KADUNA, North-West Nigeria – The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), has said the Nigeria Learning Passport, (NLP) digital platform has provided access to quality teaching and learning resources to 280,000 pupils, teachers, parents and young people across the nation.
Even as over 20,000 Nigerian primary school pupils and teachers use the digital platform in learning literacy, numeracy and other subjects.
UNICEF Nigeria Country Director, Ms Cristian Munduate, asserted this while speaking at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, (DAC) 2023 with the theme “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment”, on Friday at the LEA Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Primary School, Kaduna.
She said the NLP also provides access to a curriculum of 15,000 learning and training materials in English and local languages for pupils, teachers and parents.
Munduate said the NLP, can be accessed online, offline and through mobile devices, and called on the Government to expand access to the NLP for children in the country, saying digital technology provides a platform to innovate, and could promote inclusive quality education for children.
She noted that the NLP does not only have the potential to bridge access to quality learning opportunities, but its offline module which allows for deployment in rural and hard-to-reach environments where there is no access to the internet, promotes inclusiveness and can help bridge the digital divide.
The NLP has been introduced to the Northwest states and is currently being piloted in schools in Ikara, Kaduna South and Jaba Local Government Areas of Kaduna state.
Teachers in the schools are also taught new teaching methodologies which makes teaching and learning easier through the Teaching at the Right Level, (TaRL).
According to Munduate, “This year, the theme is apt, because it focuses attention on an important aspect of the right that children – like adults – should have, access to the digital platforms and skills.
“You have just accompanied me on a tour of this school and have seen children accessing learning through the Nigeria Learning Passport digital platform. If there was any doubt as to why children should have access to digital platforms, what we have just seen here today clears that doubt.
“In 2022, the Federal Ministry of Education and UNICEF, with the support of partners, launched the Nigeria Learning Passport to expand access to quality learning for children in Nigeria. The Nigeria Learning Passport can be accessed online, offline and through mobile devices.
“With the support of its partners, UNICEF has supported 780 schools in hard-to-reach-areas and rural schools with 13,500 tablets, 1,000 smart rechargeable projectors, and 780 internet routers provided by Airtel. Furthermore, connectivity has been enabled for 186 schools through a partnership with IHS Towers, and data costs removed through the whitelisting of the NLP on an Airtel SIM card.
“As digital technology provides a platform to innovate, and can promote inclusive quality education for children, I would like to call on government to expand access to the NLP for children in Nigeria. I also urge all stakeholders, and the media, to raise awareness of the existence and benefits of the Nigeria Learning Passport to increase use of the platform. It’s a huge opportunity to improve access to, and quality of learning, in Nigeria. For a prosperous nation, we have to put children first,” she said.
Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, Abdullahi Tijjani, said Kaduna state is piloting TaRL packet in three Local Government Areas of the state, hoping to scale up to all the remaining LGAs with the support of UNICEF.
Tijjani who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Mubarak Mohammed, said the NLP and TaRL packet are in line with the transformation agenda of the state.
He added that the aim is to provide the basic skills to all children in Kaduna state, numeracy, literacy, transferable skills as well as digital skills. “So the state is in partnership with UNICEF, where the Fund is supporting the state to actualize the dreams based on the state’s education policy,” he said.
The SUBEB boss also said the NLP would not only help the children to have the numeracy and literacy skills, but to also acquired digital skills. “You would agree with me that in this age of digital transformation, digital skills are needed for children to make heads way in their learning . So the state is actively collaborating with UNICEF and other partners to enhance distance learning,” he said.
Head Teacher of Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Model Primary School, Mallam Muntari Lawal, said blending conventional teaching methods using digital system has improved their teaching and learning process in the school.
He said the NLP has solved the work load of teachers, “This has greatly improved our teaching in terms of numeracy, illiteracy and even in teaching other subjects related to primary school,” he said.
Lawal thanked UNICEF and the Kaduna State Government for choosing the school one of the beneficiaries for the pilot programme.
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