Parents can now heave a sigh of relief over data cost for e-learning as the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has partnered two e-learning platforms to provide data-free access to educational content to primary and secondary school pupils forced to stay home because of the pandemic.
The websites, schoolgate.ng and mobileclassroom.com.ng can be accessed data-free from devices subscribed to major telecommunication companies’ internet packages.
Throwing more light on the initiative, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Education Interventions, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, noted that Airtel subscribers can already access the educational content on the site free-of-charge.
“Due to the nationwide closure of schools to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, these portals offer a free subscription to students in primary and secondary education levels during this period.
“There is content for other education levels including Vocational education on the portals but primary and secondary education is prioritised for free access for now.
“Understanding that aside from free subscription to the portals, students will also need data subscription for internet services to browse. So we engaged Telcos to provide data free access to the sites.
“So far, Airtel Nigeria has given their subscribers free access while other networks including MTN, Glo and 9Mobile should roll out theirs this week.
“All that is required to access the portal is an internet-enabled device, ie. Phone, tablet, iPad or computer, However, users must keep their mobile data enabled on the device,” Bank-Olemoh said.
While schoolgate.ng caters for primary school content, the mobileclassroom.com.ng provides secondary school content tailored to the national curriculum.
Chief Executive Officer of mobileclassroom.com.ng Mr. Salami Akeem said his firm had declared the website’s content subscription-free for secondary school pupils since the lockdown began about a month ago. He said the involvement of the FME resulted in the data-free access to get more learners on board irrespective of their social status.
“At the beginning of the lockdown, we declared the platform free. Since the Federal Government was seeking a way to provide e-learning free to students, they collaborated with us seeing that we had already declared our content free.
“To make it at zero cost to the students, they initiated discussion with the network providers to provide free data access,” he said.
Akeem said he expects the number of pupils accessing his firm’s educational videos to increase exponentially with the FME’s collaboration.
“In less than one month that we declared our content free, we recorded almost 100,000 views on our videos. So we are expecting more with this collaboration. We will provide free content while the pandemic lasts. But we are hoping the Federal Government will be willing to extend the collaboration beyond this time,” he said.
The e-learning solution is in addition to radio and television lessons being aired on government-owned television and radio stations – NTA and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).