To help keep students busy during the COVID-19-induced break from classes, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with UNICEF and the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) among other partners to develop a multimedia e-learning program that will reach more than a million primary, secondary, and koranic school students in the state.
Under an agreement between UNICEF, the Education Board, state radio and television boards, and local universities, USAID will support a COVID-19 contingency plan for the state’s education sector to help ensure a continuum of teaching and learning while children quarantine at home.
At a launch ceremony, SUBEB Chairman Dr Abubakar Sirumbai said Bauchi is committed to making the program a success to maintain momentum in improving the state’s standard of education. “Unless something is done to salvage the situation, the lockdown will set the system back.”
The lessons run from Monday to Friday on Bauchi state television, radio corporation, and a dozen community radio stations between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. and are projected to reach 1.7 million children every day.
Sirumbai called on parents, caregivers and community members to encourage their children to participate in the program to help ensure access to uninterrupted education during the school closures.
USAID support includes dissemination of “Mu Karanta” (Let’s Read) materials through the radio broadcasts. USAID is also collaborating with state governments to leverage Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and World Bank-supported Basic Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) resources by providing technical inputs and quality control.
In addition, UBEC has requested USAID provide its “Mu Karanta” materials to populate a new web portal where teachers and learners can make use of resources to improve teaching and learning during the COVID-19 crisis. Meanwhile, development of these teaching and learning materials in Igbo and Yoruba continues to provide them to a wider Nigeria audience.