At the July meeting of EdTech Mondays, held by Mastercard Foundation in collaboration with Co-Creation Hub, education stakeholders and teachers were encouraged to use technology to provide access to education for underprivileged children, especially those with physical disabilities. Participants believed that utilising technology in teaching and learning would guarantee student equity. During a session titled “Technology as an enabler for equity and inclusion in education,” Helen Akintemi, Assistant Education Officer at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), discussed how her organisation uses technology to promote refugee inclusion.
Akintemi mentioned that the UNHCR, which is a non-governmental body, remains at the forefront of protecting the interests and well-being of refugees and those who have been displaced internally in Nigeria by using the deployment of technology. While she acknowledged the importance of cooperation in the process of providing education to children with physical disabilities, she also pointed out that the support of the government, along with that of other partners, was essential to the successful execution of digital projects among refugees.
Stakeholders should collaborate to boost learning.
Bitebo Gogo, the founder of the Keeping it Real Foundation, which is a non-profit NGO that is disability-inclusive and whose main goal is to inspire change through learning, explained that the organization’s prospect to utilise technology for this category of children was made in order to guarantee that they will have access to education. Gogo stated that the organization’s donation of books has sparked positive development and confidence in children from low-income communities and those with physical disabilities.
He stated that the foundation is already having a big influence on the lives of children who have disabilities by providing technology-driven educational platforms that would assist in the children’s academic development. Gogo encouraged stakeholders to work towards boosting the campaign against stereotypes while also working towards finding a solution to the problem of internet access and power that is affecting the country. He also highlighted some of the problems faced while delivering technology to this group of children.
Advancement in technology has impacted learning in the country.
On his part, Kayode Alabi, who is the founder of the Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative, stated that the organisation has been harnessing technology to boost learning amongst students who have disabilities and their teachers. Alabi revealed that the foundation has so far supported over 6,500 children in Nigeria’s underserved communities in acquiring 21st-century capabilities and other life skills. These children represent a variety of backgrounds, and all of them come from communities that lack enough resources.
Moreover, Ngozi Ukpai-Okoro, who is visually impaired and the co-founder of Projects Enabled Africa, a community development scheme that advocates for the rights and empowerment of people with disabilities in Nigeria, pointed out that the beneficial effects of technology can not be over-emphasized given the extent to which it has assisted her in accessing good education. Speaking further, she acknowledged that some of the difficulties she encountered when learning at a young age had been alleviated because of those technological advancements.
Nigeria has about 20 million out-of-school children.
According to a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Nigeria is still home to around 20 million children who are not in school; among them, a large percentage are children with disabilities. There is a growing interest in incorporating technology into Nigeria’s educational system, and doing so will ensure that students from every aspect of life, including those with special needs, those from low-income families, those who live in rural areas, and women and girls from underrepresented groups, have access to quality education.