By Adesina Wahab
Over one million disadvantaged children in Nigeria are to benefit from the Learn At Home Project being championed by Data Science Nigeria, DSN/Malezi in conjunction with MasterCard Foundation.
The project is to bridge the gap created by prolonged school closure brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic which has left millions of children in Nigeria without any formal school learning over the last six months.
Cut off from any instruction, feedback, or interaction with their teachers, learners are now at risk of losing important learning gains and will need to catch up on what they missed.
This was disclosed by experts from DSN/Malezi and MasterCard Foundation during the virtual launch of the project recently.
The project is to provide opportunities for continued learning while schools are closed and build long-term resilience in the Nigerian education system to withstand potential future disruptions to the school calendar.
The initiative will enable remote learning through multiple channels; namely, radio, mobile and web, and aims to provide learning access for one million children in Nigeria within the next 12 months.
The initiative is made possible by the MasterCard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.
Speaking on the occasion, Chidinma Lawanson, Country Head, Nigeria at the MasterCard Foundation, said, “This pandemic continues to upend basic assumptions about where, when, and how we learn and work. Right now, the priority, in terms of education, is ensuring that children learn—no matter where they are or whether they have access to the internet. Ensuring universal learning continuity is critical if we are going to mitigate not just losses in learning, but the overall inequality being perpetuated by this crisis.”
Speaking on the five key differentiators of this project, Toyin Adekanmbi, Executive Director of Data Science Nigeria, said; “Our approach to tackling education for disadvantaged kids rests on our understanding of the obstacles and we have worked to overcome them head on. Learn At Home requires no internet connection to access, the curriculum is localized per locations across Nigeria and based on the NERDC curriculum, the highest quality standard of teachers have been engaged for content delivery and each student will have a unique school registration number that allows student-teacher engagement and regular opportunity to test learning using simple mobile telephony services like USSD and SMS.
“The ‘Learn at Home’ project will commence just in time for the back-to-school season in late September/early October 2020 and will prove critical learning for children across the country whether they have access to the internet or are offline. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, a return to in-person school delivery is yet to be determined by many state governments, making this intervention by Data Science Nigeria, Malezi and the MasterCard Foundation especially timely.”