The United Nations Children’s Fund on Thursday said no fewer than 9.7 million Nigerian students are at risk of never returning to school.
The UN body noted this in Abuja, during the launch of the Nigeria Learning Platform, an online, mobile and soon-to-be offline learning platform that will provide continuous education to three million learners in 2022 alone.
The UNICEF’s Executive Director, Catherine Russell in a goodwill message delivered at the launch, noted that the “passport” will help education resources to reach the most vulnerable and marginalised learners.
She said, “Before COVID-19, about 10.5 million Nigerian children aged between 5 and 14 were not in school. Today in Nigeria, more than 9.7 million children are at risk of never returning to school, their learning left behind. The learning passport can help change that.
“By offering simple, easy and fun ways to learn, as well as tailor-made training programmes, the learning platform will help respond to the needs of every child.
“With online, offline and mobile options, it can help us reach the most vulnerable and marginalised learners.”
The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, represented at the launch by the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, noted that there must be a change in the education sector to ensure continuity of learning.
“To ensure continuity of learning for all children and the resilience of education systems to future shocks, we must change and reimagine the education sector.
“Deploying innovations that rethink the current methodologies, including new approaches to delivering education in ways that defy the digital divide, and ensuring learning continuity in emergencies, has become imperative,” he said.
The UNICEF country director for Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, added that the deployment of the learning platform will provide learning opportunities when face-to-face interaction is not feasible or when children need to revise what they have learnt in school.