Nigeria, Chinese firm partner to establish digital education institute

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja


The Federal Government has commenced a process for the implementation of a partnership strategy that will help to establish digital education institute and provision of smart learning classrooms across the country.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, stated this after a meeting with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the State House.

She said that the meeting was between the Acting President, her office and the Chinese firm, which is looking at the Nigeria’s market, digital economy, digital education and how to improve on the country’s innovation strategy and building digital village for Nigeria.

“They’ve identified Nigeria as a potential market that they can invest in,” she said, adding “they have been also gracious to donate a smart classroom for us, which was inaugurated on Tuesday.

According to her, the Smart Classroom showed what the pupils in Nigerian primary schools could do if given opportunities.

She said the Chinese Digital Technology giant, NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited, is in line with the commitment of the government to continue to provide quality education to Nigerian children as stipulated in Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals. SDGs.

“It is also designed to facilitate investment in the ICT industry by building IT Incubators, Digital Studios and Software Outsourcing and Training Hubs, towards to the creation of new jobs in the area of Technology and Innovation,” she said.

The Presidential aide noted that in the pilot phase of the project, her office would be collaborating with NetDragon to provide a smart classroom to the Pilot Science Nursery/Primary School in the Federal Capital Territory.

She said: “The Initiative of Digital Education in Africa otherwise known as ‘IDEA’ was initiated by the Nigerian Government and NetDragon through the Public Private Partnership and direct Foreign Investment that will facilitate the setting up the National Education Resource Public Service Platform, National Education Community Network Platform, National Digital Talent Training Platform, and National Future Education Experience Centre.”

The SSAP-SDGs added that with the initiative, the government aims to provide high-quality digital education resources and a new teaching and collaboration model for basic education in Nigeria, thereby promoting education equity and improving teaching quality.

In terms of lifelong education, the Talent Training Platform will carry out lifelong skills training and intelligent management of talents in Nigeria to help Nigeria achieve talent upgrading and optimal allocation of social resources.

“With the initiative, our aim is to use technology to drive the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4, 8 and 9 regarding Quality Education, Economic Growth as well as Industry & Innovation, thereby creating jobs through the E-Learning Platforms, Educational Software and Apps as well as other innovations. By 2030, we want to ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development,” Orelope-Adefulire stated.

According to her, the initiative would also facilitate and promote investment in the ICT industry by building IT Incubators, Digital Studios and Software Outsourcing and Training Hubs, towards to the creation of new jobs in the area of Technology and Innovation.

“It is also expected that as part of the former launch, an Agreement of Cooperation (AoC) will be signed between the Federal Government and NetDragon, represented by its chairman, Dejian LIU,” she stated.

Also speaking, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, said his state has “started a pilot for about 50,000 children in 300 schools and as at today we are training about 5,000 teachers for the next roll out for about 200,000 children in about 600 schools.”

He said that the Chinese company came to make a presentation on how to expand and ensure the spread of digital literacy, because the world today has gone digital.

He stated: “Educational system is now based on technology, this company has done quite a lot of work in several countries in the world where they have deployed technology to develop teaching methods, to train teachers and contents to assist children to learn.

“The world today has gone digital and with the technology we have in Edo State, we can feel when the teacher is in class because the teacher must synchronized the tablets.

“We can tell when a child is in school because the teacher has to take attendance digitally. The teacher is now assisted in preparing lessons notes and delivering the contents in class.”

Obaseki added that technology has taken over education and that Edo State was moving with the trend.