These were questions government representatives who attended the Edmeets TECH at the Providence Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos asked from technology solutions providers.
Lagos State Education Commissioner, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Special Interventions, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, and the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, tabled their requests for solutions that could impact many pupils, teachers in the sector.
Mrs Adefisayo said the problems in the sector were such that the state government yearly budget could not solve. She called for private sector support through innovative solutions.
She said: “If they give us the whole budget of Lagos State, we will not solve the problem in the education sector. Give us solutions. We don’t want what we will do in 10, 15 schools. Lagos State has over 1,600 schools. Give us solutions that we can scale immediately and enable us push towards the 21st century.”
During her tenure, Mrs Adefisayo said she would focus on teachers – (recruitment, training, improving their conditions of service), infrastructure, and curriculum development and deployment.
Mrs Adefisayo said she would like to see tech solutions that would help her know the number of out-of-school children in the state, monitor teacher and pupil attendance in schools, and manage the huge paper work.
On his part, Mr Bank-Olemoh also said he would focus on teacher development as one of the problems to solve; as well as equipping students at the tertiary level with digital skills useful to the labour market.
“If I could solve three problems in education in Nigeria, it would be teachers – how we can use technology to improve teachers? Can we design a platform for teachers verified to be qualified?”
Obafela also sought a mass programme that could equip youths with digital skills. He said it was necessary given the gap created by Nigerian tech people relocating abroad.
“I was talking to someone in tech and he said ‘we are finding it difficult to get people to work for us. People are leaving in droves. We have achieved strides in the Fintech sector but people are leaving. We must come up with a programme that would say no graduate would leave school without basic digital skills. It must be a nationwide programme where every student that does not go through that programme automatically becomes disadvantaged,” he said.
Office of Education Quality Assurance Director-General, Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, said she would appreciate tech solutions that would help her office identify the state of schools so they could be more efficient in the quality assurance work.
She also sought help in analysing data gathered by the ministry in the course of their routing duties.
“We have 370 quality assurance officers to visit 20,000 schools. We need solutions that would help us know the state of these schools even before we visit. We also need help with data analysis. We collect a lot of data but no analysis,” she said.
TEP Centre Managing Director Dr Modupe Awofeso-Olateju said the Edmeet series was an intervention by the centre to provide a platform for stakeholders to dig deep into the challenges of the sector as it intersects with others – in this case, Technology.
“Education is both a public and a private good. It is very important for us to have these kinds of meetings. Edmeets is an opportunity to dig even deeper on what the sector needs. It is important to curate technological solutions being produced for the education sector,” she said.
At the event, the tech experts got opportunity to share solutions they had designed for the sector with the officials.
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