Ibijoke Sanwoolu, the first lady of Lagos state, wants stakeholders in the education sector to consistently seek ways to use technology in improving education in the state. The governor’s wife made the call in a statement delivered by her representative, Oluwakemi Omiyale, wife of the executive chairman, Yaba LCDA, at a spelling bee competition hosted by Street Child Care and Welfare Initiative in Lagos, to celebrate this year’s International Literacy Day (ILD).

“We must continue to build conversations around leveraging technology to improve the teaching and learning process,” she said. “This is important and critical to protect and secure the future of our children and young people.” Like other sectors, Covid-19 caused a huge disruption in the education sector, forcing the state government to come with innovative ways to educate pupils who were at home due to the lockdown.

Several initiatives were put in place to ensure that students and pupils at home had access to various educational content on radio, television, and the new media in order to ensure that they are not left out of access to educational content. Highlighting actions taken by her husband’s government to ensure the continued education of students during the lockdown last year, she said the state government organised Educators’ Webinar Series aimed at positively galvanizing and revitalizing the mindsets of Post-Primary School Teachers into being adaptive, resilient, and evolve greater retention of creative ideas.

“This was with the view to scale up digital and online teaching. I am glad that this is the focus of the Spelling Bee Competition and I sincerely commend the Street Child Care and Welfare Initiative,” she explained in the statement. The focus of the International Literacy Day 2021 centres around exploring how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults.

This year’s theme Literacy for a Human-centred Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide, was conceived in view of the challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the unprecedented disruption of learning of children, young people, and adults. Comfort Alli, president, BoT, Street Child Care and Welfare Initiative, said there are a lot of gaps in literacy in Nigeria and that is one thing the organisation is trying to fill, especially in primary schools.

While explaining the reason for celebrating the ILD with a spelling competition, Alli said they found that a lot of children do not know how to read or have a poor reading culture. “So, we want to improve on that, which is why we’re getting into schools and it’s better to start early,” she said. Prior to now, the Street Child Care and Welfare Initiative started a book club in all schools it works with, but ILD provided an opportunity for “something different,” hence the idea of the spelling competition which targeted public schools and underserved communities.

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