Access to Internet, Digital Devices, Critical to Learning for the Future of Work
Access to the internet and digital devices have been identified as key factors which are salient to enhancing learning for today’s youth as they prepare for the future of work. This was the submission at the September edition of Edtech Monday, a Mastercard Foundation initiative organized in partnership with Co-creation Hub.
Edtech Monday presents a platform to facilitate critical conversations on the use of technology for teaching and learning by bringing together key stakeholders including policymakers, Edtech entrepreneurs, teachers and parents.
This month’s virtual roundtable session hosted seasoned professionals on the topic “Edtech for the Future of Work’.
Speakers included the Senior Program Manager, Paradigm Initiative, Adeboye Adegoke, Head, Youth Engagement & Learning, Jobberman Nigeria, Precious Ajoonu and Managing Director, Edo Jobs Institute, Ukinebo Dare while Joyce Daniels- the social engineering practitioner anchored the session.
In his remarks, Senior Program Manager, Paradigm Initiative, Adeboye Adegoke explained that the COVID-19 crisis offered the world including those in the education technology sector the opportunity to understand how best to use technology to address challenges associated with learning. According to him, the crisis has necessitated the need to adopt new ways of promoting learning among students. He, therefore, urged the government at both state and federal levels to institutionalize those lessons either as a state or national policy by making internet access available to every youth.
“Remote learning during COVID-19 taught the world a big lesson regarding the importance of access. We need to institutionalize the way we responded to the realities of COVID-19. The story has told itself and it is now left to us to remember the lessons. For example, practically all schools were shut down during that period. Students attended by upper-middle-class or elite continued to teach their children using virtual platforms. But then, what about the children of the poor who cannot afford a laptop or internet? ”, he asked.
In her remarks, Head, Youth Engagement & Learning, Jobberman Nigeria, Precious Ajoonu while using Jobberman Nigeria as a case study noted that technology amidst the COVID-19 pandemic contributed a lot not only in accelerating learning but increasing digital access for more people. “Take the case of Jobberman for example, we needed to work from home, which in many ways, accelerated learning. For us, we had to be very agile and involved with the online medium. One of the things we did was to come up with the blended learning methodology where we were able to adapt to different virtual platforms to bridge equity in learning. So, basically, it is about innovating to reach the underserved communities”, Ajoonu said.
She further added that numerous possibilities exist using Edtech noting that efforts should be channelled towards creating access, removing the barriers and making knowledge available everywhere. “We live in a globalized world with a global talent pool. Youth need to get a degree and also acquire soft skills. Youth need skills that can make them compliant across cultures if they desire to be globally competitive. There are different ways of upskilling, they must think about opportunities beyond the borders of Nigeria and they must think about being globally competitive”, she stated.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Edo Jobs Institute, Ukinebo Dare said the case of Edo state brings to mind the role of technology in revamping the basic educational system in the State. According to her, the success of technology in education for the future of work would depend largely on the capacity available noting that adequate attention must be given to capacity development to increase savvy of the use of digital platforms.
While urging the government to invest heavily in the local production of devices to beat down costs to enable access for all classes of people, she stressed that there is a need for Edtech entrepreneurs to seek the opinion of end-users before developing any solution.