Yinka Ogunde, CEO of Edumark has told #TechPlus2016 forum in Lagos that Nigeria needs to adopt Smart Schools to raise standard in the naton’s educational sector.
The Edumark CEO says educational policy makers at government and private school levels need to connect with the world of technology and “buy into the smart school initiative.”
While delivering a presentation titled “Building a Business Case for Smart School Implementation” Saturday at #TechPlus2016 held at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, Ogunde says that “once the policy makers are able to buy into it, the implementation of the smart school becomes easier.”
She pointed out that in as much as teachers also have a role to play in the smart school implementation, policy makers in the educational sector such as school owners have a bigger role to play.
“When it comes to the educational environment, the development of technology, let me use that word sometimes ignore the fact that it has taken the school owners especially in the private sector a long time to even get to where we are today”, Ogungbe says.
According to the Edumark CEO, “five years ago, when you are talking about technology to them, sometimes, they don’t really want to listen. After the Ebola environment, everybody took it a bit serious and say maybe we have a point after all. So that means that a lot of re-orientation still needs to be done within those who are formulating policies in our education sector, the proprietors of those institutions as well as the government.
“I will take those who are formulating policies and put them on top of the teachers because once they are able to buy in, it becomes easy. Sometimes, those who are actually formulating policies both at the government level and at the private school level, we are not connecting with the world of technology. There is still a very huge gap.”
Ogunde says policy makers don’t have a choice but to review the educational paradigm because “we are dealing with a generation that are digital natives and that is the only language which they can speak.”
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]The Edumark CEO says “technology demands resources, a school must be ready to invest in it, it demands commitment of those who are driving the policies. We may have teachers in here, we may have school administrators, we may have ICT Controllers, so many other things but even if they go back to their institutions, unless the owners of the school buys into it, what happens to those wonderful ideas that are still on the drawing board, it is not going anywhere.[/quote]According to her, “ The topic before us that we are looking at is really implementation and all I have just been trying to crack my brain about is how do we actually implement it. The idea is cool, it is fantastic, we can see that that is a way to go but we also want to come down to the level that we are in this country at the moment.”
The Edumark CEO says “technology demands resources. A school must be ready to invest in it. It demands commitment of those who are driving the policies. We may have teachers in here, we may have school administrators, we may have ICT Controllers, so many other things, but even if they go back to their institutions, unless the owners of the school buys into it, what happens to those wonderful ideas that are still on the drawing board, it is not going anywhere.
“Even if the Director in the Ministry of Education or the Assistant Director or at any level, if they come in here, the person is excited about it, she sees what technology can do and everything, she goes back to submit a proposal, she writes down all the things that she had learnt and she submits it to the permanent secretary, the problem is if the PS cannot key in into that, she is not even going to pass it to the Commissioner”, she says.
Ogunde further notes that parents also have a major role to play in the smart school implementation saying, “ Another key stakeholder that we also need to look at and that is making the implementation difficult are the parents because unless the parents are also ready to support the implementation of the smart school, it becomes a problem.
“The parent will say ‘I have paid the school fees, let the school do the rest’ and the school is not in a position to actually fund the smart school so that’s why, maybe looking for inexpensive ways of running the smart schools because we have to look at the reality of our targets and that’s where getting excited teachers who actually love what they are doing may now make a way out”, she says emphatically.
She points out the benefit of the smart school, stressing the need for policy makers to buy into it. “We have talked about having to look at the policy and decision makers, how they must be able to key in, how they must be able to understand the need for smart schools. The benefit of smart schools, we don’t even need to begin to say it. We have seen it in reality.
“The online causes so many things you can do on your own. As you are working, whatever you want to learn, it is right there. There is no topic anybody is talking about now that I too can’t pretend to be a professional in that topic, maybe only Physics and Chemistry. We have smart kids all over that are even the shepherds of the teachers who are supposed to be in charge.
“That’s why it is very critical, this decision makers. They formulate policies. We must find a way of ensuring we connect with them and get them to buy into that vision. It may take some time. I envisage that we will begin to see the benefit of all these within the next four, five years because by that time, they will see that there is no other way around this and for the government, I think that the more sensitization, the more programmes like this we have, the more we are able to mobilise pressure groups for them to begin to see that that is the only way they can survive as a nation.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]We have smart kids all over that are even the shepherds of the teachers who are supposed to be in charge.[/quote]The Edumark CEO believes that the technology sector of Nigeria can connect effectively and yield results mainly at the level of policy makers as well as parents.
According to her, “we are looking at the IDP camps and so many of the out-of-school children all over the country. That can be addressed through technology. So my contribution this morning is that at the level of policy makers, that is the only way this sector can connect effectively and begin to make its mark. Most parents especially in the private schools buy it too. That will aid the support of the acquisition of those tools that will make it easier for their children to become very smart.”