etermined to actively engage school-age children and occupy them positively during this school closure due to the lockdown occasioned by the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic across the country, a non-governmental organisation, the Five Cowries Initiative (FCI), has rolled out “Home Learning Kits” for school children.
This is as schoolchildren had been forced to stay away from their classrooms in the last four months as a result of coronavirus outbreak in the country since March.
The decision to close school nationwide by the government was part of preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus, which has left a huge population of Nigerian children, who lack comprehensive access to the internet and disconnected from meaningful learning platforms across the country that are required to be positively engaged in continuous learning.
Under the first phase of project, no fewer than 1,800 school children in Kaduna and Ogun States had already received the “My Story of Water” worksheets.
The worksheets, which require no access to electricity or data, are part of alternative education plans, geared towards exploring the use of arts in nurturing creativity among children in education.
The facility will be used in conjunction with other supporting activities such as a weekly thirty-minute radio show incorporating lessons, storytelling, current affairs, and call-ins to be led by teachers.
To facilitate the learning process, the 1,800 children, according to the organisation, will continue to receive subsequent worksheets in line with the learning schedule, every two weeks over four months.
On the impact of the project and the need for continued support for children, the Founder of Five Cowries Initiative, Polly Alakija said: “There is ample room for growth and evolution in the education sector, and now we have the opportunity to scrutinise mainstream teaching methods.
“Through these kits, we are able to provide structured learning for children across several learning platforms that still encourage play and aids creativity.”
Though, the organisation said that while distribution of the worksheets were yet to commence in Lagos, the FCI had developed creative programmes with the Ministry of Education and the state Commissioner, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, as an active supporter of the “My Story of Water” project.
“With the distribution of 1,500 worksheets is set to commence across SOS Villages this week, Five Cowries Initiative aimed at replicating its current achievements nationwide,” the initiative added, saying that in order to achieve this, Five Cowries is working closely with technical and implementing partners including, Teach For Nigeria and SOS Children in developing the educational content, while DHL will involve in the delivery of the sheets across the nation.
With the commitment to fostering the preservation of indigenous languages, the worksheets are currently available in Yoruba, Igbo and French, which will also be translated into Hausa and Kanuri languages.
According to the organisation, while the coronavirus pandemic is showing the new ways to rethink the current education models, the Five Cowries Initiative Home Learning Kits is set to provide guidance on how to sustain education in the midst of confusion from the pandemic.
This, the project is doing by providing structured learning that compliments the current curriculum which is also fun and engaging in methodology, even as it also opens up interesting possibilities that elevate the role of education in the communities.
Giving the rise in COVID-19 cases, which has continued to climb each day, the prospect of children returning to school appears deem and risky, and with education in limbo it is clear that there is an urgent need to fill the current learning gaps.
While explaining the usefulness of the worksheets, a Teach for Nigeria Fellow in one of the communities, Nene Ibezim further noted: “The children are excited to start working on the activities in the worksheets as they love hands-on experience. The rest of the villagers wanted worksheets for their children as well.”