Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has declared that the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic present an opportunity to revamp education in Africa and deploy technology to improve learning outcomes.
He stated this during a special episode of #EdTechMonday, with the theme: Back To School-But Is It Back To Learning?’ organised by Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works, in collaboration with the World Bank Group and broadcast on CNBC Africa.
Explaining how Edo State prepared for the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the governor said the state had commenced the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme, with support from the World Bank Group before the outbreak of COVID-19.
“With the scale of disruption caused by COVID-19, we can use the opportunity to leverage technology and digital assets to reset education in Africa. We can do it with the right leadership. We have done it in Edo State. If we can get education right, we can change everything tremendously.
“We have been fortunate; we took bold steps three years ago and worked on the foundational level to reframe our education system. We introduced technology system-wide. This worked on the pedagogy and curriculum, as well as the teachers, headmasters and administrators,” he said.
He noted that a major success factor in the programme was the partnership with the communities, which ensured that members of the community took ownership of the schools in their domain.
“The school is not just another government project, but it is owned by the priests, community leaders, nurses, retired teachers and other members of the community. This helps with feedback and enables the government to know what the people really need. This was a different approach that ensured that the people were carried along,” he added.
Responding, Senior Economist, World Bank Group, Gloria Joseph-Raji, said the bank’s investment in education had created a model out of Edo State.
Her words: “We saw the government’s commitment and prepared a result-based financing programme in the state. We had to take bold steps in investing to improve the quality of education, seeing the different other factors that were limiting access across the country, such as social and gender norms and insecurity.”