As various African countries seek to engage their sizeable youth populations, this human capital investment will prove as important as the other types of investments being made on the continent. The e-Curriculum portal in Nigeria demonstrates how the public and private sector can work together to ensuring that these youth have the skills needed to succeed in a modern economy. The product of joint collaboration between the Nigerian government and leading Nigerian and U.S. ICT companies, the portal has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of education services in Nigeria and beyond.
The e-Curriculum portal is a new software platform launched by the Nigerian National Educational Research and Development Council (“NERDC”), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Education. Focused on senior secondary school education in the country, the portal digitizes the nine-year basic education curriculum and makes it available on a browser-based online platform accessible to (and downloadable by) students, teachers, and the general public. In addition to providing digital access to school curricula and learning materials, the portal will offer resources for teachers to compare and collaborate on work and lesson plans for students.
Leveraging the capabilities of the private sector, the NERDC developed the portal in partnership with Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, a domestic ICT firm recognized for its innovations in the educational sector. In addition, the portal will be powered by an Intel processor and run on a Microsoft Windows platform. In explaining the benefits which Nigeria may realize from the portal, Microsoft Nigeria’s Education Director Patrick Onwumere noted that “the pace at which a nation’s economy develops is strongly tied to its ability to access and utilize knowledge, the achievement of which is largely attributable to the development and deployment of ICT.”
The e-Curriculum portal and other ICT-based innovations in the educational sector are likely to play an important role in converting the youth bulge into a demographic dividend.