On 28th November 2022, Junior Achievement Nigeria had its second stakeholder engagement session which gathered educational, technology and Non-profit subject matter experts to deliberate on the concept of Empowering young people for a more sustainable and equitable world with sub-themes around; Strengthening and accelerating learning systems for the future and Integrating digital education towards achieving a sustainable world.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic provoked the adoption of online distance learning solutions, many countries and educational institutions have been encouraged to adopt digital learning. The pandemic which necessitated e-learning has positively shaped the Nigerian educational system to prepare for the future. Today, the world is going digital; therefore, there is a need to strengthen the learning systems to move along these changing patterns. Statistics show that 84% of people believe digital learning technology can improve their education.
Digital learning, however, must be targeted with the learners in mind to ensure the education system suits the changing world pattern. Rather than creating a garbage in-garbage out curriculum, learning should be more intentional, skill-based, and experiential for students. There’s a need to invest in the educational content and teachers’ professional development while transforming the learning environment to make it more experiential. There is also the need to review learning strategies, foundational skills and learners assessment to innovate the teaching technology successfully.
Digital education is a necessity for young people as they are the future. They need to be digitally literate and equipped with digital skills to promote scalability of teaching, and speedy learning as well as compete with international students worldwide. However, the Nigerian government plays a huge role in ensuring that young people are digitally literate. Roles such as equipping teachers and students with the skills of digital facilitation, provision of policies that secure online learners, regulating educational content designed online, providing basic infrastructure, creating of digital parks, etc.
The statistical analysis of the critical factors highlighted that while the significance of remote learning opportunities to students’ learning outcomes is well understood, a report shows that about 70% still need access to essential digital devices. This poses a threat to digital education, it is necessary to evolve otherwise, it will affect the Nation’s economy. Without digitization, there will be a high unemployment rate, low quality of life, no citizens’ access to public services, and a lack of governmental transparency and efficiency. To better prepare young people in promoting a sustainable and equitable world, digital education is a necessity.
Addressing the digital gaps among students in remote parts of Nigeria is crucial to achieving the targets of UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. And when fully implemented in Nigeria, e-learning will go a long way in bridging the digital divide and open us to digital opportunities.