During this year’s Day of the African Child observed on June 16th, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a report showing that at least 75 percent of primary school students in Nigeria cannot read with understanding or complete a simple math problem. This is despite the fact that the group has demanded that the government and other stakeholders take advantage of Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP) to better the educational and developmental opportunities for Nigerian children.
Cristian Munduate, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said in a press release that this year’s theme, “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment,” constitutes an opportunity for stakeholders to advocate for digital inclusiveness for all children, alongside the right of every child to participate in the digital space. It is not news, that the education system in Nigeria faces numerous hurdles, including poverty and societal conventions that are not supportive of education, especially for girls, and a lack of funding that has led to inadequate school infrastructure and a shortage of qualified teachers.
NLP provides increased access to high-quality educational.
Several assaults, kidnappings, and attacks on schools have only made things worse, making many parents reluctant to send their kids to school. More than 10 million children worldwide aren’t enrolled in elementary school, UNICEF said, even for students enrolled in school, education standards remained substandard. Munduate disclosed that NLP, an online, mobile, and offline digital learning platform powered by Microsoft, was established by UNICEF and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education last year in an effort to increase access to high-quality educational opportunities.
This natural language processing programme provides students, educators, and parents with perpetual access to 15,000 curriculum-aligned learning and training materials in their native tongues. With its malleability and adaptability, states, schools, instructors, parents, and other users can quickly and simply modify it to serve as their learning management system in the classroom, provide assistance with homework, and keep students’ educations on track even when schools are closed due to emergencies. Since the NLP may be used in areas with limited or no internet connectivity thanks to its offline module, it helps to close the digital gap in those areas.
95 percent of respondents claimed the content fulfills their needs.
For this purpose, UNICEF has provided 13,500 tablets, 1,000 smart rechargeable projectors, and 780 Airtel internet routers to 780 schools in remote and underserved communities. Whitelisting the NLP on an Airtel SIM card has cut data expenses and made connectivity available to 186 schools through a partnership with IHS towers. Munduate further said that since the program commenced, 280,000 students, educators, parents, and young people have benefited from the Nigeria Learning Passport.
Data gathered from a survey conducted to determine user satisfaction of 5,002 platform users found that 92 percent of users have visited the site more than once, 51 percent access the platform on a daily basis, and 63 percent use it from the comfort of their own home. Additionally, 95 percent of these respondents claimed the content fulfills their needs, 76 percent said they learn something new, and 91% (9 out of 10) said the NLP aided in their education.
Nigeria urged to scale up NLP to boost basic literacy skills.
Students and parents surveyed acknowledged that NLP makes education more accessible and easier, thus helping to improve knowledge and understanding. Munduate urged all stakeholders in Nigeria’s education sector to adopt and scale up the NLP to lessen the number of children who are not in school and boost basic literacy and numeracy skills. This is in spite of the fact that digital technology provides stakeholders with a platform to innovate and seek ways for inclusive quality education for all children.