The Nigerian government says it is working with its state governments and some development partners to improve the country’s education system by making it more digitally accessible following the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
Obafela Bank-Olemoh, the Senior Special Assistant on Education Interventions to President Muhammadu Buhari, disclosed this while speaking at the MTN Nigeria’s The Revv Programme masterclass themed: “Education without Borders and Boundaries.”
The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and relearn their operations to enable them mitigate against the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.
According to Mr. Bank-Olemoh, one of the key areas that Nigerians are going to see a lot of funding from both the federal and state governments towards the education sector, is in the area of devices.
“How do we get cheap and affordable devices into the hands of school students? It’s a key thing that we are working on,” he said.
Nigeria’s education sector has been one of the most affected by the pandemic. Since the government instituted lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, schools across the country have remained closed. The federal and state governments plan to open the schools soon though no date has been fixed yet.
The pandemic has made the state and federal governments, alongside their development partners rethink Nigeria’s education system.
“The reality has changed how we do education whether at the state or federal level. Whether we like it or not, we have to provide devices for our children; this is because if something like this happens the second time, we can’t make the excuse of not planning for it,” said Bank-Olemoh.
He noted that the plan wasn’t just to put devices in the hands of students, but to see how that can be done locally.
“Beyond that, it is also an area that we say how do we do it locally? This is because what we have now is just pumping funds outside the country. However, going forward, that’s one major area that we’re going to see a lot of intervention from both the federal government, states as well as development partners,” he added.
Other educators and education experts from the public and private sectors that made up the event’s line-up of speakers included Sim Shagaya, Chief Executive Officer of Ulesson Education; Orondaam Otto, Founder/ED, Slum2School Africa; Bolajoko Falore, Education Director, Mind Builders School; Olamidun Majekodunmi, Country Manager, Nexford University; and Babalola Oyeleye, General Manager, Transformation Office, MTN Nigeria.