Will EduTECH Disrupt Traditional Educational System in NIGERIA?
Any country willing to remain relevant and tap opportunities in the global knowledge economy must put education to work. In Nigeria, however, the story appears different, as the country’s educational sector suffers neglect by successive governments. Nigeria’s situation is not isolated, though. The same condition prevails in many developing countries,
A 2014 report published by UNICEF Nigeria claims more than 10.5 million children are out of school, most of them in the north of the country, and many of them girls.
While traditional (brick and mortar) educational systems still remain the norm, Edutech (the use of technology to improve Education, also known as EdTech) has begun to spread gradually in Nigeria, as in some other African countries.. Institutions and individuals now embrace technology and innovation, with a view to facilitating learning and improving performance. The changing landscape of technology has made it possible to boost learning outcomes, by using online platforms, mobile learning applications and other digitally-enabled channels.
In Nigeria, a new crop of startup entrepreneurs is emerging with a promise to turn the tide in the education sector. Some of these startups include Tuteria, Edusko, Prepclass, Pass.ng , VeriCampus , Edutech, and BAU.
Edusko is an online platform connecting parents with private schools for their kids. Edusko founder, Jide Ayegbusi told Outrepreneurs Edutech is a game- changer which will help address the poor quality of education in Nigeria.
“More children need to go to schools, and more solutions to support learning need to be provided,” he says.
“So, innovators are on a per-second basis thinking about providing solutions that could facelift the Nigerian education sector, so that our kids could compete globally. With problems like high numbers of out-of-school children, outdated school curriculum and low quality of education; technology is going to play a key role in making learning more accessible, personalized and affordable.”
Ayegbusi added that the business side of Edutech should not be ignored, even as it is used to leapfrog our educational system
Investment in Edutech
According to a Techcrunch article, the global investment in Edutech is set to reach $252 billion by 2020. The development is also an indication that Nigeria can tap into this goldmine, if the enabling environment is created for Edutech entrepreneurs.
Also, the drivers of change in the sector are getting encouragement and rewards for their efforts. For instance, Prepclass and Tuteria are different tech-driven startups that recruit home tutors for students, using the sharing economy model. In 2016, Tuteria got a $50,000 grant from the Mark Zuckerberg-backed Internet.ORG Innovation Challenge.
Some weeks ago, Prepclass got 322,000 USD equity-free grant from the GSM Association (GSMA), as part of their support for local innovative startups in Africa. Chukwuwezam Obanor, Prepclass Co-founder and CEO, said the money will be invested to drive their mobile learning platform.
Obanor explained that some of the challenges facing Edutech must be addressed, in order to move forward, saying it is wrong for students to always be the focal point in Edutech.
He says: “Looking at statistics, you will see that Nigeria lacks about 400,000 teachers and we are only able to train about 55,000 teachers every year. We are already behind in the number of teachers that we have, considering the fact we are increasing our population 2.5 per cent every year.
We need to find ways to deploy technological tools to improve educational delivery at various levels and you can’t do that without improving internet penetration in the country.
“Sometimes, people tend to focus on technology for students, but the truth is without efforts to make the teachers become technologically savvy, edutech won’t be successful. If the teachers don’t drive the use of technology, we are most likely to be drawn back in edutech.”
Meanwhile, Mark Osayande who is a teacher in a Nigerian British curriculum school in Lagos agreed that technology is changing learning, but he added a caveat: technology cannot replace the place of sound and quality teachers.
Deji Aroloye48 Posts
a graduate of Linguistics and a staff writer at Outrepreneurs, Deji's forte includes tech, startups and innovations. Years back, Deji wrote on Entertainment and Lifestyle for a tabloid. If he wasn't a writer, Deji would be a photographer or teacher.