A call has gone to the government at all levels, as the country approaches election period, to evolve innovative education solutions to tackle the urgent challenges of learning poverty confronting the nation.
The call was made by the NewGlobe Nigeria General Managing Director, Omowale David-Ashiru on the heels of the report of an independent and groundbreaking study, led by the 2019 Nobel-Prize Winning Economist, Prof. Michael Kremer, described as one of the largest learning gains measured in schools in Africa, including Nigeria.
In the study, Kremer, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, United States of America, suggested that children living in underserved African and by extension Nigerian communities could receive 53 per cent more learning in schools supported by Nigerian government partner, NewGlobe, throughout their early childhood and primary schooling, through Grade 8.
Given the challenges of “learning poverty,” David-Ashiru urged the government and particularly those aspiring for leadership positions and political offices to realise that innovative education solutions that are proven to be effective at scale would define the prosperity, growth and security of the nation, and therefore should make it part of their plans and policies. “Tackling learning poverty is an urgent challenge of our generation, especially as we approach the election season in Nigeria,” she said.
The findings of the two-year study, according to her, were announced in a speech by Prof. Kremer to African Heads of State and Education Ministers, including Nigerian UBEC and SUBEB leaders at the Education World Forum in London, with the theme “Education Building Forward Together, Stronger, Bolder, Better.”
The holistic NewGlobe methodology studied by Kremer and his co-authors has been exported from Kenya and largely underpins Nigeria’s statewide in Lagos, under EKOEXCEL, Edo State; under EdoBest and in Kwara State, KwaraLEARN public education transformation programmes.
Through the NewGlobe methodology implemented by these three states, they have been able to transform learning outcomes across their public school system including Early Childhood, primary and junior secondary schools.
On the findings of the study, David-Ashiru stated: “NewGlobe is well-positioned to support Nigerian state governments to achieve improved learning outcomes in national education systems and employ new techniques and methodologies that have been proven to yield better results for their children.
“NewGlobe is delighted that an independent study of this size, led by a Nobel- Prize Winning Economist, has found such unequivocal evidence of the unrivaled learning gains NewGlobe’s holistic approach to teaching and learning deliver.”
She noted that the test effectiveness of the methodology compared pupils in Bridge Schools and pupils in other schools, said 10,000 pupils were randomly selected out of 25,000 that entered for the lottery scholarship for the study.
The General Managing Director said the NewGlobe methodology is standardised, holistic, using digital learning and teacher guide, scientific pedagogue, 360 support, continuous measuring, tracking/monitoring, leading to critical thinking and problemsolving, stressing that Nigerian government could turn the ‘learning poverty’ to learning gains using the right New- Globe methodology.
She said: “We want all states of the federation to adopt and implement this methodology to transform Nigeria’s education in the next 10 years; hence this should be the priority of any government in Nigeria, and Africa in general.”
According to her, the data-driven scientific learning techniques that underpin this study are the blueprint for those used in all schools NewGlobe supports in Edo, Lagos and Kwara states. “It shows that it is possible to deliver radical and immediate change for generations of children and that poverty isn’t destiny for individuals or nations,” David-Ashiru added.
Based on the study, Kremer finds that after two years, primary school pupils through Grade 8 in NewGlobe’s programme are nearly a whole additional year ahead of children taught using traditional method