In an innovative move, Bayelsa State in Nigeria is leveraging technology to combat learning poverty among its students. The state government on last Thursday initiated BayelsaPRIME (Primary Education), an education reform programme designed to address the pressing issue of learning poverty, which affects over 70 percent of Nigerian school children.
One of the core components of this ambitious programme involves providing tech tools to teachers in the state. Over 2,000 teachers across 222 schools have received tablets, smartphones, and power banks to aid them in improving teaching quality and student outcomes, the government said.
The tablets and smartphones come equipped with a range of educational apps and resources, allowing teachers to access vital information and teaching guides relevant to classroom management and lesson planning. This tech infusion aims to streamline the teaching process and enhance the overall learning experience for students.
In addition, these gadgets help keep track of attendance and monitor how well teachers are doing. Each morning, teachers like Jacqueline Namah-Nabena, who works at Community Primary School Opolo in Yenagoa, do a quick process with the headteacher’s smartphone. This process records the exact time when a teacher arrives at school and makes it easy to share important information and teaching materials with their tablets.
The BayelsaPRIME programme is a comprehensive effort to transform the state’s primary education system. It began with a thorough survey assessing the numeracy and literacy levels of children in public schools, identifying areas that required intervention. Common challenges such as teacher truancy, inadequate learning materials, outdated classroom management methods, and poor instructional materials were identified and addressed using technology and global best practices.
The state government said that “one noteworthy feature of the initiative is the elimination of teacher absenteeism. With the new tech-enabled attendance tracking system, teachers must be physically present in school to mark their attendance using their tablets. This ensures greater accountability and participation in the teaching process.”
Furthermore, teachers now have helpful lesson guides that replace poor-quality notes. These guides have been tried and tested, making teaching more effective and improving education in Bayelsa.
The programme also gives schools important goals to aim for and helps them measure their progress. Thanks to technology, Bayelsa State can even predict how well teachers, schools, and students will do, making education more data-driven and successful.
As the global community observes International Literacy Day under the theme “Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies,” the BayelsaPRIME programme serves as a shining example of how technology can be harnessed to address literacy challenges and contribute to building more inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable societies.
This initiative goes along with what UNESCO wants, which is saying that literacy is really important for building these kinds of societies. It’s all about learning and using reading and math skills.