1 Million Disadvantaged School Children to Benefit From ‘Learn at Home’ Project by Data Science Nigeria/Malezi in Partnership With the Mastercard Foundation
[Lagos, Nigeria] – Prolonged school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have left millions of children in Nigeria without any formal school learning over the last six months. Cut off from any instruction, feedback, or interaction with their teachers, learners are now at risk of losing important learning gains and will need to catch up on what they missed.
Data Science Nigeria and Malezi have joined hands with the Mastercard Foundation to provide opportunities for continued learning while schools are closed and build long-term resilience in the Nigerian education system to withstand potential future disruptions to the school calendar.
The initiative, entitled ‘Learn at Home’, will enable remote learning through multiple channels; namely, radio, mobile and web, and aims to provide learning access for 1 Million children in Nigeria within the next 12 months. This initiative is made possible by the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.
This pandemic continues to upend basic assumptions about where, when, and how we learn and work. Right now, the priority, in terms of education, is ensuring that children learn—no matter where they are or whether they have access to the internet. Ensuring universal learning continuity is critical if we are going to mitigate not just losses in learning, but the overall inequality being perpetuated by this crisis”, said Chidinma Lawanson, Country Head, Nigeria at the Mastercard Foundation.
The project delivery is split into two major channels. Offline and online learning. Data Science Nigeria will take charge of delivering the offline learning and has created a localized and relevant learning syllabus that can easily be accessed on radio stations close to the children and on any mobile phone by simply dialling a USSD code, a data connection is not required.
Speaking on the five key differentiators of this project, Toyin Adekanmbi, Executive Director of Data Science Nigeria said “Our approach to tackling education for disadvantaged kids rests on our understanding of the obstacles and we have worked to overcome them head on. Learn from Home requires no internet connection to access, the curriculum is localized per locations across Nigeria and based on the NERDC curriculum, the highest quality standard of teachers have been engaged for content delivery and each student will have a unique school registration number that allows student-teacher engagement and regular opportunity to test learning using simple mobile telephony services like USSD and SMS’’.
Malezi, who have experience in large-scale education across several countries in Africa will be in charge of delivering the online learning. Malezi will provide a rich learning experience to children who have access to internet connectivity and smart devices. This category will cover self-paced learning with numerous curriculum-aligned e-notes, videos and quizzes as well as teacher support through live tutorials and question and answer options. Learning content will be accessed through both mobile and web platforms. Malezi also plans to offer downloadable learning material for those students who experience intermittent data connectivity.
The ‘Learn at Home’ project will commence just in time for the back-to-school season in late September/early October 2020 and will prove critical learning for children across the country whether they have access to the internet or are offline. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, a return to in-person school delivery is yet to be determined by many state governments, making this intervention by Data Science Nigeria, Malezi and the Mastercard Foundation especially timely.
Speaking on the project, Mrs Alade, a parent of two children who are potential beneficiaries of the program said ‘’This is a well needed help for us parents. We need our children who have not been in school for a long time to catch up on all they have missed. Thank you for this’’.
About Data Science Nigeria
Data Science Nigeria is a registered non-profit organization, run and managed by the Data Scientists Network Foundation, with a vision to build a world-class Artificial Intelligence (AI) knowledge, research and innovation ecosystem that delivers high-impact transformational research, business use applications, AI-first start-ups, support employability and social good use cases. We are poised to accelerate Nigeria’s socio-economic development through a solution-oriented application of machine learning in solving social/business problems. Data Science Nigeria (DSN) non-profit has been in the forefront of data and data science skills acquisition in Nigeria.
DSN runs a broad-based capacity intervention across Nigeria with broader beneficiary base through its free trainings (kids, pre-university students, professionals and business executives across states in Nigeria). These initiatives are in line with Data Science Nigeria’s vision and commitment to raising one million AI talents in 10 years and thus position Nigeria as one of the top 10 AI talent/knowledge destinations with 20% GDP multiplier impact.
Malezi is a EdTech company whose mission is to enable new forms of learning and working that leverage technology. Digital technology can bring quality education and skills development to all children and the youth while creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment. As part of its mission, Malezi has developed several platforms to provide a rich learning experience to children who have access to internet connectivity and smart devices where learning content is accessed through both mobile and web platforms.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.
For more information on the Foundation, please visit: http://www.mastercardfdn.org About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program
The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defence against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
Data Science Nigeria
Project Lead, EdTech, Data Science
The Mastercard Foundation
Nonye Mpho Omotola
Country Lead, Program Communications