Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lagos State Partners Nokia, Pearson Longman, and Airtel on Education Content Delivery to schools

The Deputy Governor of Lagos Mrs. Sarah Sosan  with Managing Director of Longman Nigeria Mr. Simon Terndrup (L) and the Managing Director of Nokia, West Africa  Mr. James Rutherfoord at the signing of the partnership agreement to use mobile technology for the learning in Lagos public schools.

Nokia, the Pearson Foundation, Longman Nigeria, and Airtel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Lagos state government on the delivery of quality education to public primary schools in the state.

The partnership involves the use of mobile phones to deliver and share high quality educational content in public schools where IT infrastructure may be limited. Known as the BridgeIT programme, teachers in select public schools have been trained on how to access and download a catalog of educational videos using a mobile application.

The videos are stored on a remote server and organized by subject and grade. By connecting the mobile phone to a TV or a projector, the teacher can play the videos to a class to illustrate any relevant topic in the school curriculum.

In addition, the programme offers teachers in public schools the opportunity to upgrade their skills through well structured professional development interventions.

Nokia is providing the technology, a mobile application known as Nokia Education Delivery (NED) while the Pearson Foundation, the charitable arm of the world’s largest learning company – Pearson - is providing the innovative educational content.

Airtel Nigeria is providing the network coverage that would enable teachers download the videos to their phones, which are used as instructional materials, while Longman, Nigeria’s foremost education services company, will use its expertise in developing learning resources to support the planning and implementation of the programme.

The implementation of the scheme begins in Lagos in September with 30 schools in the pre-pilot phase.

The Managing Director/CEO of Longman Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Pearson, Mr. Simon Terndrup explained that the BridgeIT programme will eventually be extended to hundreds of schools in the next 3 years. Mr Terndrup thanked the Lagos state government especially the Deputy Governor Mrs Sarah Sosan whose unwavering commitment has resulted in the signing of the MOU and reaffirmed the commitment of his organization to the intellectual development of the Nigerian child.  He also pointed out that the initial focus of the programme would be the critical subjects of Mathematics, English Language and Science.

The Managing Director of Nokia West Africa, James Rutherfoord said Nokia is actively collaborating with communities around the world to create tangible social benefits.

According to Rutherfoord,, Nokia is committed to enhancing the quality of life around the world by using mobile technology to stimulate social and economic development. In his words, “realizing that government alone cannot shoulder the Educational challenges of a developing country like Nigeria, Nokia feels a sense of responsibility to contribute its quota in helping to improve the delivery of public educational services by improving both the performance of students and the quality of teaching in our public schools”.

Rutherfoord disclosed that workshops have been conducted to train teachers in using the software to optimize their lesson plans using video content. He thanked Airtel for making it possible for the videos to be downloaded over its mobile network.

The CEO of Airtel Nigeria, Rajan Swaroop,  expressed his company’s delight in being part of this remarkable partnership, which has the potential to transform lives of school children, the leaders of tomorrow.

He explained that the BridgeIT program was in line with Airtel’s Corporate Social Responsibility thrust, the Adopt- A-School Programme, which underscores the company’s commitment to providing the much-needed support for the improvement of the educational sector in the country as well as empowering children from poor homes with quality education.

Swaroop applauded the decision of Nokia and the Pearson Foundation to commence the BridgeIT initiative in Lagos noting that the Lagos has continued to live up to its name as the center of excellence with well-documented strides in the improvement of educational standards.

Recently, as part of the BridgeIT programme, sponsors of the project organized content mapping and lesson planning workshops for ministry officials and teachers.  Participants at the event commended the BridgeIT programme as an innovative approach to tackling the challenges of public education in Nigeria.