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Students at risk of losing important learning gains, experts lament

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Following prolonged school closure brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of children in Nigeria have been left without any formal school learning in the last six months, experts have said.

This has cut students off from any instruction, feedback, or interaction with their teachers, as learners are now at risk of losing important learning gains.

But to enable the students catch up on what they missed, Data Science Nigeria/Malezi in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation have launched “Learn at Home” project to benefit one million disadvantaged school children.

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According to them, the initiative would enable remote learning through multiple channels like, radio, mobile, web, and aims to provide learning access for one million children in Nigeria within the next 12 months.

Also, the project was to provide opportunities for continued learning while schools are closed and build long-term resilience in the Nigerian education system to withstand potential future disruptions to the school calendar.

Country Head, MasterCard Foundation Chidinma Lawanson explained that their priority is to ensure that children learn, no matter where they are or whether they have access to the internet.

She stressed the need to mitigate losses in learning perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure universal learning continuity.

“The project delivery is split into two major channels; offline and online learning.

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Data Science Nigeria will take charge of delivering offline learning and has created a localised and relevant syllabus that can easily be accessed on radio stations close to the children and on any mobile phone by simply dialling a USSD code, a data connection is not required,” Lawanson stated.

Similarly, Executive Director, Data Science Nigeria, Toyin Adekanmbi said the approach to tackling education for disadvantaged kids rest on understanding of the obstacles, which they have worked to overcome them.

He disclosed that ‘Learn from Home” requires no internet connection to access, the curriculum is localised per locations across Nigeria and based on the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) curriculum.

Adekanmbi said competent teachers have been engaged for content delivery, and each student will have a unique school registration number that allows student-teacher engagement and regular opportunity to test learning using simple mobile telephony services.

“Malezi, who have experience in large-scale education across several countries in Africa will be in charge of delivering online learning. They will provide a rich learning experience to children who have access to internet connectivity and smart devices. This category will cover self-paced learning with numerous curriculum-aligned e-notes, videos and quizzes as well as teacher support through live tutorials and question and answer options,” the director added

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