The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, says to ensure continuity of learning for all children, Nigeria must change and reimagine the education sector.
Osinbajo stated this at the official launch of the Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP) in Abuja , a programme supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Microsoft and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
NLP which is an online, mobile, and soon–to–be offline platform that would allow continuous access to quality education, is aimed at reaching 3 million learners in 2022 and 12 million learners in the country by 2025.
It is designed for pre primary, primary and secondary school learning, providing access for children, youths and teachers to access a digitalised curriculum with learning materials in all core subjects for primary one to six, and all all junior and secondary school classes.
Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said there has been significant improvement in the sector but access to learning remains a big challenge.
“Over the last decade, Nigeria has made great strides in improving access to education. In the last five years, pre primary school participation has increased from 45% to 61%, primary enrollment has increased by 5 million. The rate of out of school children has decreased by 10% from 42% to 32%.
“These are phonemenal achievements but access to school does not equate to learning. Nigeria is facing learning crisis. Millions of children and young people are not developing even the basic skills they need to break out of poverty due to destruction to schooling and learning by incessant security, COVID-19 as well as more recent attacks.
“To ensure continuity of learning for all children and the resilience of education systems to future shocks, we must change and reimagine the education sector.
“Deploying innovations that rethink the current methodologies, including new approaches to delivering education in ways that defy the digital divide, and ensuring learning continuity in emergencies, has become imperative.
“This launch set the foundation for creating a system of education where digital technology will be used to transform the way that learning is provide and meet the need of every child. The NLP is an effective tool to ensure the continuity of learning through access to curriculum,” he said.
On his part, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, said the platform can be quickly deployed, customised and scaled-up nationally, including in low connectivity areas.
He noted that the digital platform will address the over 89 per cent of learners who do not have access to computers in the home and over 82 per cent of learners who do not have access to the internet in Nigeria.
“It is also an effective tool to accelerate national reforms to make quality learning opportunities available to more children, anytime, anywhere. Before COVID-19, access to quality education was already profoundly unequal Abo, we know that in Nigeria, 28 million children in school and NOT learning at the appropriate levels.
“Sadly, learning is not always equipping our young people with the sits needed to excel in today’s world if we are to realize the ambition of SDG4, then we need to reimagine education, and the deployment of innovations like the Learning Passport will help to bring us there.
“With 65.6 million people aged 10-24, Nigeria has one of the largest young populations in the world representing an extraordinary opportunity for development and growth,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the platform will be an effective tool to learning in the country.
The minister who was represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, David Gende, urged the private sector to key in and ensure sustainability of the project.
A learner can register on the platform using any device with a web browser, or through “NLP.education.gov.ng.”