Telecommunications services provider, Airtel, is joining hands with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to connect 620 primary schools in Nigeria to digital learning in the next months. The partnership, which is under the Reimagine Education Initiative is expected to benefit 300,000 students across the country with access to the internet and devices.
According to a statement released on Friday by Airtel, In the first year of the five-year partnership, the telecom company will provide all the resources for digital learning to the 620 identified schools including reliable broadband connectivity, tablets, and free access to a world-class curriculum through the Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP).
NLP, developed by the Federal Ministry of Education, UNICEF and Microsoft, is an e-learning platform with online and offline capability that enables continuous access to quality education.
While the telecom company is to provide the students with uninterrupted access to quality learning materials, it will also be providing free access for any Airtel subscriber to Youth Agency Market Place (YOMA), a UNICEF digital platform for skilling, upskilling, and encouraging young people's engagement.
- Currently, YOMA has 115,000 users in Nigeria. This number is expected to grow with Airtel support, especially for young people living in hard-to- reach areas with no to low access to data or connectivity.
- Airtel said it has completed the process of providing free access to the two digital platforms for the targeted beneficiaries. Airtel has committed US$1.3m worth of complimentary data for the two platforms and data provision for learners in the year alone.
- Twenty schools in Lagos and Kano will be connected in December 2022, while the connection of the remaining 600 schools will be concluded before the end of February 2023, complete with ultra-modern routers tablets and mobile broadband network.
While noting that the intervention programme would help to bridge the huge digital gap that currently exists in mostly rural primary schools across Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel in Nigeria, Surendran Chemmenkotil, said:
"With this programme and partnership, we are providing both world-class education and digital inclusion for thousands of underprivileged children and our goal is to connect, empower and transform as many children and young people as possible. Education is power, and connectivity provides the leverage to become unstoppable. At Airtel, we are confident that this investment will not just transform lives but will create a wonderful future for millions of Nigerian children and young people."
The UNICEF's Country Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate said:
"This is an important milestone and a step closer in reducing the digital divide in Nigeria. Quality digital learning is the fastest route to improving learning and equipping children and young people with the 21" century skills needed to fulfil their potential and to live their dreams. We are delighted that Airtel Nigeria shares UNICEF's vision and will help in driving the process to scale-up access to digital learning for children and young people across these schools."