Airtel: Bridging the Digital Gap in Schools

“It’s tougher tutoring primary school kids without learning aids,” said Dada Funmilola, Mathematics Teacher at the Agidingbi Primary School, on the school hallway, as rain drops pounded the patchy football field several floors below with some vengeance and two birds swayed on a tree branch; completely drenched meters away.

The Agidingbi Primary School is among  the number of schools across Nigeria where Telecommunications firm, Airtel, has taken its whirlwind campaign of bridging the digital divide between schools and the larger community.

Airtel provides internet facilities to 131 public primary schools in Lagos State and has adopted three public primary schools across the country. The adopted schools are Community Primary Schools including:Amumara, Ezihinitte-Mbasie, Imo State,St John`s Primary School, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State and the Presbyterian Primary School,  Ediba, Abi in  Cross River State. The adoption process involves providing infrastructural facelifts to the affected schools.

“Airtel’s intervention in our school has improved the pass rate of mathematics here and more pupils have become very interested in mathematics as a subject”  said Funmilola .. Airtel provides the schools with television sets, internet facilities and various teaching modules to help the teachers with explaining aspects of intricate subjects in mathematics. “The classes we focus on are the Primary  5 and Primary 6 classes as they prepare for the Common Entrance Exams,” added Funmilola.

Airtel’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) support for schools is also replicated in Majolate Primary School, Baruwa Primary School, Mushin, St. Paul’s Primary School, Ilupeju, Mainland Model Primary School, Alakara Primary School and the Olusosun Primary School in Oregun (all in Lagos).

“Our goal is to make learning fun for the kids and expose them to the world of information technology at an early age,” said Chinda Manjor, Airtel’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, “and the feedback we’ve been receiving from the Head Teachers of these schools has been heart-warming.”

Njoku LC, Head Teacher of the Olusosun Primary School corroboratesManjor’s views as we catch up with her on a quiet school day in the school’s pristine surroundings.

“Airtel’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ initiative has been quite resourceful for us here,” Njoku says, as she walks the CSR Nigeria team to the classroom where the ICT facilities are situated. A television set is encased in an iron stand and the desks are arranged to make for easier viewing for the pupils. “The pupils are quite excited about the initiative and we have Airtel members of staff keeping tabs with us periodically to ensure that the project is sustainable. “We want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Airtel,” Njoku added.

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