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Leverage technology to bridge unequal learning gaps, groups tell Govts

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The successful launch of the “Learn at Home” audio e-learning platform, which provides free, online, and unlimited learning access to more than 100 million Nigerian youths across different levels of education, has reinforced the need for government at all levels to leverage technology to percolate access to quality and inclusive learning.

The initiative, which is a product of the partnership between Data Science Nigeria and the Mastercard Foundation, is a first-of-its-kind in the country, offering unlimited access to learners based on the national mobile phone penetration, low-data, and basic feature phone requirements.

With the socio-economic dislocations that countries including Nigeria recently suffered, including disruptive restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the inclusive e-learning approach is designed to eliminate barriers of Internet access, data cost and over-dependency on expensive smartphones in the delivery of locally relevant, convenient, and inexpensive access to quality education.
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“The disruption of the pandemic did not only halt learning for many, but also revealed and exacerbated existing inequalities in learning opportunities. The purpose of www.learnathome.radio is to ensure children have equal, convenient, and affordable access to quality learning,” Country Head, Mastercard Foundation Nigeria, Chidinma Lawanson, said.

She added that the initiative is a continuation of efforts to ensure universal learning and improve learning outcomes across all communities in the country, adding that already, over four million students have joined audio classes with USSD/SMS support, where they receive educational materials on key subjects, based on the Nigerian Educational Research and Development (NERDC) curriculum for primary and secondary school students.

On the platform, pupils and students from primary 1 to Senior Secondary (SS3) will gain access to a special examination readiness series that includes a collection of solved past questions in WAEC, NECO, BECE, and Common Entrance from 2009 to 2020. Experts have also been engaged to provide answers and explanations to the past questions with complementary live classes that enable each student learn at a preferred pace.

Executive Director, Data Science Nigeria, Toyin Adekanmbi, described the initiative as “a creative and innovative approach to democratise learning in Nigeria and provide an effective solution to the challenge of unequal distribution of learning and education opportunities in rural and urban communities.”

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