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#NES28: Nigeria must invest in foundational literacy, numeracy, explore innovation to end learning poverty – NewGlobe

Vice President YemiOsinbajo at the NewGlobe Exhibition Stand during the 28th Nigerian Economic Summit #NES28.

At the 28th Nigerian Economic Summit(#NES28) which held on the 14th & 15th of November, NewGlobe Nigeria, a global leader in learning and learning expert showcased already successful local education transformation at scale success stories, blue prints for eradicating learning poverty in Nigeria.

NES #28 convened national and global policymakers, business leaders, development partners, civil society leaders and scholars to articulate the country’s development imperatives that satisfy the need for economic security and sustainability, social justice, conscientious governance, political stability and environmental sustainability. #NES28 was attended by many Nigerian leaders including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; other ministers as well as members of the private sector.

Omowale David-Ashiru, Group Managing Director NewGlobe was a panelist on the interactive session tagged “Eradicating Learning Deprivation” alongside Ms Cristian Munduate UNICEF Country Representative, Mrs. Maryam Uwais (MFR), Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Ms Abisola Obasanya Director Arc Lights Foundation and Dr. Hamid Bobboyi Executive Secretary Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).The session discussed solving Nigeria’s learning deprived children rate of 70% according to UNICEF.

From Left to Right: Dr. Hamid Bobboyi Executive Secretary UBEC, Mrs. Maryam Uwais (MFR), Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Ms Cristian Munduate UNICEF Country Representative, Mrs. OmowaleDavid-Ashiru Group Managing Director NewGlobe during the “Eradicating Learning Deprivation” interactive session of the 28th Nigerian Economic Summit #NES28.

While speaking on the panel, Omowale noted that learning deprivation or learning poverty is a global problem exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic in African countries like Nigeria where the combination of out of school children and the poor rate of learning for those in school gravely threaten the potential of future economic growth and social development.

Omowale went further to discuss potential solutions citing the June 2022 report by the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF FCDO which shed light on proven solutions, prescribing focus areas for progress. It stressed the existence of solutions that can work at scale and within existing government systems to improve learning outcomes. It states that commitment to learning programs by governments and the composition of the programs: with emphasis on teacher training, improved instruction through structured pedagogy and measurement of learning outcomes.

According to Omowale, “there are existing examples of a holistic methodology already delivering value for Nigerian children in Edo, Lagos and Kwara States”

There are three distinct examples in Nigeria running statewide intricate public-school systems built upon four core aspects: A digital learning platform, adaptive instructional content, teacher training and coaching, and 360-degree support. Within this holistic system are many sets of practices, such as school management, learning and development, instructional guidance, and feedback. Schools in this system are being transformed using technology and data, every school is transparent and accessible to its political leaders; decisions and policies are data based and children are learning at a speed not seen before in Nigeria.

This holistic learning methodology was the subject of a 2-year study led by 2019 Nobel Prize winning professor Michael Kremer. The Kremer Study finds that NewGlobe methods deliver unequivocal major learning gains across every academic year in NewGlobe-supported schools, compared with other schools. These are particularly large in the “key grades” for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN), primary classes One and Two. Kremer and his co-authors found that students in early childhood years supported by NewGlobe received the equivalent of an additional year and a half of learning in two years.

Political leaders across the continent are coming to learn from Nigeria’s systems and then implementing them in their own countries. These examples are Edo State through the EdoBEST program covering > 1000 nursery, primary and Junior Secondary schools, Lagos State through the EKOEXCEL program covering >1000 Nursery and primary schools and most recently Kwara State through the KwaraLEARN program covering more than >1500 public schools at the full implementation of the program.

Launched in 2018, the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme is Edo State Government’s statewide education transformation program under Governor Godwin Obaseki. It was launched in response to deficiencies identified in the basic education system in Edo State Transformation (EdoBEST) program in Nigeria. A study of EdoBEST indicated that pupils achieved the equivalent of 54% more schooling in English and 71% more schooling in math, learning in one term than what would have normally been learnt in 1 year.

On a visit to Edo in October 2022, Martin De Simon an education specialist cum economist with the World Bank had this to say about EdoBEST “Definitely, many other states can learn from the experience of Edo and I do think that some of the interventions of EdoBEST are definitely significant for the national level.

For example, you here have a strong focus on data and information systems and this is something that we are trying to support with the development of our Education Management Information System.

That is essential for any education system and for all 36 states at the national level. So, there are certain things that we should be replicating and essentially scaled up and there are certain things that other states that are in similar situations can learn a lot of lessons from.”

In her closing remarks, David-Ashiru shared Kremer study learnings indicating Nigeria must invest beyond infrastructure alone, but also into foundational literacy and numeracy at basic education levels to eradicate learning poverty in Nigeria.

In closing #NES28, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President commended participants and endorsed the outcomes of the summit which include the need for restoration, increased funding, standardization and innovation in public education as a means to delivering economic stability for growth. This outcome among others will be contained in the NES28 “Green Book” a compendium of summit recommendations which will be disseminated to Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other critical stakeholders to enable the implementation.

 The” Eradicating Learning Deprivation” session at the #NES28 has delivered examples of an actionable framework for transformational leadership in education for Nigeria. We have a sustainable and inclusive solution to learning poverty, a necessary imperative for transforming Nigeria’s human capital into national productive and innovative capacity that creates a secure collective future of prosperity for all and sustained economic development. Nigeria must as a matter of priority articulate a framework to harness foundational literacy and numeracy for 2023 and beyond.

We have a chance to drive real change and deliver quality education for children in Nigeria.

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