Assessment of Multichoice’s Resource Centres0
The power of sight and sound in education cannot be over emphasized as the pictorial representation of the subject matter lingers on the mind of students than its expression in verbal form.
To bridge the digital divide between Nigeria and other advanced countries of the world, Multichoice, leading direct-to-home digital pay television operator set up resource centres to enhance teaching and learning processes in Nigerian schools. The resource centres known as Multichoice Resource Centres is a partnership between Multichoice Nigeria and SchoolNet Nigeria, a non-governmental organization committed to the effective use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to nurture young talents, harness skills and expand opportunities by providing access to technology and premium educational content to transform learning in the classroom.
John Ugbe, managing director, Multichoice Nigeria speaking on the Multichoice Resource Centre project said beneficiary schools of the resource centre project have access to the special Multichoice education bouquet
We have instructional channels such as Discovery, National geographic, BBC World, History Channels, Animal Planet and Mindset Learn at no cost to the schools.
Ugbe said the Resource Centre Project is part of a broad based community development strategy designed to raise the standard of education in public schools on the African continent by leveraging on assets and expertise of Multichoice digital satellite television for development and growth of African communities.
Using its technology platform, Segun Fayose, head, Corporate Communications Multichoice said Multichoice provides innovative educational resources to teachers and students in 201 schools in 21 states across the country, adding that the company would include 40 more schools before the year runs out. “Since inception of the project in Nigeria, Multichoice Nigeria has spent over N100 million in the training of teachers across the country,” he said.
The MRC consists of audio-visual learning technologies via digital satellite television. The company installed and donated for each beneficiary school, a DSTV decoder, video recorder, TV set, DVD player, 50 blank video cassettes, whiteboard, generating set, stabilizer, metal filing cabinet, tables and chairs, burglary proof for the equipment and special education bouquet comprised of free subscription to instructional channels such as Discovery, National Geographic, BBC Knowledge, Nat Geo Wild, BBC World, History Channel, Animal Planet and Mindset Learn. The company also trained teachers and Master Trainers.
The long term vision of the project is to raise the standard of education in Nigeria by deploying communication technology tools in secondary schools across the federation and assisting in bridging the digital divide between Nigeria and other advanced nations using education in secondary schools as the point of contact.
It was an impressive discovery for MultiChoice, when it embarked on an impromptu assessment of its Resource Centres (MRCs) across the country, with a view to ascertaining its prospects, challenges, achievements and the way forward.
The evaluation exercise, which commenced with the resource centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State, revealed that there is need for a geographical spread of the MRCs among the country’s secondary schools, owing to its significant transformation of teaching and learning techniques. The assessments also revealed the need for State government and Ministries of Education (MoE) to play their own part, as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the tripartite parties.
When the evaluation team, visited African Church Grammar School, Owu, Abeokuta, one of the beneficiary schools, Olanrewaju Nicholas, vice principal, Special Duties commended Multichoice on the initiative, saying it has impacted positively on learning in the school. He said the establishment of Multichoice Resource Centre in the school is an added advantage and a boost to its image as the school is known for high academic standards. He affirmed that the project had improved students’ performance a great deal, revealing that the school authority intends to partner old students for the expansion of the centre.
The vice principal explained that the school has taken upon itself the responsibility of providing needed logistics necessary to the keep the centre running, seeing its impact on students academic performance. He said: “this project has impacted positively on our students. They now see the visual representation of what they do in class. It has added value to our school and so, we need to expand it and we are to partner old students in doing this, because science, arts and even commercial students are benefiting.
The school’s Chemistry teacher, Mr. Olabode Saheed said: “Teaching chemistry is abstract, but looking at it on the screen makes it more interesting and you know children like watching television. Pictorially, the demonstration in television sticks in the memory than theory, and this is an added advantage. Generally, the concept and techniques involved in this MultiChoice initiative has improved my personality as a teacher”.
He said the school produced the best students in all science subjects in the last WAEC examinations.
Though the project is not without its challenges, Orisalola Tajudeen, the school’s mathematics teacher identified computer illiteracy among the teachers as one of the set backs, as those already trained by Multichoice were transferred from the school during the tussle between missionaries and government on ownership of the school.
An SS3 student, Omoniyi Mathew said: “it has enhanced our learning. It helps us in pronunciations and sometimes, if the chemical we need for a practical class is not in the laboratory, we watch it on the television and that gives us what we want”.
Oladipo Iyanuoluwa, also in SS3 said: “We used to depend on our notebooks, but now, because we love watching television, we do theory in the class and come to the centre for the practical. And anything we watch here sticks in our brain”.
At Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, from which the latest ‘Creative Teacher Award’ winner Mr. Olalekan Adeeko emerged, teachers took it upon themselves to fuel the generator and use the centre in upgrading self and then extending it to students by recording contents that are similar to the school curricular and then viewing for the students when need be.
A mathematics teacher, Mr. Akinlolu Akintolu said: “it’s been very resourceful. We used the ones that are applicable to students and I use the more advanced ones to upgrade my knowledge and then impact on the students as well. But power is our major challenge.”
At Baptist Girls High School, the story was not the same, as all the teachers trained by SchoolNet have been transferred, leaving the centre in the hands of an amateur who, because of his passion, strives against all odds to master the effective usage of the centre. The physics teacher, Mr. Muniru Olalekan, said: “the teacher that was supposed to train me has been transferred. I am doing everything possible to ensure the centre is functioning well but the school is not willing to fuel the generator. When there is power outage, they are always complaining of lack of funds.”
Adeniyi Olufemi, principal of Yewa College, Ilaro observed that the resource centre contributed to improvement in the study of sciences compared to when the school was without a resource centre.
He said: “Students are opportuned to view programmes, give their assessment and teachers are also able to interact with them on the performance viewed, especially in Mathematics and Physics.
The Deputy National Coordinator of SchoolNet, Mrs. Ronke Bello, who was part of the team, hinted that though every project has its own challenges, it was obvious that human attitude to issues and the bureaucratic system of government were hindering the success of the centre.
She noted: “We have seen a lot of gap from government within this few years, there is lack of continuity and it is obvious that government and the Ministries of Education (MoEs) are not keeping their own part of the agreement, willingly signed with the donor. We advised that in case of transfer, all the ‘Master Trainers’ should be allowed to stay for like two-years, so as to transfer the knowledge to others, and schools are advised to trains teachers as at when due, government did not honour that”.
“Secondly, in all MRC projects, it is only in Nigeria that MultiChoice donated generating set, and we appealed to MoEs to assist schools in funding, which they accepted. But today, it is not being implemented. It is well known that the MRC project has been running successfully in the last seven years, and our children are coming out tops in international competitions. But our major problem in this country is sustainability and consistency. How can government, within the last two years, hand over missionary schools to the owners, transfer teachers and again take over the schools and transfer teachers again. The system is not stabilized and is affecting the success of the children.”
However, as part of its yearly routine to continually roll out more centres to cover the 36 states of the federation, including the capital territory, the company decided to appraise the existing ones and weigh the school management’s involvement and participation in maintaining them before setting up new ones.
Though, few factors were discovered to be hindering the maximum effect of MRC project in few areas, but the company said this would not deter it from increasing the number of beneficiary schools across the country. The aim of the project, according Multichoice’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Segun Fayose, is to improve the standard of education in Nigeria by deploying information communication technology tools as a point of contact, to bridge the digital divide between Nigeria and other advanced nations.
Sources: The Guardian, Nigeria Communications Week