By Rosemary Ogbonnaya,
Universal Basic Education Commission, has disclosed plan to build Smarts Schools in the 36 states of Federation with each estimated to cost about N350 million.
The schools, according to the Commission will have the capacity to accommodate a large number of students and ICT infrastructure.
UBEC has also commenced discreet efforts to ensure full implementation of E-learning programmes in basic education across the country following the challenges occasioned in the sub-sector by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and closure of schools.
To this end, the Commission has assembled a team of experts in Kano for a 5-day workshop for the development of Course Outline and Course Contents for the training of education managers, teachers, technical support personnel and other stakeholders for the Smart Schools and E-Learning programmes in basic education in Nigeria.
Head, Public Relations Unit of UBEC, Mr David Apeh in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the experts at the workshop would identify courses required for stakeholders of E-learning and Smart Schools projects.
Apeh added that they would also develop course outline and course contents for E-learning and Smart Schools projects as well as modalities for the delivery of the training courses on E-learning and Smart Schools projects.
He recalled that the Commission is building 6 Smarts Schools (Six Information, Communication and Telecommunications schools) in the six geo-political zones at a cost of about N3.6 billion as part of initiative to encourage e-learning in the country.
Apeh noted that the training was very essential as it is intended to empower the teachers with skills that enable them develop their own contents and as well deliver such contents.
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi in his speech delivered at the workshop said: “The recent challenges in the basic education sub-sector occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for new learning and teaching models that offer learners and teachers flexible learning opportunities that seek to ensure unfettered access to quality education.
“Hence the idea of integrating e-learning into the Basic Education system.
“Fortunately, the Commission, even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been vigorously pursuing two important projects; the Smart Schools and the E-learning projects.
“In order for these 2 projects to successfully take-off, there is the need for the Commission to develop the capacity of relevant stakeholders that will ultimately manage these schools in particular and the Basic Education sub-sector in general.
“It is on this basis that the Commission is proposing a 5-Day Workshop for the Development of Course Outline and Course Contents for the Training of Education Managers, Teachers, Technical Support Personnel and Other Stakeholders for the Smart Schools and E-Learning Programmes,” he said.
Bobboyi further explained that the capacity building for the different categories of stakeholders would include general training on ICT tools and facilities.
He added that the training would cover all issues pertaining to effective use of various ICT tools and facilities to enable the teachers efficiently use them, saying this would also cover areas that have to do with various software packages and their use as it pertains to e-learning delivery.
On digital pedagogical training, the UBEC boss said this would focus on developing teachers’ skills on e-learning lesson delivery, explaining that the pedagogical skills required for e-learning delivery is far different from the face-face pedagogical skills.
“Without these skills, the expected impact of the initiative will be minimal if not lacking. The training will cover such areas as pedagogical skills for online lesson delivery, learning management system, assessment practices, blended learning methodology etc,” he said.