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June 23, 2021
Education

Unimited Access to Learning: DSN, Others Launch e-Learning Platform

Experts Seek Curriculum Review to Support Online Learning

By Uchechukwu Nnaike

As part of efforts to reduce the urban-rural learning disparities in Nigeria, Data Science Nigeria, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation has launched the new Learn at Home audio e-learning platform to provide free, online and unlimited learning access to more than 100 million Nigerian youths.

This first-of-its-kind audio e-learning platform will offer unlimited access based on the national mobile phone penetration, low-data and basic feature phone requirements. The platform is a continuum of Data Science Nigeria’s successful ‘Learn at Home’ initiative, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, that provided learning to millions of Nigerian pupils amid the COVID-19 disruptive restrictions.

Learn at Home is based on an inclusive e-learning approach. It is designed to eliminate the barriers of internet access (data) cost and over-dependency on expensive smartphones in the delivery of locally relevant, convenient and inexpensive access to quality education.

The Learn at Home audio e-learning initiative, www.learnathome.radio is part of an extensive effort to reduce the urban-rural learning disparities in Nigeria.

Mastercard Foundation said it is a continuation of efforts to ensure universal learning and improve learning outcomes across all communities in Nigeria. Already, more than four million students have joined audio classes with USSD/SMS support, where they receive educational materials on key subjects, based on the Nigerian Educational Research and Development (NERDC) curriculum for primary and secondary school students.

According to the Country Head, Mastercard Foundation Nigeria, Chidinma Lawanson, “the disruption of the pandemic did not only halt learning for many, but also revealed and exacerbated existing inequalities in learning opportunities. The purpose of www.learnathome.radio is to ensure that children have equal, convenient, and affordable access to quality learning.”

On the platform, pupils and students from primary one to senior secondary three (SS3) will gain access to a special examination readiness series that include a collection of solved past questions in WAEC, NECO, BECE and Common Entrance from 2009 to 2020. Expert teachers have been engaged to provide answers and explanations to the past questions in a step-by-step and easy-to-understandformat, with complementary live classes that enable each student to learn at a preferred pace irrespective of location and socio-economic conditions.

Speaking on the initiative, the Executive Director of Data Science Nigeria, Toyin Adekanmbi described it as “a creative and innovative approach to democratize learning in Nigeria and provide an effective solution to the challenge of unequal distribution of learning and education opportunities in rural and urban
communities.”

She said: “The Learn at Home audio e-learning initiative will build on the clear successes we recorded in the quest to ensure ongoing learning for children during the pandemic restrictions, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged, through our audio classes in several cities in Nigeria. It is specifically
designed for smooth functionality on basic feature phones operating on the EDGE or 2G network and low data. For MTN users, it is absolutely free. With this, children in rural and remote communities can learn from the highest quality teachers at their own pace and prepare for important examinations with the best resources and educational aids developed based on the approved curriculum.”

Besides the examination preparation series, www.learnathome.radio features a wide variety of content, including amazing global facts, inspirational quotes, current affairs, common errors in the English Language, and much more.

One of the parents already taking advantage of the platform, Mr. Nwachukwu, lauded it as a breakthrough innovation. “Before, platforms like this one were usually only for those who could afford expensive laptops or smartphones and daily internet subscriptions. Now, everychild, every where can learn.”

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