Nigeria, UNICEF to Provide Learning Platform for 12 million Children
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian government has partnered with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to launch the Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP), an online, mobile and soon-to-be offline learning platform that will provide continuous education to 3 million learners in 2022 alone, and a total of 12 million by 2025.
The initiative was designed for pre-primary, primary and secondary school learning. Children, youth and teachers can access a digitalized curriculum providing learning materials in all core curriculum subjects for Primary One to Six, and all Junior and Senior Secondary School classes.
A learner can register on the platform using any device with a web browser or through the NLP mobile application to access a variety of high-quality learning content.
With the launch in Abuja, Nigeria has joined 20 other countries in the world where the Learning Passport is reaching children with improved learning opportunities.
Speaking on this, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by Mr Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education said, “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.”
On her part, Mrs Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s Executive Director, explained “Before COVID-19, about 10.5 million Nigerian children aged between 5 and 14 were not in school. Today in Nigeria, more than 9.7 million children are at risk of never returning to school, their learning left behind. The Learning Passport can help change that.”
“By offering simple, easy, and fun ways to learn, as well as tailor-made training programmes, the Learning Passport will help respond to the needs of every child. With online, offline, and mobile options, it can help us reach the most vulnerable and marginalized learners,” she added,
Nigeria’s education sector faces many challenges that have contributed to keeping more than 10.5 million children out of school in Africa’s most populous nation.
One of these challenges is access to quality learning, exacerbated in recent times by attacks on learning institutions and the abduction of students. Both have made parents fearful of sending their children to school.
The disruption to education by school attacks has meant millions of children have significantly missed out on learning they would have acquired if they had been in the classroom and was further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NLP is supported by GenU 9JA (Generation Unlimited in Nigeria), with the aim of delivering connectivity and digital learning to young Nigerians at scale. Partners such as IHS Towers and Airtel are currently connecting schools to the internet and providing zero-rated data to ensure that UNICEF can deploy the NLP in connected schools and reach millions of children with digital learning.