By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Ten public schools within Ibadan metropolis in Oyo State are the latest beneficiaries of the Multichoice Resource Centre project, an educational project which is designed to grant the beneficiary schools access to an Educational Bouquet that comprises of seven channels on the DSTV Bouquet.
The launch of the educational programme at Oladipo Alayande School of Science Oke-Bola, Ibadan on Thursday last week was the flag off of the implementation of its sixth phase which will cover 10 schools each in Oyo, Sokoto, Borno and Delta States.
Thus, with the project already rolled out in ten schools in the capital city of Oyo State, 131 schools nationwide have so far benefitted from the project.
Schools that have access to these Satellite technology programmes are expected to integrate them into their curriculum with the aim of enhancing the teaching and learning processes in the classroom. At each of the schools where this resource centre is established, facilities like television, DVD recorder, generator, metal cabinet, empty DVD recorder, stabilizer, whiteboard, Satellite dish, decoder, chairs and tables and unlimited free subscription for the education bouquet are put in place by Multichoice. These facilities are backed with the training of 50 teachers per state in order to make effective use of the resource equipment.
The vision of Multichoice in starting the project is to contribute to the nationâ€™s efforts at promoting qualitative learning in public schools through the use of ICT aids.
According to Mr. Segun Fayose, Multichoiceâ€™s Head of Corporate Communications, the project came into being due to the companyâ€™s conviction that education is a desirable route to follow if Nigeria is to take its pride of place in the comity of nations as world leaders.
While delivering his speech at the launching ceremony of the project, Fayose said: â€œThe Multichoice Resource Centre project is a key corporate social investment programme of our company. To become world leaders, we must start with proper education of the youths of today in order to make them true leaders of tomorrow.Â Leaders not only in the West African sub-region, leaders not only in Africa, but global leaders who can hold their heads high anywhere in the world.â€
The Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja described the project as timely and strategic as it coincides with the current drive by the state government to sensitize its citizenry on the relevance of computer technology and science education to human endeavours.
Represented by Mrs Arike Adegoke, Director of Science, Mathematics and Technology of the State Ministry of Education, Adedoja said that the several policies and strategies formulated to turn Oyo State round, especially in the areas of Science, Mathematics and Technical Education of which computer literacy and audio visual are components tally with the resource project of Multichoice.
Adedoja spoke on what students stand to benefit from the Satellite technology project: â€œThe introduction of computer education and use of audio visual, such as the one being advocated by Multichoice, will provide the children with all the necessary information that will help them to realize their great potentials for maximum exploration and exploitation of the environment. The children would thus be enhanced to think of how the world could be made a better place to live in, since the new slogan now is â€œSeeing is Understandingâ€ and no more â€œSeeing is Believingâ€.
Further, the students are adequately equipped to access information, facts and figures across the globe; and these will quicken easy learningâ€.
He continued: â€œIt therefore becomes pertinent that, in the planning of an all round and functional education, computer education and audio-visual technology must not be left behind. The fact that the future of our technological development depends on availability and accessibility of resources makes the Multichoice project a laudable one.
I, therefore, want to appeal to other organisations, either as a group or individual to follow suite in this good gesture of nation building.â€
School Net Nigeria, a non-profit organisation that is committed to the effective use of Information and Communication Technologies for enhancing teaching, has been the implementing partner of Multichoice since the project started in July 2004.
According to Mrs Ronke Bello, the Assistant National Coordinator of School Net Nigeria, the implementation of the first phase was carried out in seven schools, four in the FCT and three in Lagos State. The second phase was in 14 schools, seven schools each in Enugu and Kaduna States. The third phase was in Kano and Cross River States, with 10 schools each as beneficiaries while the fourth phase covers 10 schools each in Katsina, Abia, Ekiti and Bauchi States.
The firth phase covers 40 schools in Ogun, Gombe, Plateau and Rivers State.
To train some selected teachers in all the beneficiary schools on the use of the facilities at the resource centres, a three-day training programme was organised for them between September 16 and 18 last month.
This training programme is expected to have a multiplier effect as the trained teachers are expected to train other teachers in their schools.
In addition, an educatorâ€™s guide was provided for the schools on the use and maintenance of the Resource Centres as well as its integration into their curriculum, and to recognise the teachers, the maiden edition of Multichoice Creative Teachers Award held this year where various gifts like digital cameras, laptops were given to them while the teacher who came first was given a return ticket to South Africa.
Teachers who pariticipated in the training programme spoke glowingly of the utilitarian value of the exercise. Mr. Fasakin Akindele Ayodeji who teaches at Wesley College of Science said that at the training teachersÂ learnt how to use Satellite technology to improve teaching in the classroom, adding that they were also trained how to man and integrate the programme on the premium channels of the Bouquet.