How UNICEF is revolutionising education with Nigeria Learning Passport

Nigeria alongside other African countries last Friday, the 16th of June commemorated this year’s Day of the African Child with the theme: “The rights of the Child in the Digital Environment”.

In line with the theme, the Nigerian Learning Passport, NLP, is currently filling the gaps in digital learning and teaching in Nigerian schools.

A field trip to one of the public schools in Lagos, Ladoje Nursery and Primary school, Orile-Agege, revealed how the United Nations Children’s Fund is revolutionising digital learning and teaching with the Nigeria Learning Passport, NLP.

For pupils of Ladoje Primary school, it is now learning made easy. “I wish the Governor will distribute more of the tablets for us to take home for better learning and understanding to students. My parents don’t have android phones and I can only use it while the teacher is teaching,” nine years old Akindele says.

Akindele is one of the Primary Three Students of Ladoje Nursery and Primary School, Orile Agege where UNICEF and partners have deployed the NLP to transform learning and development of the Nigerian children.

For him, the tablets were distributed to teachers and few students but the short period he has used the tablets have improved his understanding of his teacher’s teachings.

“It has been very useful and it improves the brain and makes people understand better.” he added.

Like Akindele, Abigal Ayoleye, in Primary 5, says it has improved her learning.

“My performance in mathematics has improved. I understand better now and I am also happy that I can see what the teacher is teaching. It has boosted my brain; it is helping me understand what they teacher taught us.

“We do not have access to it at home. I will like to have it to support my learning and improve my literacy.  I am now getting first position because of the NLP but before I was taking 5th position.  I am happy,” she said amidst excitement.

Before the advent of COVID-19, digital learning was seen as an exclusive right of private schools, today, the introduction of the Nigeria Learning Passport, NLP, is transforming education in Nigeria and providing students like Akindele and Abigal access to helpful study tools such as multimedia content, including videos, animations, interactive quizzes, practice tests, and progress tracking.

The Nigeria Learning Passport, NLP, is an online e-learning platform with mobile and offline capabilities, enabling continuous access to quality education. It is part of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s education cloud project supported by UNICEF for providing all learners with e-learning from basic to tertiary levels of education. NLP is presently accessible free on the AIRTEL telecom sim card.

For their teacher, Ms. Ramota Alawiye, NLP has made their job easier.

“We no longer repeat sessions like before. The pace at which the students learn in class has improved,” Alawiye.

In the views of the Director, Policy planning research and statistics, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Dr. Adejare Sunday Afolabi said “The way the world is going now, any child that is not familiar with ICT is out of the world. To connect them to the world, we are making sure they have ICT lab and provide tablets for better learning. He said they are partnering with UNICEF among others to provide tablets in schools and a lot of training was being carried out both at the state and local level so that all the teachers will be familiar with the usage of ICT; tablets as children learn better when they are using ICT.

“In Lagos we have about 2,000 schools and to be able to cater for every child in regards of ICT gadget, it requires a lot. Every teacher in our primary school makes use of tablet to teach the students and that’s a plus for Lagos state. When you get to secondary school you will see the same thing, they have tablets and laptops that they use. We expose them to e-learning like Nigeria learning passport. We also have other packages that we use; EKO excel and others to make sure these students are learning and they are using ICT gadgets.”

Afolabi said they are partnering with Airtel and other service providers to ensure they have internet to use the tablets, adding that the NLP has been a success in the state so far. “When it comes to performance in external exams, we are doing fine and we have been seeing results. Children are able to use the offline materials to help their studies and it is providing good results for us.”

Speaking during a field trip to the school, UNICEF Education Specialist, Babagana Aminu, who recalled that in 2020 the world was saddled with the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in school closures that lasted for over eight months and about 50 million children were kept back into their homes without attending school.

Maintaining that Education cannot wait, he said the Nigeria Learning Passport became inevitable as it provides free access to children which was developed by Microsoft for UNICEF and in Nigeria the federal ministry of education adopted the learning passport.

He also stated that it was launched nationally in March 2022 and on September 23rd, that same year, the Lagos state government adopted it to breach the learning gaps.

Aminu explained that one thing unique about the NLP is the fact that it can be deployed online and offline. “This is one of the uniqueness of the learning passport. It can be deployed in hard to reach areas and communities where internet is not possible. When the app is downloaded on a mobile phone, you can pre download the lessons and you can take it back into rural communities where you will be able to continue using it even without data. There is the offline cupserver. It is a super computer in a box. That box contains everything in the learning passport.

“Right now there are about 15,000 lessons in English, Mathematics, Basic Science, Basic Technology, Computer Science, Diction literacy and vocational training including business studies and biology. These contents are in English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, the languages that are spoken in Nigeria so that we can provide children from different backgrounds with content that they can read. Most importantly with the offline device, it doesn’t require internet at all because the device comes with all the content and can be deployed.”

He disclosed that in few weeks, UNICEF will be deploymore devices to 150 schools nationwide. “All you need to do is to have the Airtel sim in the device and login to Nigerian learning passport (Nigeria.learningpassport.org) and you will have free access to it. In 2021 and 2022, we worked with them to provide connectivity in over 400 communities where there is no connectivity at all. We know these requires the device whether laptops, computers or tablets and UNICEF with funding from global partners were able to support 14 states across Nigeria to have the tablets.  “We provided 13,500 tablets and over 1000 phones and the network also provided them with data and the schools have free access to data. About 870 schools are connected to the internet courtesy to Airtel across Nigeria, including Lagos, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Edo, Enugu, Benue.”

He said they have over 280,000 users across the Federation while  60,000 of them are teachers. UNICEFis calling for more partnerships to support  Nigerian  children  as many cannot afford to lose their education and education cannot wait. “This is one of the basic rights that each and every child in Nigeria should not be deprived of.”

SOURCE: VANGUARD

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