Education In Rural Nigeria

During the course of Wednesday's UK-Nigeria meeting, we found ourselves contemplating the realities of education at Fantsuam. For that was among the traditionally vast range of topics covered in a session which also spanned everything from Sickle Cell Disease to Mozzi-Mort!

It was interesting to learn that students at Fantsuam are being introduced to Twitter on the diploma course. However, concern was naturally raised that, once they leave the academy, they either competely lose internet access or can - at best - expect very limited online opportunities.

John consulted the team and, as ever, a possible solution was suggested. It was felt that a good idea would be to offer a small discount to students during the course of their training and also again once they have graduated. We are hopeful that this might be implemented.

One of the Academy staff was then detailed to send me more information about the Academy and it was during an additional Skype chat that I learned some interesting further detail.

I was told that it is the vision of Fantsuam Academy to deliver equitable ICT training to 600 local youths every year. They have been able to fufil this promise because they are commited to what they do and have always adopted a strategy of building capacity within and outside the organisation. With equitable training in ICT most local youths have been able to carve out employment for themselves - putting their skills into practice and creating young entrepreneurs.

I was impressed to see from Diploma students' blogs that they all had ambitions of getting jobs such a teachers, working in banks and businesses, receptionists etc following the successful completion of their course. Currently the Diploma students are learning about blogging and have just started to post their own blogs. More about this will follow in a future blog but I would like at this point to quote one student named Sophia, who said: "I appreciate the management of Fantsuam Foundation for making the organisation a conducive place for learning."

The students at the Academy are 15 years old or over. The ratio of women to boys is roughly 30:70. In order to join the certificate or Diploma course, a basic level of reading and writing English is required. This in itself will be a barrier to studying for many people.

Previously students younger than 15 could attend the Fantsuam's Children's Computer Club. This I understand was put on hold for a short period as it was proving to be so popular and there was the issue of staffing to consider. Now the plan is to look at reactivating this club.

Most of the children have either poor spoken and written English - or none at all. Were the Children's Computer Club to help address this, the numbers given access to education would rise.


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