Airtel to Roll Out Digital Learning Initiative in Nigeria

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A digital learning initiative is to be rolled out in Nigeria by Airtel Africa Plc in partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

This scheme is part of the five-year $57 million agreement between UNICEF and Africa’s leading telecommunications and mobile money services provider.

The aim is to connect 100,000 children to the Learning Passport, an online resource, over the next five years. With over 50 million subscribers, Nigeria is Airtel Africa’s biggest market.

The Group CEO of Airtel Africa, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, while announcing this development at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari on the sideliness of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month, explained that the company’s support for the initiative was informed by a sense of responsibility for, and commitment to, the future of the continent.

According to him, the partnership with UNICEF will provide access to education to at least one million disadvantaged children, mostly in rural and hard-to-reach communities across 13 of its 14 country operations in Africa.

“This partnership is designed to provide zero-rated access for students and teachers to educational websites and other resources.

“This, on the one hand, will bridge the digital divide between the rich and poor and, on the other hand, enable African children to catch up with the rest of the world after the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“We firmly believe that children are the future, and education is the best guarantee for ensuring that this future is in safe and knowledgeable hands,” he said.

According to Mr Ogunsanya, in addition to the UNICEF partnership, Airtel Africa, is also working on modalities for adopting primary schools in Nigeria and other African countries.

This will entail rehabilitating their infrastructure and providing furniture, school uniforms, books and other teaching and learning materials and also training the teachers besides connecting the schools to its 4G network.

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