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EdoBEST@Home: A model that works within, outside schools

Governor Godwin Obaseki’s EdoBEST has continued to evolve to meet the challenges of delivering world-class education to urban and rural children, writes Teliat Sule
With the world going digital, taking advantage of technology to advance the course of education among other life processes is what most education delivery institutions have turned to and EdoBEST was a pioneer in this regard following the covid inspired lockdown.

When Lucky Okojie accessed the EdoBEST@home platform during the holidays, he did so in anticipation that the platform would keep his children occupied for the holiday period. Introduced by the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), EdoBEST@Home is an online platform that helps children access educational materials through structured virtual lessons.

“EdoBEST@Home helped my children learn during the holiday period rather than staying idle. I saw improvement in their learning especially because they did not lag behind when their school resumed for a new term”, Okojie said with great enthusiasm as he scrolled through the virtual classroom.

Setting a precedence
EdoBEST has leveraged technology to deliver sterling educational content in uniformity across over 2000 schools irrespective of location or number of students. The programme has strategically improved the standard of learning in Edo state through a working methodology and standardized teaching techniques geared towards improving the quality of learning and professionalism in schools.
While traditionally, there is normally a lull in learning during the holidays, EdoBEST has gone a step further by launching an inexpensive solution that caters to students even from the comfort of their homes. This virtual classroom can be accessed by parents with a smartphone, thus revolutionizing the concept of education in Edo state.
The EdoBEST@Home initiative of the EdoBEST programme is a mobile-based remote learning programme that extends the pre-existing Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme beyond the walls of the classroom, ensuring that learning is continuous.

A review of educational research indicated that while children are at home during the summer holidays which is the longest holiday period, the learning loss equaled about one month on a grade-level equivalent scale. Studies estimate the effect of summer break as more detrimental for maths than for reading and most detrimental for maths computation and spelling. Also, middle-class students appeared to gain on grade-level equivalent reading recognition tests over the summer while lower-class students lost on them.

The EdoBEST@Home mobile-based remote learning programme is a holistic suite that includes interactive audio lessons, digital self-study activity packets, digital storybooks, mobile interactive quizzes, learning guides for parents, and virtual classrooms that enable interaction between teachers and students via WhatsApp.
The whole package makes it impossible for parents not to be aware or interested in the learning journeys of their children during the holiday since children use their parents’ mobile phones.

Read also: Edo will sustain gains of $500m investment in oil palm – Obaseki

Building a tech-savvy tomorrow
To foster effective use of the educational resources provided and to ensure learning, EdoBEST@Home focuses on four key aspects: first, providing engaging programming focused on content aligned to the curriculum; second, supporting teachers and parents to enable them help pupils; third, formative assessment in the form of interactive quizzes; and fourth, on-going interaction between EdoSUBEB and teachers to ensure that the system is continuously improved and optimized.

Because the programme relies on the support of parents to encourage their children during the holidays, parents play a major role in helping their children develop a healthy attitude towards learning. This also helps children overcome some of the potential challenges posed by online learning such as, remaining focused during virtual classes or staying focused.

Positive attitudes towards learning, self-regulation and intrinsic motivation to learn, play an important role in improving performance at school in general, but important should online learning continue.

While the effects of the EdTech solution known as EdoBEST@Home can be seen short-term through an improvement in the learning outcomes of students in these schools, the long-term effects are even more encouraging. Using technology as an enabler of education, children in EdoBEST schools are exposed to the advantages of education technology.

With the online platform, children are encouraged to make the most of new technologies for learning.
Parents who have used the platform have attested to the fact that there have been significant improvements in their learning journey. Ighane who had to go the extra mile in getting a smartphone to enable her daughter to access the platform noted that having a scheduled time for the lessons has kept her daughter occupied.

“I purposely bought a smartphone to be able to access the online learning platform when I noticed her seriousness in the class. She has been learning more than ever before. The class is very interactive and this encourages the pupils to participate in the class. As early as 6am, my daughter will pick up my phone to connect with her classmates”, Joy Ibhane noted enthusiastically as she showed off her daughter’s classroom.

Technology as an enabler of education
Education is an integral part of a state’s Human Development Index. Indeed, any government that is concerned with the development of the future generation will invest in education.
The Godwin Obaseki-led government in Edo State has left no stone unturned in investing in the future through the EdoBEST programme. “Investing in our people will continue to be a priority in 2022 as we roll out the EdoBEST framework to all tiers of education in the state,” Governor Obaseki has said.

The effect of the programme continues to justify it. By taking the lead through digitizing basic education service delivery, Edo state has continued to receive accolades for its exemplary reform which has been copied by several ministries of education within and outside Nigeria.
At present, Edo state remains the only sub-national programme to be part of the World Bank Accelerator programme.

According to Jaime Saavedra, Education Director of the World Bank, Edo state is setting a great example for others seeking to improve their education systems. He lauded the programme’s efforts in using technology as a vehicle for transformative education steering the state away from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I want to highlight three aspects of the EdoBEST programmes that show its output and its potential; firstly, its expanded use of technology, second the understanding that technology on its own is critical but not enough, third Edo has been very fast at adapting to the reality of COVID-19,” Saavedra notes.
With a methodology targeted at delivering superior learning outcomes, a crop of professionally updated teachers and a methodology that motivates children to learn, EdoBEST is definitely delivering 21-Century education through cutting-edge technology.

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