Lagos offers free smartphones to promote education
Distance-learning initiatives in Nigeria aim to reach more students.
Nigeria is finding successful solutions to keep children learning over the summer or any time that schools are not physically open. Smartphones are now being distributed in Lagos, while data plans and learning apps are now offered to pupils in other parts of Nigeria – all free of charge – so students can continue their studies.
When Nigeria closed its schools in March, many students were unable to continue learning. According to the educational nonprofit Teach for All, a home-based learning curriculum was quickly developed.
Fellows from the organization developed and recorded lessons for grades one through six and they were broadcasted over the government radio station. This has been so successful in Nigeria that this type of learning has also been implemented in Chile.
Using the radio to teach enables educators to access children right across the country, including those living in rural areas.In fact, according to The Global Economy, half of the Nigerian population was living rurally in 2018. In order to connect with students living in remote areas, thousands of radios were given to those in need. Classes are also being taught on television and via the internet.
In Southwestern Nigeria, Oyo State has started to offer 500MB of free data to students participating in an online program and thanks to this initiative, educators can now reach some 60 to 70 percent of their region’s students.
Many children in Lagos, the sprawling capital of 17.5 million people, could not participate in online learning according to The Guardian. This is often due to frequent power shortages and the high expense of purchasing data plans.
In order to address this issue, it was recently announced that children in Lagos will receive a free smartphone so they can access online learning. The cellphones come equipped with data as well as an app called Roducate, which allows students to access the curriculum, class videos, and participate in classroom chats.
So far, 20,000 phones have been given out. The eventual goal is to donate 300,000 phones to students in need. As the government is unsure how long schools will be closed, it is investing time and money into developing distance learning curriculums and aspires to reach as many students as it can.
The country has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world according to Teach for Nigeria. Distance learning, however, can help decrease these statistics; it can reach out to Nigerian girls who are not in school and also address the country’s shortage of classroom teachers. With millions of Nigerians living a nomadic life, many agencies also hope that online learning could soon enrich these people.
Many Nigerian children are now benefiting from free smartphones and are loving distance learning. Since E-learning is quickly becoming an important learning platform for the future, the Nigerian government is investing wisely.