Boosting Literacy, Learning, Employment through Digital Learning Platforms 

Funmi Ogundare reports that the two-day media dialogue, organised recently by the National Orientation Agency, in collaboration with United Nation Children’s Fund on digital learning platforms, was to promote opportunities for young people on digital literacy, to enhance learning and become employable 

For two days, journalists converged on The Patron Hotel, Lekki, Lagos for a media dialogue, with the theme, ‘Digital Learning Platforms’, organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in collaboration with United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

It was aimed, among others, to expose the different forms of digital platforms among young people, improve learnings, get scholarships, connect them for employment so they can build the future they want.

Some of the presentations made at the programme, dwelt on ‘Innovations to Youth Engagement, Empowerment and Opportunities such as The Nigerian Learning Passport, U-Report and The Youth Agency Marketplace (YOMA), ‘Overview of Youth Employment, Skilling and Upskilling in  Nigeria’, as well as ‘ Galvanizing support of the private sector for youth employment, skilling and upskilling’.

In his remarks, the Programme Specialist, UNICEF, Joannes Yimbesalu, highlighted the ‘Youth Agency Market Place’ (YOMA) initiative, a digital platform created by young people which allows them to connect and build the future they want.

He noted that the initiative gives them opportunity to earn token and build capacity in scholarships. 

According to him, “we are concerned about young people and giving them the platform across Africa to become employable globally. Many young people complete school but they can’t find jobs  and the key thing is promoting opportunities for these people.

“We need to create this awareness to also promote the opportunity in the rural communities and urban areas, so young people can have access to the opportunities for employment.

“One of the key things is about targeting the most maginalised, and the focus is working with key stakeholders and the media to be our voices and expand the opportunities for young people wherever they are across Nigeria.” 

He added that the fund is also promoting digital literacy to  equip teachers and  deploy platforms in their schools and communities so that no child is left behind.

He advised young people to continue learning through the platforms.

“One of the challenges with online learning is time. Young people need to commit their time, data, power for their devices to access the content. Already we have partnerships with Airtel and working with other network operators to ensure that we are connecting schools and learners to the internet to ensure that they are learning,”he stated.

The Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Education, Dr. Afolabi Adejare, emphasised on the existing Nigeria Learning Passport (NLP) platform with which UNICEF had trained over 3,000 facilitators and provided tablets for such purpose.

He explained that the initiative was imperative as it would help children improve their learnings especially with the audio-visual system provided, which will reduce abstract “We are leveraging on existing NLP, an online/offline platform designed to compliment the existing system of impacting knowledge and learning, it’s an initiative of federal, state government in partnership with UNICEF.”

Adejare added that the platform would also help out- of-school children, especially those who are slow in assimilating; to listen, watch, learn and understand better what they are being taught.

“It’s a complimentary platform used to boost the normal traditional learning system which we are using to reduce and address such issues, especially in places like Makoko and other suburbs.

The director noted that the idea was to bridge the gap between the fast and the slow learners, adding that every child can learn at his/her own pace, and also revise topics that they can understand and assimilate.He added that teachers are also  incorporated in the system, as they have opportunity to teach students by projecting the contents because children are able to learn faster with audiovisual materials.

The Adolescent Development Specialist, Mrs. Ngozi Izuora- Songu, who emphasised on U-Report, stated that it is a youth engagement tool which allows a two-way communication for young people to access personalised information and report on problems they experience in their communities.

“It connects young people in Nigeria to the governments and decision-makers, shares lifesaving and life-changing information, and enhances accountability of progammes for children.

“U-Report is a programme for young people to have their voices heard by governments,” she noted.

She described U-Report Nigeria as that which remains a key insight and data analytics tool used by UNICEF and its partners to improve the quality of the programmatic efforts as it pertains to women, children and young people across thematic areas.

Speaking, on the ‘Overview of Youth Employment, Skilling and Upskilling in Nigeria’, Taiye Tunkarimu, Head of Communications, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), said the body also engaged in digital grassroots programme to create wealth, especially for the youths.

According to her, “we have done digital grassroots programme with UNICEF and we were able to train market people on how  they can use the  digital platform to promote their business, make gain and expand their customer base.

“We enable job and wealth creation in Lagos State through access to finance, access to infrastructure/vocational skills training, access to market as well as business support.

“UNICEF is our partner and we have done a couple of training and engagements with them, including the digital literacy programme to train people in the grassroots.

Earlier, the UNICEF’s Communication Specialist,  Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, stated that the programme was aimed at exposing the different forms of digital platforms to young people, adding that they are expected to tap into it for positive use.

“The resource persons we have here are experts on digital learning platforms and the idea is communicate to our young people on how to make best use of the platform to create wealth.”

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