Lagos, Nigeria – 30 April 2021 — Officially launched today, the new Learn at Home audio e-learning platform will provide free, online, and unlimited learning access to more than 100 million Nigerian youths.
This first-of-its-kind audio e-learning platform will offer unlimited access based on the national mobile phone penetration, low-data, and basic featurephone requirements. The platform is a continuum of Data Science Nigeria’s successful ‘Learnat [TT1] Home’ initiative, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, that provided learning to millions of Nigerian pupils amid the COVID-19 disruptive restrictions. Learn at Home is based on an inclusive e-learning approach. It is designed to eliminate the barriers of internet access (data) cost and over-dependency on expensive smartphones in the delivery of locally relevant, convenient, and inexpensive access to quality education.
The Learn at Home audio e-learning initiative, www.learnathome.radio is part of an extensive effort to reduce the urban-rural learning disparities in Nigeria.
Mastercard Foundation says it is a continuation of efforts to ensure universal learning and improve learning outcomes across all communities in Nigeria. Already, more than 4 million students have joined audio classes with USSD/SMS support, where they receive educational materials on key subjects, based on the Nigerian Educational Research and Development (NERDC) curriculum for primary and secondary school students. “The disruption of the pandemic did not only halt learning for many, but also revealed and exacerbated existing inequalities in learning opportunities. The purpose of www.learnathome.radio is to ensure children have equal, convenient, and affordable access to quality learning,” said, Chidinma Lawanson, Country Head, Mastercard Foundation Nigeria.
On the platform, pupils and students from primary 1 to Senior Secondary (SS3) will gain access to a special examination readiness series that includes a collection of solved past questions in WAEC, NECO, BECE, and Common Entrance from 2009 to 2020. Expert teachers have been engaged to provide answers and explanations to the past questions in a step-by-step and easy-to-understand format, with complementary live classes that enable each student to learn at a preferred pace irrespective of location and socioeconomic conditions.
Speaking on the initiative, Toyin Adekanmbi, the Executive Director of Data Science Nigeria, described it as “a creative and innovative approach to democratize learning in Nigeria and provide an effective solution to the challenge of unequal distribution of learning and education opportunities in rural and urban communities.”
She said, “The Learn at Home audio e-learning initiative will build on the clear successes we recorded in the quest to ensure ongoing learning for children during the pandemic restrictions, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged, through our audio classes in several cities in Nigeria. It is specifically designed for smooth functionality on basic feature phones operating on the EDGE or 2G network and low data. For MTN users, it is absolutely free. With this, children in rural and remote communities can learn from the highest quality teachers at their own pace and prepare for important examinations with the best resources and educational aids developed based on the approved curriculum.”
Besides the examination preparation series, www.learnathome.radiofeatures a wide variety of content, including amazing global facts, inspirational quotes, current affairs, common errors in the English language, and much more. Mr. Nwachukwu, one of the parents, already taking advantage of the platform, praised it as a breakthrough innovation. “Before, platforms like this one, were usually only for those who could afford expensive laptops or smartphones and daily internet subscriptions. Now, every child, everywhere can learn.”
About Data Science Nigeria
Data Science Nigeria is a registered non-profit organization, run and managed by the Data Scientists Network Foundation, with a vision to build a world-class Artificial Intelligence (AI) knowledge, research and innovation ecosystem that delivers high-impact transformational research, business use applications, AI-first start-ups, support employability and social good use cases. We are poised to accelerate Nigeria’s socio-economic development through a solution-oriented application of machine learning in solving social/business problems. Data Science Nigeria (DSN) non-profit has been in the forefront of data and data science skills acquisition in Nigeria. DSN runs a broad-based capacity intervention across Nigeria with broader beneficiary base through its free trainings (kids, pre-university students, professionals and business executives across states in Nigeria). These initiatives are in line with Data Science Nigeria's vision and commitment to raising one million AI talents in 10 years and thus position Nigeria as one of the top 10 AI talent/knowledge destinations with 20% GDP multiplier impact.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org
Data Science Nigeria
Project Lead, EdTech, Data Science
Nonye Mpho Omotola
Country Lead, Program Communications, Nigeria
[TT1] Deleted the hyphens as the name is not hyphenated in other paragraphs