The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it numerous disruptions to our way of life, changing the world as we knew it. While businesses and communities are heavily impacted, the educational sector has also suffered significantly, the most important of which is the impact on child education.
According to multiple sources, Nigeria has over 25 million children out of school due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This translates to over 17% of the country’s total population lacking access to quality education in a period characterized by little to no activity.
For children in low-income families or underserved areas, a lack of access to radios, televisions, computers and internet service has left many students unable to engage in or access remote learning.
It is against this backdrop that the partnership between The Coca-Cola Foundation and Bunmi Adedayo Foundation on the Tech-Relevant Teacher Project has brought tremendous hope to hundreds of impacted families in Nigeria.
The Tech-Relevant Teacher (TRT) Project seeks to train 200 low-cost and middle schools (school heads and teachers) in virtual teaching skills and technologies, and introduce virtual learning to schools who do not have the resources and skills by supporting them with hardware and content production suites.
The TRT Project is a four-month exercise (between February and May 2021) that will directly impact 600 beneficiaries (200 School Heads, 200 Math Teachers and 200 English teachers) and indirectly reach over 1,400 teachers.
The training will be held virtually while the mentoring will be a combination of physical learning and virtual. 30 schools will be empowered with the required equipment to set up content production suites at the end of the programme in May, to aid continuous high-quality output from the teachers.
According to Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Head, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability for Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, the sheer magnitude of underserved out-of-school kids called for timely action from the company.
“We are fully aware of the effects of the pandemic on education, especially low-cost and public education. Not only has it halted the development of young students, but it has also rendered obsolete, many public service teachers who are grappling with the idea of remote teaching.
This is why Coca-Cola is proud to support an innovative initiative like the Tech-Relevant Teacher (TRT) Project. This will ensure that underserved children have access to quality education at this difficult time, while teachers are empowered and furnished with relevant competencies in virtual learning to keep them afloat”, she explained.
Femi Martins, Programme Director, Bunmi Adedayo Foundation, noted the barrier between children in low-cost schools and their peers in privately-owned schools, explaining how the project seeks to “leverage technology to enhance learning and teaching across target schools”.
According to him, digital literacy for students and teachers is increasingly being recognized as an indispensable element of child education, and with Coca-Cola’s support, the project seeks to significantly reduce the digital divide in the country.
Schools interested in enrolling in the programme are required to visit the TRT Project Portal.