Nigeria’s education sector faces many challenges that have contributed to keeping more than 10.5 million children out of school in Africa’s most populous country.
One such challenge is access to quality learning, exacerbated in recent times by attacks on educational institutions and student abductions that have left parents fearful of sending their children to school. .
The disruption of education by attacks on schools has meant that millions of children have significantly missed out on the learning they would have acquired had they been in the classroom.
To address these issues, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), recently launched the Nigerian version of the Microsoft Learning Passport, which is used at globally to provide standardized Internet content and instructions to children, students and teachers at all levels of learning.
The innovative technology idea aims to give children across the country access to high-quality learning resources and lessons whether they are in school or out of school.
The Learning Passport is an online, mobile and soon to be offline platform that would enable continued access to quality education, aiming to reach 3 million learners in 2022 and 12 million learners in the country by 2025.
The educational technology solution comes amid the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the learning of many students around the world, including millions of children in Nigeria and experts said it could be the solution to Nigeria’s learning crisis.
The launch of the Learning Passport in collaboration with UNICEF and Microsoft, and with funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a significant achievement for children and teachers in Nigeria, experts say.
At the launch, Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, in a message of goodwill, said: “Before COVID-19, an estimated 10.5 million Nigerian children aged 5-14 were not educated. Today in Nigeria, more than 9.7 million children are at risk of never returning to school, with their learning left behind. The Learning Passport can help change that.
“By offering simple, easy and fun ways to learn, as well as tailored training programs, the Learning Passport will help meet the needs of every child. With online, offline and mobile options, it can help us reach the most vulnerable and marginalized learners,” Russell added.
A software engineering graduate from AfriHUB University Abuja, Bernard Bassey said the Nigeria Learning Passport will solve so many problems until it is fully adopted in our public and private schools.
He said the readiness of the Nigeria Learning Passport and the speed of its accessibility is amazing. “Yesterday, just a day later, a volunteer teacher was captured using it for his students at the remote Gololo Government Secondary School. A few paragraphs from here, you, the reader, will be there too, with just a click.
“The Nigeria Learning Passport provides the literature and videos that our students and teachers need on all subjects in their curriculum. It alleviates the problems of lack or high cost of books, insufficient teachers, absence of teachers, unqualified teachers, distance problems in remote areas, security problems for nomadic areas and in crisis that teachers can’t reach or schools can’t open.
Speaking about its flexibility, he said most exciting is the timeless access our children can have to some of the best teachers, both globally and nationally.
“This will solve the problem of the poor quality of education that characterizes our education system. If a teacher cannot provide for his students, he can arrange for someone better than to do so. This “digital teacher”, with a simple click on the keyboard, can also replace the teacher when he is absent.
“The child can turn on their Kindle, tablet, computer or handset to watch this substitute teacher teach on any subject the child chooses and ‘play’ it without a number until it understands the subject perfectly. The child can do this even when he is herding his cattle in the forest or tending to customers in his apprentice shop in the heart of the city. Not to mention the remote public schools with only a few teachers” , he added.
However, he said the challenge will be to provide an infrastructure that will provide continuous availability of online material, from devices to electronic media that children and students will use to access content, the power and data necessary to operate them. , the ability of teachers needed to guide children in its use, the motivation to use the facility in the mixed environment by teachers and parents, the attention and sharp time of the African child that is given to the distraction, noise, gambling, football, movies, social media, etc.
The only official website to access the Nigeria Learning Passport