#Edustart2018: Why Nigeria needs to prepare for the future of education
Globally, technological advancements are creating a massive shift in almost every sector, including education. The ways people learn and teachers teach are being disrupted by new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and other software applications.
There has been a sharp decline in the standard of education in most African countries over the years. But, edtech, which is the use of technology to improve education, can be utilized to solve some of these problems and prepare students for the 21st century challenges.
Nigerian privately-owned Covenant University held an education summit tagged Edustart 2018 on the 22nd and 23rd of February at the university premises in Ota, Ogun State. The summit, themed ‘Future of Education’, explored the nexus between technology and education with focus on the purpose of education, the classroom of the future, the student of the future, the teacher of the future, among others.
One of the panelists, Imole Oluyemi, co-founder, Pass.ng, who was one of the panelists said most Nigerian students take grades more important than learning. “What we have discovered is that many people don’t learn anything in school,” said Oluyemi. “A lot of students are driven by the rewards that they are not learning. If you have good grades in school, you will enter university or you will get a good job. That is the only reason why most people have been going to school.”
How about preparing Nigerian students to compete in a highly competitive world? Mrs Folasade Adefisayo who is an executive director at Teach for Nigeria, raised the issue of poor quality teachers and overloaded curriculum ‘Our teachers teach at a very shallow level’ said Adefisayo.
“Students are not engaged in deep learning. You have to teach collaborative skills needed in the workplace, we have to teach digital literacy in depth. We have to teach things like creativity, innovation, problem solving, and integrate them into everything we are doing.”
Another panelist, Dare Akinlaja, founder of Yadaversity, emphasized the need to promote parallel systems different from the traditional schools where people can learn technical and vocational skills. “We should allow other things to thrive. How do we introduce games into learning? How do we introduce alternative forms of learning? Let’s create a system where someone can make different choices,” he said.
He, however, warned of the danger ahead if innovations and changes are not embraced to move the country’s education system. “It is amazing how disruptions are coming, and one thing about disruption is that if we refuse to change, the pressure of the environment will force us to change,’ he said.
Nimi Akinkugbe, Founder and CEO, Bestman Games, gave a talk at the summit. She said gaming is critical to the 21st century learning to encourage cognitive thinking and problem solving among students. “It is important Nigerian students grow to understand the importance of games” she said.
“We have found that this is one powerful way of teaching and learning. We can create games for anything. You can teach anything with games because this generation spends so much of their time gaming.”
For Yomi Adedeji, CEO, SoftCom, the future of education requires new ideals and principles that fit into the dictates of modern times. Adedeji spoke on the topic: Technology in Education: The Future Classroom. “We are going to live in a world where there is too much learning and information. In my own view, what will drive technology for the classroom of the future is new ideas, and new ideologies,” he said.
Prof. Peter Okebukola, former executive secretary, Nigeria’s National Universities Commission, gave the keynote address at the Edustart 2018. He envisioned the features of the Nigerian classroom in the next 10 years saying students will have degree of fluency in digital technology skills, and be more disruptive.
He added that there will also be issues like weaker values among students, non-payment of teacher salary, and compromised education system.
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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.