THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says its digital platforms intervention has provided education access to 400 communities across the country.
UNICEF Country Representative to Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins said this when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, a flagship interview programme, in Abuja.
Hawkins said UNICEF, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, had produced Nigeria Learning Passport, which is the downloading of the full curriculum of 14,000 documents into an iOS App.
According to him, anyone can access the Nigeria curriculum; the teacher can access it and girls can access it wherever they are in the country.
“Secondly, we’ve worked a lot at expanding the digital platform – 400 communities.
“IHS and UNICEF are working hard as 400 communities have been accessed, those who didn’t have access before.
“And the incredible factor is when you put a tower up and connectivity is possible, that connectivity happens almost instantly; it means that people have the means to do (access) it.
“The third is how do you make sure that children are able to access that curriculum, access the digital thing?
“We’re working very hard with partners, IHS Airtel, MTN and others, to ensure that school-to-school connectivity becomes a big part of the future of Nigeria.
“So schools will have that connectivity, though it is still crawling very much but, in the next eight years, will expand exponentially.
“We hope to reach, by the end of this year, the region of 1,600 schools that will have some sort of connectivity in some form or type and then it will start to expand quite considerably.”
Hawkins reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to safe school financing which would bring about continuous learning.
He said that the prominent issue about the country was the increase in the demand for education.
He said there was, therefore, need to look critically into the broken compact for education between the state governments and the communities.
According to him, in spite of the fact that 70 per cent of Nigerian children are not passing through the right learning at literacy and numeracy level, they still achieve a lot.
“We put on a major conference in April 2021 on financing of safe schools; the government has taken that forward with the Ministry of Finance.
“There was research done during 2021 on the impact it has had or the situation analysis of the insecurity around education and the compact between the government and the communities.
“And what we’ve seen is, that compact is broken; because what is unique, I think, about Nigeria is that the demand for education is very high or the demand for learning is very high.
“You won’t see any child not wanting to go to school; every child wants to go to school and you see it in these villages.
“You won’t see a parent who doesn’t want their child to be educated.
“It is their ability and the means to be able to that is broken; it is the compact between state government and the communities and providing for education that is broken.
“There are elements that we’ve learned from the conference and many things that have been taken forward which will have a fantastic positive impact for girls more than anything else.”
Hawkins said that the learning passport would enable the Nigerian child to access materials on numeracy, literacy and, in turn, knowledge to move the country forward. (NAN)