The need to integrate indigenous languages with digital education resources in promoting literacy skills in line with 21st-century expectations has prompted stakeholders in the education sector to initiate and seek public-private partnerships to boost the availability of these resources to students in Nigeria.
Stakeholders who took part in the just-concluded August edition of Ed-tech Monday – an initiative of Mastercard Foundation in partnership with CcHub Limited all agreed on the need to bring indigenous language into digital teaching and learning.
This virtual discussion-themed “Access to Digital resources” featured discussants from different segments of the education industry.
Speaking during the virtual discussion, Gideon Olanrewaju noted that a lack of digital skills and in-access to digital resources are the major challenges affecting digital learning in Nigeria and while developed countries have gone ahead to adopt strategies such as the flip classroom method.
“The foundation of learning which begins with comprehension skills has been affected due to failure of educators at both private and public sectors to adopt languages best understood by the students,” Olanrewaju said.
“As you are aware, if the children are unable to have such foundational skills, it would be very difficult for them to access or use the knowledge that is obtainable from digital resources.”
He enjoined government and educators to employ the use of indigenous languages in teaching students. He further enjoined govt and stakeholders to invest in community-level infrastructural development to find lasting solutions to the problem of access to digital resources.
Speaking also, the Digital Content and Innovation Manager, Airtel Networks Limited, Bankole Alao noted that connectivity remains a huge barrier to the adoption of digital learning in Nigeria particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him the solution to this challenge lies in the readiness of stakeholders to collaborate in creating the right content and bringing technological solutions while also making digital devices affordable and available.
“In tackling the problem of connectivity, we must adopt a strategy based on collaboration where all stakeholders agree on what the right content should be while considering the connectivity and affordability of the devices,” he said.
“This means that, if we are looking at solving the problem, we can begin to look at the primary school level. Once we are done, we then rest assured that those who are going to secondary school have the right foundation.”
Kayode Akinwale, a member of Virtual Learning Teachers noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has further proven how effective and valuable technology can be in aiding digital learning not only among the pupils but also the parents.
Akinwale identified connectivity cost, poor power supply, limited understanding of digital resources by students, teachers and cost of digital devices as major barriers which need to be overcome in Nigeria to guarantee equitable access to digital resources for the students.
“One key issue which needs to be tackled is the problem of affordability both for connectivity and devices, Networks providers can also provide free access to learning platforms just as it is done by Facebook,” he added.