12 January 2022

Using Technology to Address Nigeria’s Urgent Educational Challenges

Nigeria is quickly becoming one of the most important tech hubs in Africa. From healthcare to financial services, Nigerians are using technology to solve some of the country’s most pressing issues in various fields, many of which were exacerbated by the pandemic.

When the New Economy Booster program called for businesses to offer support and resources to enable them to thrive despite the pandemic, it received applications from many innovative technology companies. Among them were SkillNG and Shortkode, which focus on providing technology solutions to educational challenges in Nigeria.

The technology industry and education in Nigeria

In recent years the technology industry has boomed in Nigeria. The country has the second highest density of tech startups in Africa and local companies that have raised a significant amount of funding. Much of this funding is going to financial tech companies that address Nigeria’s poor financial infrastructure, but Nigerians are finding technology solutions to many other issues, including those in the education sector. 

Poor education is one of Nigeria’s major problems. The country has a population of about 200 million and ​​43% are ages 0-14. Of children aged 5-14, about 10.5 million are not in school. This number is pre-pandemic, but recent school kidnappings in the country and the pandemic have made the situation even worse. Children that are in school deal with issues like poor infrastructure and resources due to limited funding, poor teacher training, and more. 

This is where Shortkode and SkillNG come in.

Using Technology to solve Nigerias most pressing educational needs

Shortkode: Equipping educators with resources

During lockdown and with infections increasing due to the pandemic, students have had to stay home and learn virtually. Nigeria was not prepared for this shift to online learning. From lack of quality Internet access to lack of infrastructure, the difficulties are so many that many students, especially the ones with fewer resources, are missing months of school. Shortkode aims to solve a few of these issues.

The company provides the necessary infrastructure through its mobile app, which enables schools to host virtual classes at affordable rates. Through the platform, teachers can also sign up as after-school tutors and schools can hire and train staff virtually.

A 2018 survey by the Universal Basic Education Commission found that only 65% of basic education teachers nationwide were qualified for their positions. Furthermore, less than 60% of staff were computer literate and roughly 48% had not received training in the past 5 years. 

Thanks to the Shortkode app, schools can connect with qualified teachers who sign up and their existing staff can access affordable training.

By training teachers and matching schools with qualified teachers, Shortkode is improving student learning outcomes, one school at a time.

SkillNG: preparing young Nigerians for the workforce

SkillNG is also trying to solve some of Nigeria’s education challenges, but addresses a different demographic. The company provides young adults access to skills training to ensure job readiness through mobile technology.

Unemployment in Nigeria was at 33.3% by the end of 2020, as a result of many factors including the pandemic. However, one key reason for it is the lack of employability of Nigerian graduates. A major complaint of the country’s employers is that graduates do not have the relevant skills to thrive in the labor market due to outdated curricula and teaching methods.

With SkillNG, graduates can fix this problem by accessing online tutors to reskill and grow their knowledge. With a focus on digital skills like data science, graphic design and coding, the platform equips young people with exactly what they need to be more competitive in today’s job market.

The users consist of students, recent graduates and young professionals looking to switch careers. They are taught by their peers, making the service more affordable. In addition, students are given access to internships and job placements at companies onboarded to the platform.

Although addressing different issues, both these businesses are offering solutions in Nigerian education that are all the more timely in light of the pandemic. For more stories of Nigerian businesses providing solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues, take a look at the New Economy Booster program’s Dealbook.

This article is part of a series featuring impact-driven entrepreneurs from Ghana and Nigeria sparking innovation in COVID-19 affected sectors. To keep up to date with the New Economy Booster program, subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on LinkedInTwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and listen to the testimonies of the participants and program managers on our YouTube channel.