Mobile learning at the Nigeria Summit

Nigeria Summit 2013
I was honored to sit on a panel at The Economist’s Nigeria Summit 2013 in Lagos. The panel was titled SKILLS AND EDUCATION – DEVELOPING NIGERIA’S PEOPLE POWER. Below are my speaking notes.

Education challenges

As we all know, the world faces major education challenges, including:

Shortage of trained and motivated teachers

“The latest estimates suggest that 112 countries need to expand their workforce by a total of 5.4 million primary school teachers by 2015. New recruits are needed to cover both the 2 million additional posts required to reach universal primary education and the 3.4 million posts of those leaving the profession. Sub-Saharan African countries alone need to recruit more than 2 million teachers to achieve UPE.” Global Monitoring Report, 2012

“More than 200,000 new teachers are needed in Nigeria to ensure that there is one primary level teacher for no more than 40 learners.” Global Partnership for Education (Every Child Needs a Teacher report)

“61-100 pupils per lower-secondary teacher in Nigeria.” Global Partnership for Education (Every Child Needs a Teacher report)

Out of school children and drop-outs

“Nigeria alone is home to an estimated 10.5 million out-of-school children … 42% of the primary school-age population.” (Global Monitoring Report, 2012)

UNESCO focus on teachers

UNESCO is focused on improving education quality through supporting teachers. It has a comprehensive teacher strategy.

It is sees Africa as a priority and works in many countries on the continent.

Mobile revolution

Africa is the second largest and fastest growing mobile phone region in the world.

It has an estimated 735 million mobile phone subscriptions.

Nigeria’s mobile phone subscription base is set to hit 120 million in 2013.

It has fundamentally changed the way that people communicate, socialise, do business, bank and farm. Why not how they learn?

Mobile learning

My particular focus at UNESCO is mobile learning: how mobile technology can be used to improve teaching, learning and effective administration.

We believe that we need to fully leverage and exploit every opportunity to meet the massive education challenges.

Examples of mobile learning to support teachers: by providing content, connecting teachers in peer-to-peer support networks, assessment, and supporting teacher administration.

Mobile learning is not a saviour – but it can contribute in unique and new ways, not possible before.

Nigeria teachers’ project

In Nigeria we are about to launch a pilot project, in partnership with Nokia and in collaboration with the National Teachers’ Institute and the British Council.

Aimed at primary school teachers of English.

Daily messages delivered via mobile phones: content knowledgepedagogical tips, assessment questions, and motivational messages.

Launching on 2 May in Abuja.


I further describe the Nokia UNESCO partnership to support teacher development in Nigeria in this interview by WebTV.

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