Speaker, agency begin digital learning initiative in schools
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Sen. George Akume, in collaboration with the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), yesterday, launched the ‘Back To School Jump-Start Project’.
The digital learning and personal sanitation normalisation programme, The Guardian learnt, is aimed at inculcating good standards in computer-mediated education and hygiene among secondary school students.
NLTF, which is under the office of the minister, also donated medical equipment to Gbaja Randle Hospital Mother and Childcare, General Hospital in Surulere, Lagos.
Speaking at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Akume, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the fund, Dr. Bello Maigari, lamented that the initiative, which was conceived by the Speaker and NLTF, was necessitated in the wake of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), where they discovered that public schools were the least to adjust to the new normal virtual learning.
Akume lamented that while students in elite private schools kept up with studies from home, their counterparts in public schools were grossly disadvantaged.
He said: “As the pandemic persisted, the need for an urgent intervention towards improving the digital infrastructure in public schools became more apparent.”
The programme, which involves donation of computers and empowerment of teachers, was funded by NLTF to help increase the learning capacity in public schools that are currently lagging behind as a result of poor access to digital learning infrastructure and other critical facilities, he added.
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Ademorin Kuye, representing Shomolu federal constituency, said the launch of the Jump-Start Project, which aims to digitise the teaching and learning process and inculcate basic hygiene culture in schools across the nation, was unique.
His words: “The reason for tagging the first leg of the Jump-Start project as ‘No School Left Behind in Surulere’ is to address the widening of the educational disadvantage heightened by COVID-19.
“As off today, global statistics puts the number of deaths from COVID-19 at 6,089,484. However, statistics are scarce as to how many children dropped out of school due to the pandemic, especially in developing economies. Even where learning seems to have continued uninterrupted, it is hard to evaluate the educational disadvantages stemming from inadequate infrastructure for virtual teaching. For students in Nigerian public schools, the lockdown in 2020 was a huge academic setback.”