – even though there is no official proof that he is the rightful owner of the attribution.



Can COVID-19 be a good crisis? No crisis announces itself as ‘good’. Every crisis has one singular agenda and it is to leave us worse off. We, the victims, are the ones that can determine whether a crisis is good or bad, through what we do or do not do.


The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting yet untold woes. We are losing loved ones. Businesses, across all sectors, are struggling to stay afloat. Government resources are fast depleting. What good can come out of these woes? Well, our responses.



The first indigenous company established to manufacture the WHO-compliant medical-grade face mask was recently inaugurated by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. That was a good response to address a major vulnerability in our healthcare system.


The Federal Government, whose economic policies previously focused on the big enterprises and multinational agencies, has now changed tactics and rolled out support funds targeted at the most vulnerable people, micro, small and medium businesses. That is another good response to address socio-economic vulnerability.



While it is important that our first response to this pandemic should be to address our immediate vulnerabilities, we must go a step further to develop systems that prepare us for the unknown. Business analytic tools help us to manage identifiable threats and weaknesses, but we now need a system that helps us identify and prepare for an unknown threat, as COVID-19 has shown. This is important because COVID-19, according to experts, has set the world back by about two decades as stated in the Gatekeepers 2020 report, a publication of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.



How and where do we begin the search for this system that will prepare us for the unknown and therefore help us to prevent or minimise losses in the future? Collaboration.


Collaboration was the positive response that turned WWII into a good crisis. It is a proved template that could help us to jumpstart our recovery process, especially in the education sector.


Our sector is too atomised and therefore too fragile to be able to muster any solution capable of inspiring others. If we, as educationists, cannot set a laudable example of how to recover from the setback of this pandemic and how to prevent or minimise such in the future, we would have failed in our primary social responsibility to society.



 

While the jury is out on whether we need as many associations of educators as we currently have, this pandemic has shown clearly that even those associations now need to forge a common platform to address our sector’s need, particularly the private education subsector.


A unifying platform is needed to accurately and comprehensively document the extent of the impact that this pandemic has had on our sector. This proposed report will prove crucial to designing recovery solutions and future safeguards.



The world cannot afford the setback it experienced in 2020 and if we are able to prevent or minimise the impact of such setback, then we can say that COVID-19 is a good crisis. Collaboration and documentation could steer us in the right direction.


Dr. Michael Tejuosho is the founder of Mictec International School.

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