Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Kukah Centre, in conjunction with ProFuturo, has embarked on the provision of digital classrooms for public primary schools in northern Nigeria.
The Kukah Centre said it planned to cover two to three million students over the next five years by raising the standard of education of the children.
The Lead Consultant, ProFuturo Initiative Nigeria, Michael Magaji, told journalists in Abuja during the ProFuturo training on a Digital Classroom Project that the move was to complement the efforts of government in education-service delivery by using new tools of technology with a curriculum similar to the nation’s curriculum.
The ProFuturo training is a five-day training for coaches and champions of the ProFuturo Digital Classroom Project.
The project will be implemented in 12 northern states in Nigeria and will have over 123,000 primary school pupils and more than 5,000 teachers participating. They are expected to benefit from the initial phase of the project implemented by the Kukah Centre.
Magaji further said that the implementation will assist in improving enrollment, adding that the most important aspect of the programme was that it would improve the learning and teaching experiences of both students and teachers that will ultimately lead to better outcomes in terms of education quality and performance.
Magaji dismissed speculations in recent time by the Professor Ishaq Akintola-led Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) that there was a relationship between the programme and the almajiri.
MURIC had raised the alarm after it was reported that the Kukah Centre planned to train 10 million almajiri, saying that Kukah’s initiative to train the almajiri in northern Nigeria was not for the interest of Muslims.
But Magaji said the almajiri narrative was just unfortunate because the programme had no religious colouration whatsoever as it involves both Christians and Muslims.
He said Bishop Kukah was not even bothered whether the beneficiaries will be atheists, saying that humanity is one and the idea was to promote education for national development.
“There is no relationship. There is no relationship at all. What ProFuturo is doing has nothing to do with the almajiri problem. The almajiri problem, you can put in the context of out-of-school children.
“But this programme is not looking at out-of-school children. We are actually going into existing public primary schools where subjects such as Science, English and Maths are being taught.
“They will continue to be taught. What we are addressing here is a national problem of education and not an almajiri thing,” Magaji said.
Magaji further said that the performance of education at the elementary stage in northern Nigeria was still very poor, disclosing that the centre is bringing new techniques to raise the standard of education.
“We hope that we can cover two to three million students over the next five years to enjoy this experience, using current public primary schools existing facilities. But essentially, giving them that experience which should lead to those outcomes,” Magaji further said.
Earlier, the Director of the Kukah Centre, Rev Fr Atta Barkindo, corroborated Magaji’s explanation that there was nothing like converting 10 million almajiri.
Barkindo, however, said the centre wishes it has the capacity and ability to empower such numbers and it would be glad to carry out such project.
“Honestly, we will be very happy to assist and to support. But this project is basically for disadvantaged children, out-of-school children, thinking about the future of Nigeria and particularly, the future of northern Nigeria,” Barkindo said.