By Afolasade Osigwe

One of the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is the extension of the space for learning online which experts believe could be utilized for empowerment.

Ways and how to maximize the associated gains and explore youth-related opportunities were the focus of a 2- day media dialogue on Digital Learning Platforms which kicked off on Wednesday in Lagos.

 A Programme Specialist in UNICEF, Johannes Yimbesalu noted that part of UNICEF’s initiative to bridge the gap from schooling to work was the creation of The Youth Agency Market Place platform, YOMA, about two years ago.

He noted that the YOMA allows young ones to build and transform their futures by creating learning, skilling and social enterprise opportunities for them.

Yimbesalu said, “There are over two hundred thousand current users on YOMA and Eighty-seven per cent of them are from Nigeria”. 

According to him, YOMA hosts links to opportunities for young people and its contents help to boost job seekers’ qualifications.

Another Learning Platform that was reviewed, is the  Nigeria Learning Passport, NLP. 

The Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics in the  Lagos State Ministry of Education, Dr. Adejare Afolabi, said the NLP, was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education at both federal and state levels in conjunction with the UNICEF to complement the traditional means of learning, available to children and youth.

Dr. Afolabi explained that the platform would help children to understand better and learn at their own pace which will eventually reduce the number of out-of-school children.

He added that teenagers and youths can also acquire digital skills from the Nigerian Learning Passport which teaches lessons in Nigeria’s three major local languages in addition to English language.

Another facilitator at the forum, who spoke on the  Overview of Youth Employment, Skilling and Upskilling in Nigeria; the Senior Programmes Manager at TECH4DEV, Mr. Abraham Akpan, said his organization had put up various skills empowerment programmes which are all tuition-free, in conjunction with the Federal ministry of communication and digital economy.

Akpan explained that TECH4DEV’s mission was to create opportunities for Africans to access decent work and entrepreneurship, through digital skills empowerment and advocacy.

In an opening remarks, the Communication Officer, UNICEF, Lagos Office, Blessing Ejiofor said the primary objective of the media dialogue was to understand the workings and opportunities that various digital learning platforms can offer Nigerians.

She, therefore, called on the media to assist in building advocacy about the learning platforms for all stakeholders to be adequately informed about them.

Similarly, The Lagos State Director of National Orientation Agency, NOA, Adetola Adegboyega noted that Tech had become so important that the young ones need to learn it because it is the future. 

Journalists from some media organisations and Youths are participating in the media dialogue organised by the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Lagos State in collaboration with UNICEF.

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