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Facebook, Edo partner to improve connectivity for teachers, schools

Determined to improve connectivity and increase access to online training, Facebook has partnered the Edo State government to train over 2,000 local teachers through its Workplace for Good programme.

Workplace is Facebook’s communication platform, which transforms teams and organisations into connected, empowered and purposeful communities and uses familiar features like Live, video calling, chat, Feed and Safety Check to connect everyone and turn ideas into action.

The programme, which started early in 2019, now provides free teacher connectivity to four schools within Edo State, with Facebook providing assistance from education Technology Support partner re:Learn to the Edo State Universal Board of Education (SUBEB).

To further support the tech ecosystem, Facebook also invested in a meeting space in the South-South Innovation Hub for teacher training and local developer meet ups.

Adaora Ikenze, head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa for Facebook, says the partnership with Edo State government is a perfect example of how technology can positively impact education not only for students, but teachers alike.

According to the Edo Basic Education Transformation Sector (Edo-BEST), Ikenze observes that 1 in 5 teachers don’t receive relevant training to improve learning outcomes in their classrooms, adding that partnerships such as this are critical in impacting positive change in classrooms.

“We’re proud to be pioneering a first for Facebook in Nigeria, and across Africa,” Ikenze says.

Joan Osa Oviawe, chairperson, Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, while speaking about the partnership, notes that the support from Facebook will assist the state in preparing pupils to compete with their contemporaries not only in Nigeria, but across Africa.

“We have to prepare the Edo child for a competitive world; a world without boundaries where they can build valuable skills for the future, and the use of technology and internet access is an important part,” Oviawe states.

Meanwhile, building on its Infrastructure and Connectivity projects and aiming to bring further connectivity to schools within the area, Facebook also partners MainOne and Tizeti to provide fast, affordable, and reliable Internet through Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi

Commenting on the impact of the programme to the local community and the digital ecosystem in the state, Funke Opeke, MainOne CEO, lauds the Edo government for the commitment to empowering the next generation of digitally enabled youth and their teachers to transform education in their state.

Opeke says MainOne is committed to bridging the digital divide across Nigeria through continued investment in infrastructure that contributes to the growth of our local economies.

On his part, Adam Seldow, director of Education Partnerships, at Facebook adds, “It’s impressive to see the number of partners who have come together to help drive impact for this programme in Edo State – including the Edo State government, our education partners re:Learn, and our infrastructure and connectivity partners MainOne and Tizeti. We look forward to continuing our work in adding value to education in Edo State, with an additional 8,000 primary school teachers who will be added to this programme throughout 2020, but also further afield across Nigeria and Africa.”

Due to its current success, the Edo State Government has committed additional budget to connect 100 new schools in Edo State by leveraging the fiber investments and Express Wi-Fi, ensuring that over 15,000 students and teachers will have continued internet access.

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