Experts task govt on technology to expand education access

A call has gone to the government at the state and federal level to adopt and integrate technology into the nation’s education system as a way to expand access to learning and ensure inclusive education.


The call was made by stakeholders and experts during the April edition of “The Edtech Mondays,” a monthly programme facilitated by Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Co-creation Hub Limited (CcHUB), which took place in Lagos. The theme of the April edition of the programme was “Digi Learning – Can Education Technology Expand Access to Education?”


Panelists at the session include the Founder and Lead Mentor of Data Science Nigeria, Olubayo Adekanmbi, and the Education Manager for UNICEF in Nigeria, Rudranarayan Sahoo, while Joyce Daniels was the Moderator.


In his remarks, Adekanmbi, who stated that technology remained a key driver in increasing access to education particularly in this age we are, further noted that technology is a great enabler of learning for all categories of children, especially with the increasing access to mobile phones in the country.


While reiterating the significance of technology to education, he stressed that the concept of learning was fast changing as several digital devices have provided learning opportunities for the children in a more interactive, customised and studentcentered manner.


Adekanmbi pointed out: “Technology is as good as how we localise it or how we make it to be student-centered. Apart from this, learning should be localised in line with the reality of the learners. Learning theory must lead, while education must be the slave helping us to customise what is possible.”


The Founder and Lead Mentor of Data Science Nigeria, while citing the partnership support between the non-profit organisation, recalled that technology had contributed meaningfully to aid access to education, not only for kids domiciled in urban areas, but also those in rural communities as there are numerous innovative means to deliver it. Adekanmbi, a data expert, further explained that technology fused with learning was fast becoming a lifestyle that truly reflects the world we live in.


On his part, the Education Manager, United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Mr. Sahoo, while analysing the theme of the month’s edition of the programme, noted that though the enrolment rate of school children in the country is currently at an increasing pace, the reality on the ground revealed that the figure had not translated to improved learning outcomes as a great proportion of the kids still lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.


Also, in his appraisal of the current education system, he added that the time had come for comprehensive reform of the education sector if Nigeria is serious about global competitiveness.


According to Sahoo, the 21st Century schools must be prepared to offer young people creative skills, problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills. Sahoo, who also explained that UNICEF is supporting the Federal Ministry of Education in digitalising the curriculum


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