FG partners Korea on Smart Schools, e-learning development

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THE Federal government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has sealed a partnership with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on the construction of 37 Smart Schools and enhancement of e-learning in Nigeria.

The Smart Schools programme started way back in 2017, when the current executive secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi established smart schools to serve as benchmarks of excellence in the country.

This was further reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic where educational institutions were shut down for several months without learning taking place in most parts of the country, because of lack of access to e-learning platforms.

Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi noted that UBEC is collaborating with KOICA on the establishment of the  Smart Schools, which is expected to boost e-learning in Nigeria

The Korea delegation was led by the KOICA Country Representative, Son Sungil.

Bobboyi disclosed that teaching and learning would soon commence in the 37 Smart Schools being constructed across the 36 states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory.

The UBEC boss who was represented by the Deputy Director, Services, Dr Isiaka Kolawole, noted that the Korean team of experts would bring expertise into the operation of the Smart Schools.

According to him, the Smart Schools (UBEC Model Schools), “will serve as centres of distinction in ICT-based teaching and learning as well as provide a benchmark for excellence so that the states and FCT can replicate in line with their peculiar needs”.

He explained that the contract for the construction of the first and second phases of the Model Schools in some states of the Federation were awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), noting that all construction work in the project sites stopped following the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, disclosed that the Federal Government is now in the middle of preparations to commence teaching and learning activities in the Smart Schools, saying the delegation was in the country for the initial period of one month to provide needed support on the provision of infrastructure, content development and training of teachers, among others.

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He disclosed that nine of the 37 Smart Schools had been completed while the remaining ones are at various stages of completion.

He said: “I am glad to inform you that out of the 37 model smart schools being built across the Federation, nine have been completed, another 15 are expected to be completed by the end of this month and the remaining 13 should also be completed in the coming months.

“Our relationship with KOICA has been a very close and cordial one in the last few years. It started during the establishment of the Nigerian Korean Model School, Abuja, and was greatly strengthened when UBEC declared its intention to establish smart schools to which KOICA pledged its commitment to give maximum assistance to all aspects of the project.”

“From then on, KOICA has been involved in several activities of the programme including content development and the design of training courses,” he said.

UBEC project coordinator, Dr Bashir Galadanci, noted that the delegation was long expected to provide technical support as teaching and learning would commence in some of the schools in a few months.

He added that the academic activities would have commenced in the next school session, but had to be shifted a bit to give room for the installation of equipment and needed training of teachers.

The project manager, KOICA, Professor Dae Joon Hwang, reiterated the commitment of KOICA to continue to support Nigeria in the efforts to improve on quality education delivery in the country.

 

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