EdFin Microfinance Bank, Nigeria’s first specialised bank focused solely on education financing and US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital (GMC) has today shared insights of its ‘Remote Schooling Readiness’ survey which showed that over 67% of schools serving low income households are considering digital channels for education, despite challenges.
It also revealed that WhatsApp was the preferred platform of choice for teachers to engage with students, parents and collaborate among themselves.
These insights are based on responses from low cost private schools in Lagos in April 2020.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Data estimates that in Nigeria almost 40 million learners have been impacted across all education levels. To ensure continuity of education, education providers have identified technology as they key enabler for remote learning. However, the major challenge that remains to be surmounted for providers is how to serve the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, with low disposable income and poor access to digital services.
Despite these challenges, survey has revealed a clear demand and aspiration, from low cost schools, to use digital channels for education especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Findings: EdFin MfB – GMC Remote Schooling Readiness Survey
Readiness for Remote Learning
- 67.8% of schools are considering continuing operations via remote learning. Of the schools willing to take the online route, over 80% seek technological assistance for setting up remote learning operations.
- 9% of the schools surveyed have initiated full-scale remote learning. 36% have initiated partial remote learning (for selected classes and subjects) while 43% are exploring remote learning tools to implement.
- Of those schools who have initiated remote learning, the highest number of virtual classes are being conducted for primary schools; 38%.
- Interestingly, nearly 44 % of the schools have indicated parents of students not yet open to remote learning for their children. This can be adduced to reasons such as low disposable income to access digital infrastructure and services (such as mobile phones, tablets, personal computers and internet services), and lack of tangibility associated with remote learning, among others.
Access to Digital Devices
- Of the low-cost private schools surveyed, 21% responded that their students do not have access to any digital device for online learning. Only 13% of the schools had all their students equipped with an internet enabled device for online learning, while 63% schools responded that only a few of their students had access to devices and good connectivity.
- 19% of the respondents had all their teachers equipped with digital devices to conduct remote learning, while 66.2% responded that only some of their teachers had digital devices.
Core Competencies of Teachers for Online Classes
- Less than 21% of the private schools surveyed had teachers with all the skills needed for conducting remote classes, while 62.8% had some of the basic skills.
WhatsApp rules the roost
WhatsApp is the preferred platform of choice for teachers to engage with students (63%), parents (71%) and for collaboration with other teachers (74%) trouncing Zoom, Google Classroom and others.
- 23.6% of schools planning to charge fees for home schooling.
- 66.4% of schools willing to avail loans to equip teachers and students with digital devices for remote learning.
Speaking on the survey insights, Bunmi Lawson, MD and CEO, EdFin Microfinance Bank said, “Our survey is aimed at helping us get a deeper understanding of the constraints faced by low-cost schools in making their online transition. This is a time for smartphone, laptop and tablet makers, besides telecom service providers and education finance players like us to calibrate our offerings to tap into the opportunity presented by the low-cost school segment of Nigeria.”
Webinars and Workshops for School Transformation
To support school owners, principals and teachers of low-cost schools in Nigeria through this phase, EdFin Microfinance Bank will be organizing the EdFin Education Digitization Series from 13th May, 2020 comprising webinars on topics such as leveraging technology for school resilience, creating a culture of remote teaching and learning, eLearning opportunities for personal and professional development, among others. There will also be online workshops focusing on practical steps and handholding to enable school owners and teachers set up and run a successful online income earning school.
About EdFin Microfinance Bank
EdFin Microfinance Bank was birthed out of the need for quality education in Nigeria. The bank, which is dedicated solely to funding the education eco-space in Nigeria, aims to positively disrupt the standard and quality of education in the country, by providing much-needed financial resources and services to the education sector.
Founded in collaboration with Gray Matter Capital, EdFin is focused on facilitating a more enabling environment for private schools for them to offer quality education that would ensure improved learning outcomes in such schools.
To know more, visit www.edfinmfb.com
About Gray Matters Capital
Gray Matters Capital (GMC) is an Atlanta based impact investor with a gender lens that is on a mission to “Find a more purposeful life for 100 million women by 2036.” Aligning with its mission is its strategy of making sector agnostic investments globally via its gender lens initiative – coLABS in for-profit enterprises whose products and services benefit women and girls at scale.
GMC sees education, primarily catering to under-resourced and low and middle income sections of the society, as a powerful tool to bring about gender equality and social equity. Over the past 12 years, it has focused on supporting the education ecosystem in developing markets of South Asia by funding for-profit enterprises in the ‘learning to earning’ space, besides being pioneers in establishing the school finance industry catering to low cost private schools in Nigeria with the set-up of Taleem Finance Company Ltd, in addition to Pakistan (with Taleem Finance Company Ltd.) and India (with Indian School Finance Company).
GMC has till date funded over 80 enterprises across the world to the tune of US$ 125 million.
To know more, visit: www.graymatterscap.com