Statistics (UNESCO/UIL Global Monitoring Report, 2015) have shown that Nigeria has 10.5 million children who are out of school, which is about the highest number in the world. Nearly 6.3 million (60%) of out-of-school children live in the northern part of the country, and of this figure, over 71% are girls and women. Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2014) statistics further indicated that the North-East region of the country is at the top of the nation’s out of school table and begs immediate intervention to get back on track. According to the State’s Ministry of Education data (2015), Bauchi State has the highest rate of school age children who are out of school, especially females, in the North-East Region of the country.
Women and Girls literacy has been seen as the gateway to development while the economic benefits of educating women and girls in any society is on the rise. In the bid to increase educational opportunities for girls and women who are disempowered by the inability of females to access quality education due to cultural socioeconomic, religious, and security challenges, especially in the North-East Nigeria, UNESCO launched the School Meet the Learner Approach (SMLA) Initiative in 2017. This launch brought to live the second phase of the UNESCO Project on Empowering Girls and Women in Literacy and Skills Development using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The goal of the Project is to provide Basic Literacy and Livelihood Skills to 50,000 Girls and Women in Bauchi State in order to reduce imbalances and disparities in the education of males and females over a period of two years. The target population includes Girls and Women whose access to Education are denied due to the security, cultural and or religious challenges in the region, who are in school but stand the risk of dropping out, who have dropped out of schools so early that they could not acquire the basic literacy skills, and who have not attended school at all thereby.
The specific project objectives include:
- Increased access of 50,000 girls and women to basic literacy and empowering them to obtain basic education and skills development through the use of ICT by 2017
- Increased enrolment, retention and transition rates to higher level of education and prevention of school drop – out of girls in selected LGAs and communities in Bauchi State.
- Second opportunity provided to girl dropouts to reinsert into the mainstream education and complete their studies within the appropriate level.
- Enhanced Teaching and Learning Process through the provision of e-Learning content for girls and a follow up guide for Teachers, focusing on students’ progress assessment and documentation, as well as skills acquisition for economic empowerment of out-of-school girls and women.
This project is based on global trends and local experiences of mobile learning and the use of mobile devices to impart knowledge to the increasing population of disadvantaged school-aged children in the North of Nigeria. Advocacy, Community mobilization and Sensitization will be the first engagement with line Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and all key stakeholders from the national, state and local government levels to ensure ownership of the project, thematic focus and shared objectives. ICTs will play a key role in transmitting e-lessons/e-learning content through Mobile Devices by giving support in selected subject areas in Junior Secondary School (JSS) 2 and JSS 3. This e-Learning will be implemented in line with the needs identified and community context. The learners, while receiving their e-learning lessons through either mobile phone or other devices, will meet with a facilitator once a week to share their experiences and ascertain progress and challenges at various stages of the process.
Achievements (To Time)
As at December 2018, the project has
- Procured and distributed over one thousand, one hundred and ninety (1,190) Mobile devices directly to the beneficiaries with state support;
- Developed an Application software capable of hosting both contents of the formal and non-formal lessons with the ability to run on Microsoft Windows and Google Android devices;
- Developed, Improved and digitized Lesson Content for Non-Formal Education Learners as well as that for Junior Secondary School (JSS) 2 Students both with NMEC and NERDC consent respectively;
- Migrated the Lesson Contents onto Mobile Devices and desktop Computers in Computer Centers in the six target Local Government Areas as well as onto the over 1190 procured devices;
- Trained over 200 personnel’s which included 120 Teachers and 80 Facilitators to serve as the Training of Trainers for the Project;
Procured and distributed exercise books and other learning materials, T-shirts to the target groups to serve as learning aid to enhance learning and provide visibility for the project.