New Telegraph

Buhari should be held accountable for UNGA 77 Digital learning

President Muhammadu Buhari has told stakeholders in the education sector at the just concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77)
that he was worried about the low adoption of digital learning in Nigeria.

The President in his speech at the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77), which was his last participation as Nigerias’ President At the three-day Transforming Education Summit organised on the sidelines of the 77th UNGA, President Buhari said his government would reach all learners wherever they are with quality, inclusive learning and skills development opportunities.

At the Thematic Session Four tagged ‘Digital Transformation of Education’, the President admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed the adoption of digital learning options across Nigeria and that going forward, his administration would further promote this with the National Digital Learning Policy as a guide.

“The National Digital Learning Policy focuses on the long-term vision of inclusive digital transformation by increasing public provisioning for digital learning”. President Buhari said

Speaking in his speech to the concerned stakeholders, the President stated that he was worried about the low adoption of digital learning in the country because apart from private schools and states like Lagos and Edo working with international ed-tech platforms, public schools have been slow in adopting it, despite the benefits.

“Traditional methods of using blackboards and making teachers the focus remain the prevalent learning methods across large swathes of the country” Buhari said.

“Add the dilapidated structures to the mix, and the emergent picture of teaching/learning is ugly. However, empirical studies have highlighted the importance and benefits of digital learning; hence President Buhari’s declaration at UNGA 77 merely trumpets what the concerned stakeholders had been crying about. Unlike the traditional method of using blackboards and the classroom setting being teacher-centred, digital, as the name implies, means the use of digital boards; it is student-centred and encourages the use of computers, mobile devices and social media for learning”. 

He further said Social media had become an essential element of the e-learning experience and Digital learning has been shown to, among others, create a more dynamic environment by turning traditionally dull subjects into interactive and fun activities, incorporating different learning styles to benefit all the students, improving collaboration, connecting students better and preparing children for the future.

“Besides, which child would prefer carrying a stack of notebooks and textbooks instead of a light iPad or device? Or who would want a weighty text instead of surfing an e-book?  In a scholarly article entitled ‘Understanding the role of digital technologies in education: A review’, the quartet of Abid Haleem, Mohd Javaid, Mohd Asim Qadri and Rajiv Suman further highlighted the need for digital technologies in education” Buhari said

Buhari said the Lagos state government for had been proactive in Preparing pupils for a digital future by introducing technology to them at an early age and meeting the United Nations’ sustainable development 2030 agenda on quality education which made Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to inaugurate EKOEXCEL, an educational intervention to transform Lagos public primary schools through technology deployment in 2009.

The initiative he said “The initiative was most helpful in Lagos State during the COVID-19 era, helping prepare pupils in terminal classes for their final examination while keeping others fresh. Commendably, the impacts have been felt among pupils and teachers, with empirical studies affirming the gains. Some EKOEXCEL teachers, including Fausat Adegeye, have also taken to social media to assist their pupils.Interestingly, the Edo State Government under Governor Obaseki had seen the benefits and adopted the same a year before Lagos did with EDOBEST, still with NewGlobe. This ed-tech platform supports visionary governments by creating robust technology-enabled education systems as the technical partner”.

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