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Integrate education with technology to boost learning, expand access, experts urge governmentt

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Experts have urged the government at all levels to integrate education with technology to expand access to learning and ensure inclusion.

Rising from its monthly programme, “The Edtech Mondays,” facilitated by Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with Co-creation Hub Limited (CcHUB), the speakers emphasised that technology is a key driver in increasing access to learning.

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The programme was themed: “Digi learning – Can education technology expand access to education?”

Education Manager, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Mr. Rudranarayan Sahoo, said though the enrolment rate of school children in Nigeria is at an increasing pace, the figure has not translated to improved learning outcomes, as most of the children lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.

While reviewing the current educational system, the UNICEF chief said for school children to be globally competitive, there must be total reform of the sector.

According to him, 21st-century schools must be prepared to offer young people creative, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

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Citing available statistics, Sahoo said out of 58,000 teachers in northeast, comprising Gombe, Adamawa, and Yobe, 28, 000 teachers do not have the required skills to teach primary school-age children.

“This means that the low quality of learning outcomes for children came as a result of poor teaching skills exhibited by teachers.”

He disclosed that UNICEF was supporting the Federal Ministry of Education in digitalising the curriculum and instructional materials.

Besides, he stated that the agency was partnering with the ministry in deploying learning passport to reach about 25 million Nigerian Children by the end of 2022 as well as capacity development of 30,000 teachers spread across the country and provision of infrastructure in ICT hubs.

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“It is important for all concerned stakeholders, including government to rise to the occasion by embracing technology as a veritable tool to address the challenge. They cannot afford to continue to fold their arms while the decline in learning outcome persists,” he stated.

Founder and lead mentor, Data Science Nigeria, Olubayo Adekanmbi said technology remains a key driver in increasing access to education considering the age we live in. According to Adekanmbi, technology remains a great learning tool for all categories of children, especially with increasing access to mobile phones in Nigeria.

Emphasising the significance of technology to education, he noted that the concept of learning was fast-changing as many digital devices have provided learning opportunities for children in a more interactive, customised, and student-centred manner.

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”Technology is as good as how we localise it or how we make it to be student-centred. Apart from that, learning should be localised to the reality of the child. Learning theory must lead while education must be the slave helping us to customise what is possible”, he added.

Citing examples of the partnership between his organisation, “We learn at home” and Mastercard Foundation on some key initiatives, the data scientist noted that technology has contributed a lot to aid access to education not only for kids domiciled in urban areas but those in rural communities as there are now numerous innovative means to deliver it.

The data expert further noted that technology fused with learning was fast becoming a lifestyle that truly reflects the world we live in. Featured the duo of Olubayo Adekanmbi, and Rudranarayan Sahoo, the Education Manager for UNICEF in Nigeria as panelists with Joyce Daniels as Moderator.

In his remarks during the session, the Founder and Lead Mentor of Data Science Nigeria, Mr. Olubayo Adekanmbi

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