The education scenario in Nigeria has suffered many blows in the past and due socio-economic and political upheaval, the educational infrastructure in Nigeria never really got the opportunity to blossom. As an educator, I have been following the education trends in various countries around the world, but the Nigerian education scenario comes across as appalling at times. However, there are technology firms, who are taking great initiatives to better the education scenario in the country.
In 2013, Intel and Airtel took initiatives to solve a few of the educational problems in Nigeria. While Intel made an effort to provide low cost and free digital learning resources, Airtel Nigeria fulfilled its pledge for the ‘Goal for Education’ campaign and donated stationary to schools in Nigeria. In my eyes these were extremely meaning steps taken tech giants to help the country upgrade the sector.
However, another serious problem that the Nigerian education system faces is the dearth of capable educators. There are too many students in schools and colleges but there are hardly any teachers to hold class. This year, Mavis Computel, a technology firm, has taken its first steps to address this very problem with digital help. The head operations and corporate strategy at Mavis Computel, Chizaram Ucheaga, says that the company will start with Nigeria before addressing other nations.
On reading this piece of information, I was extremely delighted to see how technology is slowly being able to help the Nigerian education system in various ways.
“One of the main challenges we are trying to solve is the dearth of quality teachers – first in Nigeria and other countries.” – Chizaram Ucheaga, Head of Corporate Strategy and Operations, Mavis Computel
The company has on sale a product called a Smartpen. This product has audiobooks loaded on it with the help from distributors both within the country and abroad. The demand for these books, to hit the market, has already started pouring in. Chizaram Ucheaga, Head of Corporate Strategy and Operations, Mavis Computel, says that the product will soon be available at physical retail shops through resellers, across Nigeria and will also be made available in online channels and school bookstores. He also added that the solution was also quite affordable.
“The solution is affordable when compared with the cost and effort involved in getting a language teacher for your private tutoring. Plus, unlike the teacher, it doesn’t get tired. Additionally, people can come together in groups to buy it to reduce the cost per person. Our goal is to get the solution to as many learners as possible. One Smartpen can be loaded with many talking books and talking posters. The Smartpen is NGN29,500 (US$185) and each talking book – about 60 pages – is NGN4,800 (US$30). So the basic pack is NGN34,300 (US$215), with volume discounts available for large orders.”- Chizaram Ucheaga, Head of Corporate Strategy and Operations, Mavis Computel
This product has been tested in Nigeria and has been demonstrated in other countries, like Kenya. These talking books may just be the solution to the dearth of quality teachers in Nigeria. In my perspective, this is just a mini step taken towards addressing the problem of fewer teachers, but it is definitely a strong step.