Close button
The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

At UK FCDO, AREAi National Digital Equity dialogue, stakeholders call for inclusive solutions to education divide


From L – R: Olubunmi Ayantunji, Convener of the Policy Roundtable; Chizaram Ucheaga, Director of Operations and Strategy for Mavis Computel Limited; Gideon Olanrewaju, Program Manager of the Education Digital Equity Initiative/ED of AREAi; Doris Eyo, Project Manager Africa, Adam Smith International; Idongesit Udoh, the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme Adviser and Country Lead Nigeria; Zainab Haruna, Program Manager Step up Nigeria; Mallam Isa Abubakar, Director of ICT, Federal Ministry of Education at the end of the national dialogue held yesterday.

To enable students from low-income families access remote learning materials, digital education resources options and digital opportunities, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the Digital Access Programme earlier in 2021 provided a grant to non-governmental organisation, Aid for Rural Education Access initiative (AREAi), towards promoting community-based initiatives.

The core of its collaboration is premised on ensuring children in low-income rural clusters have access to quality education through equal access to digital learning.


The Education Digital Equity Initiative closed out with a National Digital Equity Focus Group Session on Wednesday July 7, 2021 with key stakeholders in attendance from Internet Service Providers, Mobile Network Operators, Federal Ministry of Education, Development Practitioners and Civil Society Organisations.

In attendance were: the Executive Secretary, NERDC ably represented by, Dr. A.M. Asebiomo; Director ICT, Federal Ministry of Education, Mallam Isa Abubakar; Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Engr. Bako Wakil; Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant, UNICEF, Babagana Yahaya Aminu; Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation, Oladayo Olaide among others.

In his opening remarks, Head, United Kingdom’s Digital Access Programme and Country Adviser, Idongesit Udoh said, “The UK is keen to support the promotion of affordable, inclusive, safe and secure digital access for underserved or excluded populations in Nigeria, and this project has done significantly well in amplifying our interests to collaborate with diverse stakeholders to promote digital equity, particularly ensuring access to digital education for the unreached and the marginalised”.

Extending his gratitude to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for the grant awarded, Gideon Olanrewaju, the Programme Manager for the Education Digital Equity Initiative and Founder of Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative said: “I would like to thank the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for providing us with this funding support at this material time.

Our organisation is happy to have produced and disseminated a comprehensive, actionable evidence-based toolkit that will provide information access and ensure digital learning support for schools and communities to leverage digital/online learning opportunities.”

Through its various proceedings, the National Digital Equity Focus Group Session focused on the roles of various actors driving meaningful digital connectivity and technology usage for improved learning access specifically on vulnerable groups. The event also presented an opportunity for different civil society and non-governmental actors to showcase and highlight what has worked for enabling remote learning for disadvantaged and and also co-create ideas that are workable for the future of digital learning access at school and community levels.


Speaking at the event, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Engr. Bako Wakil acknowledged the need for a framework to bridge the education divide in rural and urban communities and highlighted that the federal government has key projects in the 774 LGAs to resolve this and other key connectivity issues.

During a panel session at the event which was centered on ‘Education for the unreached: Issues and Opportunities’, key stakeholders in the digital inclusion, education and economy ecosystem, expressed concerns and commitment to making digital education accessible by all and for all regardless of socioeconomic status.

They also emphasized the realities of digital exclusion and the corresponding negative effects of school closures during COVID19 which was greatly exacerbated by digital inequity.


In this article:
Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

No comments yet