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COVID-19: DAWN commission partners NGO to drive digital education in Southwest

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In response to the shutdown of schools due to the deadly Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN Commission on Tuesday took advantage of  the Fourth Industrial Revolution driven by digital technology by entering into a partnership with a non-governmental organisation, Ibironke Adeagbo Foundation (IAF), to revolutionize education through the introduction of e-learning device, especially amongst children from less privileged families in the South West states.

At the official handover ceremony of the devices which was held at the commission’s office, Cocoa House, Dugbe, Ibadan, the Director General of DAWN, Mr Seye Oyeleye noted that the closure of schools in the country, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of education.

The DG assured that the development will not only bridged the increasingly evident digital education divide in the Southwest as pupils cannot continue to stay at home without finding a way for them to continue learning, but also bring education to the people at the lowest affordable cost. He added that the e-learning devices would be used to engage the governors in the region as well as other critical education stakeholders and concerned private individuals and organizations.

Oyeleye emphasized that the aim of introducing the device was to ensure that no child will be left behind because of pandemic, noting that the future of education is digital, and that the future only suddenly arrived with COVID-19.

According to him, “In the quest to make sure that everyone is carried along, we said let us have an irreducible minimum of digital education soon the kids will have access to. Because we know that we can’t afford the high end digital education that is being provided In Europe, we then look at our own peculiarities and say that how can we bring this education to the people at lowest affordable cost.

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“So we have to be creative in the ways and manners we can accommodate all our children. How do you get the child in the towns and rural places connected so they don’t miss out on classes. Our pupils had gone home for months and we realised coronavirus is not going to go tomorrow morning and we are not just going to put the kids at home without finding a way for them to continue learning and we live in a part of the world where data for digital education is not that easy to come by. How do we then move forward to make sure that our children at home at thoroughly educated.

“We know without deceiving ourselves that vast majority of our pupils don’t have that luxury of a device and internet. Does that mean we now neglect them? If you neglect them, you are neglecting your future. Here at DAWN commission, our job is to think critically even for the states”.

He disclosed that apart from Ibironke Adeagbo Foundation, the commission also have one or two other organisations that it is working actively with on the digital education project.

Continuing, Oyeleye maintained that though, the device will not be free but it will be very affordable for the states, urging the states to invest in it.

“What we are saying is how can we make it easily accessible? It means that the states need to invest in it. It is something they can easily afford.

” It is partnership. It is preloaded and there is data on it. Our thinking is long term. We are talking to those who will give us the devices and data, even the content providers are not left out. The aim is that no child will be left behind because of pandemic .We shouldn’t say because some kids can’t go to school, then they are left behind. If we do that we are creating trouble for our immediate future,” he concluded

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Justifying the NGO’s decision, earlier in his remarks, a trustee of Ibironke Adeagbo Foundation (IAF), Mr. Diran Famakinwa, informed that the foundation decided to partner DAWN commission because they were both working towards ensuring that majority of children who cannot afford the kind of data and electronic means to link up with their schools continue their education.

Famakinwa explained that how states will implement the use of the device would be down to the peculiarities in each state, adding that the device, comes with preloaded school syllabus in reading, writing and mathematics. He stressed that the need for a remote education will have to continue because things have changed and the kind of education before COVID-19 will not be sustainable going forward.

“Fortunately the two organisations are thinking along the same line and we saw good examples in Europe. Europe had free internet access and broadband. We’ve caught the bug of what DAWN commission is doing.

“Lagos State pioneered some mobile devices that come with six preloaded school syllabuses as well as the data credit to be able to make sure that the children while they are remotely at home were able to continue their education .So, in partnership with DAWN, we decided that everything that happened in Lagos, we need to share that broad knowledge across the whole South West region. We invested in purchasing these devices that would be shared across the other states that have not been able to use this and we would be working with them to get a feedback .

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“We would be handing them over to the DAWN commission because they have a better logistics to make sure that these get to the true end user. The device is for every child and it comes with preloaded school syllabus as well as the credit. We feel this is a step in the right direction for those children that are currently not able to continue their education and we believe that even When the schools resume which we certainly hope as soon as the government is able to do deal with all the issues.

“The children will still have the need to be able to remotely access their school and be able to continue their education. We are really delighted that we can work in partnership with DAWN on this,” he remarked.

Famakinwa, however urged other stakeholders in the education sector, including philanthropists, clubs, religious organisations and societies to assist in making sure that every child in the region will be able to afford the device.

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Education

‘UI may admit more students as hostels increase’- Acting VC hints

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University of Ibadan Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebola Ekanola has hinted that the institution may admit more undergraduate students than it is currently doing with the establishment of more private hostels on campus.

The Vice Chancellor, who spoke at the groundbreaking and foundations laying ceremony of a private Hostel located at Ajibode, called Jad Hostel, being established by Hyperch O. A. Limited, explained that accommodation was a primary consideration in admitting students in UI, ‘as the university believes that every fresh and final year student must be accommodated on campus’.

According to him, “ now that we have private hostels springing up in UI under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, UI may admit more undergraduate students as private hostels provide additional accommodation for our students’.

Ekanola, who disclosed that provision of accommodation on campus was one of the challenges facing UI, expressed delight that private investors were coming to play key role in this regard, stressing that ‘this is a clear manifestation of an ideal relationship between town and gown’.

While commending the Chairman of Jad hostel, who is also an alumnus of the university, Mr. Yemi Abei for his bold step, the VC noted that if the ex-student had left UI with terrible experiences, he would probably not have bothered to come back to invest in his alma mater, congratulating him on his measure of success.

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Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Hyperch O. A. Ltd, Mr. Yemi Abei had lauded UI for implementing PPP policy which he said encouraged private investors to put their money in the education sector, pointing out that many universities in the country have yet to follow UI’s model.

“We are here to establish a 200 roomed world-class Hostel that the students will really enjoy. I finished from UI and I want to leverage my past experience to put in place a student-friendly hostel that will give value for money”, he said.

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Education

LAUTECH ownership: Oyo to pay N8 billion to Osun in 3 years as asset sharing agreement

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Oyo state government has approved the payment of the sum of N8 billion to Osun State government as an asset sharing agreement, a follow-up to the earlier agreement reached between Oyo and Osun state governments on the ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).

The approval, which was conveyed  by the Commissioner for Education, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye, would be paid in three installments spread over a period of three years.

According to a statement signed by Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, the Commissioner  for Education,  Olaleye disclosed this while briefing journalists shortly after the Executive Council meeting held at the Governor’s Office.

“As a follow-up to the agreement reached with the Osun State government on the issue of sole ownership of LAUTECH, the Executive Council of Oyo State approved today the payment of the sum of N8 billion to Osun State government. It will be paid over a period of three years.

“The breakdown of the payment goes as follows: one (1) billion Naira will be paid in January 2021 and another one (1) billion Naira will be paid in December 2021. Three (3) billion Naira will be paid in 2022 and the last three (3) will be paid in 2023. This was the decision of the council today”, the commissioner explained.

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School Resumption Remains January 18th – FG Insists

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Despite fears over the surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the federal government has insisted that the January 18th resumption date for schools in the country remains intact.

The Federal Ministry of Education, in a statement issued on Thursday by its Director, Press and Public Relations, Ben Bem Goong submitted, “After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including State Governors, Commissioners of Education, Proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry explained that all schools and parents must ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing among others. 

The ministry continued,  “These measures which are to ensure safe reopening of schools for academic activities will be subject to constant review as we urge teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance”.

It will be recalled that earlier in the week, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had hinted that it would review the resumption date (January 18th, 2020) for learning institutions in the country, citing the rising COVID-19 infections in Africa’s most populous nation. 

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