Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, has said 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 Nigerian Learning Passport (NLP) in Abuja on Thursday, organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Minister of State for Education, 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 phenomenal achievements but access to school does not equate learning. Nigeria is facing a learning crisis. Millions of children and young people are not developing even the basic skills they need to break out of poverty due to the disruption 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 provided 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, we know that in Nigeria, 28 million children are 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 for learning in the country.