Poor teaching skills worsening learning outcomes, says expert

Poor quality teachers are worsening learning outcomes, says Education Manager for UNICEF in Nigeria, Rudranarayan Sahoo.

Sahoo spoke during last month’s edition of ‘The Edtech Mondays’, a monthly programme facilitated by Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Co-creation Hub Limited (CcHUB) held in Lagos last week.

Discussing the theme: “Digi Learning – Can Education Technology Expand Access to Education?” during a panel moderated by Joyce Daniels, Sahoo said though the enrolment rate of school children in Nigeria was increasing, the increment had not translated to improved learning outcomes as a great proportion of the pupils still lacked basic literacy and numeracy skills.

He said, according to statistics, of 58,000 teachers in the Northeast comprising Gombe, Adamawa, and Yobe, 28, 000 teachers do not have the required teaching skills to teach primary school-aged children. This means that the low quality of learning outcomes for children comes as a result of poor quality of teaching skills exhibited by the teachers.

Sahoo noted that the time had come for total reform of the education sector if Nigeria was serious about global competitiveness.

He said 21st Century schools must offer young people creative skills, problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills.

Sahoo also explained that UNICEF was supporting the Federal Ministry of Education in digitalising the curriculum and instructional materials. He also stated that UNICEF was partnering the ministry in deploying the learning passport in reaching out to about 25 million children by the end of 2022 as well as capacity development of 30,000 teachers scattered all over Nigeria and the provision of ICT infrastructure needed in establishing ICT hubs.

The other panelist at the discussion, Olubayo Adekanmbi, who is the founder and Lead Mentor, Data Science Nigeria, said that technology was a key driver in increasing access to education.

He said it remained a great enabler to learning for all categories of children, especially with the increasing access to mobile phones in Nigeria.

Emphasising the significance of technology to education, he noted that the concept of learning was fast-changing as many digital devices had provided learning opportunities for children in a more interactive, customised, and student-centered manner.

“Technology is as good as how we localise it or how we make it to be student-centered. Apart from that, learning should be localised to the reality of the child. Learning theory must lead while education must be the slave helping us to customise what is possible”, he said.

Citing the partnership support between his non-profit organisation, ‘We Learn at Home’ and Mastercard Foundation on some key initiatives, the data scientist noted that technology had contributed a lot to aid access to education not only for children in urban areas but those in rural communities as there are now numerous innovative means to deliver it.

He said technology fused with learning was fast becoming a lifestyle that truly reflects the world at present.


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