E-learning for Improved Academic Outcomes for Girls in Kebbi State

The story of the 2019/2020 academic session in Nigeria will be incomplete without mentioning the disruption of academic calendar as a result of general lockdowns to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Being an unprecedented event in the history of the 21st century, most schools, especially, government owned schools were not prepared for this unexpected turn of events. Furthermore, the lockdown came at a period that pupils in terminal classes were at the brink of writing their final regional school-leaving examinations. 

Nana Girls and Women Empowerment Initiative, Kebbi state.

Fatima L. Adamu, Executive Director

“We recognised that some Local Government Areas could not be reached through these two media, so with the grant we got from WVL on COVID, we were able to reach out to at least one (1) LGA and we established E-learning facility focusing on girls in Senior Secondary School 3.

For northern Nigeria that is struggling with a fragile educational system in terms of school enrolment and retention especially for girls, a total school lockdown before a final school assessment may increase the rate of failure as most of these pupils needed constant coaching to ensure examination success. To mitigate this risk, the Kebbi state government introduced classes through Television and Radio to keep pupils busy with schoolwork. However, there were some hard to reach communities that could not benefit from this intervention because of lack of access to Radio and Television.

It is against this backdrop that Nana Women and Girls Empowerment Initiative, the lead WVL-N partner in Kebbi state, initiated a cost-effective Solar-powered E-learning facility for sixty (60) girls in their final classes (Senior Secondary School 3) from three (3) communities in one (1) hard to reach Local Government Areas; Yauri, Shanga, and Ingaski LGAs. Girls were the primary target of this intervention mainly because a long break from academic activities poses the risk of early marriage and teenage pregnancies for the girls.

With a server, solar panel, and projector, an e-learning center that does not depend on electronic power for its functionality was set up. Five teachers worked as volunteer facilitators who were recorded live, and their recordings uploaded into the server to be accessed by the girls through a free mobile application called “Module.” Twenty-five of the Girls who did not have access to smart phones were provided with android phones, while their parents were responsible for data purchase.

We selected the best teachers in the state who worked on the curriculum. Because of the girls’ background, we thought it best to use the local language; the Hausa language which everybody speaks so there is the English and the Hausa version.

By the end of the lockdown, 300 pupils both male and female had benefitted apart from the 60 primary beneficiaries through content sharing. The center was also handed over to the school-based Management Committee for continuity.

Phase II

Following the ease of the lockdown and based on high demand, the intervention was scaled up to two (2) Senior Girls Secondary schools in 2 LGAs through WVL-N Strategic Innovation Fund. Since pupils could now go back to school, the project approach was modified to suit the new circumstance. The schools were selected on the basis that they have an existing computer laboratory. The laboratories were revived with the repair of derelict computers, and the provision of the solar panel and server. The module application was installed on the computers and the content used during the lockdown were uploaded into the servers.

“They sent their workers to us to make sure the lab is in good condition. Everything is there in the lab; the computers, the solar, and the wireless. Now our students can operate computers. They teach them in their mother tongue so our students can understand what they are teaching them because teaching them in their mother tongue is better than using the foreign language. They understand better than when you use English.”

Maryam Muhammad Jega
Principal, Government Girls’ Day Secondary School, Jega.

“It assists the girls in their studies. This project is a very good one which we pray should continue because we have seen the benefits of it. Currently, we have 75 students who can operate on their own and we hope that more students can benefit. Most of these girls come from the grassroots, and if girls with such a background can use an e-learning facility, then it is a credit to Nana Girls and ActionAid Nigeria.”

Salamatu Bala Tafida
Principal, AAGGC, Birnin Kebbi

“Now we can sit and turn on the computers to chat, to browse, to read, and do so many things about e-learning. We really appreciate that you are helping us. Thank you, Global Affairs Canada and ActionAid Nigeria.

Firdausi Abdullahi Haruna
Student, GGDSS, Jega