Efforts by the administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu to deliver quality learning to pupils across public schools in Lagos State got a boost on Thursday, as the State Government took delivery of 20,000 digital devices donated by First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Limited to aid e-learning.
The devices were personally handed over to Governor Sanwo-Olu by the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, at a ceremony held at the State House in Marina.
With the gesture, Sanwo-Olu said the State had found a “real development partner” in First Bank, noting that the intervention came at a time the Government was massively deploying technology to transform the conventional mode of teaching and learning.
While pointing out that the gesture touched the heart of his administration’s vision to leverage technology in delivering quality education, the Governor said the digital tools supplied by the bank would further scale up interventions already rolled out in education sector, while also raising the capacity of the Government to achieve its vision.
He said: “When we were developing our vision to change the face of education in Lagos, we knew from the outset that we could not achieve much progress in improving the quality of learning without using technology as a strong enabler. So, it is not out of place that we are witnessing more infusion of technology in learning and this intervention by First Bank could not have come at a better time.
“It feels great when you have people and organisations share in your vision and working with you to realise it. I’m glad to say that we have found a real development partner in First Bank, which has supported us to actualise the vision we have signed to achieve. Many years back, nobody foresaw Coronavirus (COVID-19) would come and disrupt our ways of life. These devices will be useful to our pupils in the current circumstances we have found ourselves.
“First Bank and all technical partners that worked on this project have written their names in the heart of students that will be using the device to learn. They will be forever grateful for passing future to them.”
With schools still shut across the State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanwo-Olu said the devices would be useful to keep school children busy and focused on their studies, while the Government and stakeholders meet to agree on protocols for re-opening of schools.
He said the donation of the tools would engender a win-win situation in the State’s education sector, as teachers, students and education partners would benefit from the output of the tech tools.
He said: “As a Government, we understand that partnership cannot be one-sided. We will be supporting the First Bank’s CSR to achieve a win-win situation to make teachers, pupils and stakeholders happy. We shall be ramping up the number of devices delivered by the First Bank, so that other partners can support the initiative.”
Sanwo-Olu charged Commissioner for Education, Tutors-General and heads of the Education Districts across the State to deploy the devices with the desire to achieve improved learning outcome.
Adeduntan said the bank sealed the partnership with Lagos Government to support public schools with one million digital learning tools, given disruption of education occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19, which led to closure of schools across the State.
He said the 20,000 tools donated in the first tranche of the supply was an indication of the bank’s commitment towards supporting the Government’s education vision. He promised the bank would ramp up the number of the devices in the coming month.
He said: “As the oldest bank in Nigeria, First Bank is woven into the fabric of the society. We carefully selected this CSR and extended our resources to this project, which we believe will directly benefit the people and the vulnerable.”
Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, described the intervention as “new mileage” for the State, noting that a number of private firms had reached out to the Government for technical and learning support.
Miss Sherifat Umar, a Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 pupil of Elegbata Senior High School in Apogbon, who represented beneficiaries at the event, said the devices would aid pupils to advance in their academics while at home.
She hailed the State Government and First Bank for not allowing the academic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to delay their education.
The digital learning tools is a KaiOS enabled mobile phones, using free mobile data provided by MTN. The devices have Road to Education (RODUCATE) applications installed on them to allow users learn from all approved curricula.
The tools also have restrictive apps that will prevent other usage apart from study. They also have parental controls keys.