Iyinoluwa Aboyeji: Osun students have one less excuse to fail (Y! FrontPage)

by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Iyinoluwa-Aboyeji

Opon Imo might become a great medium for the students of Osun State to learn their arithmetic and physics from the best teachers, say a Nigerian Salman Khan, instead of having to settle for the incompetent, half hearted teaching…

Despite all the disappointing political news from last week, I have to say it has certainly been interesting times for technology in Nigeria. One recent groundbreaking technology related initiative particularly stood out for me; the launch of Osun State Government’s ‘Opon Imo’ tablet project. Our pundits have cynically derided the heavily co-ordinated publicity around both events, as gung shows designed to pretend the Osun State government is working – and it very well might be. However, in the cycle of despair that Nigerian politics tends to get stuck in, it might be a good idea to remind ourselves of when we are making significant progress.

The Opon Imo project as a concept is nothing but pure genius and the Osun State government and its education advisors and private sector partners (including Evans Publishing) have done a great job with it. For the uninitiated, Opon Imo is an initiative by the Osun State government that will see 150,000 secondary school students in the state equipped with a tablet computer that pre-installed e-book library, as well as thousands of mock exam questions for the 14 core subjects of the West African School Leaving Certificate Exam.

Now, the novelty of a state government sharing tablet computers will get a lot of people carried away – but they will be entirely missing the point. The game changer is the impact it will have on standardizing teaching quality across secondary schools in Osun State.

One of the biggest problems in education, not just in Nigeria, but the world over is that scaling quality through human beings is very hard and especially in a country like Nigeria, where teacher education isn’t even taken seriously, finding teachers of any kind of reasonable quality is literally looking for a needle in a haystack.

The benefit of having great content delivered by a medium like Opon Imo, directly to the student is that it can directly enforce standardization. The Nigerian teacher is often regarded as god in their classroom. Opon Imo is like mammon but in a great way. Content delivered via tablet to the student doesn’t come late to class, it doesn’t try to sell useless handouts, it doesn’t aggrandize and gallivant when you ask it a question it does not know or understand, you don’t have to have sex with it to get good grades and most importantly it narrows the chances that some knowledge will be lost in the transmission from textbook to teacher to student. With some foresight, Opon Imo might become a great medium for the students of Osun State to learn their arithmetic and physics from the best teachers, say a Nigerian Salman Khan, instead of having to settle for the incompetent, half hearted teaching many of them currently have no alternative to, especially in the public schools.

What would be interesting to see is if the Osun State Government can build a business model off of getting great teachers in Osun State to regularly build locally relevant content for the Opon Imo.

In either case, Osun State teachers should now be on notice that they have great competition in Opon Imo – and Osun students have one less excuse for that 90% fail rate.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (0)

  1. What a great initiative. It is of the order of Awolowo,s free primary education initiative

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