Basic education in Nigeria faces a variety of challenges which have contributed to the nation’s failure to achieve global education goals including the now expired Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Nigeria still has the highest number of out-of-school children globally, girl-child education has been negatively affected by the security situation in the country, and learning outcomes of the average Nigerian child are poor.
Innovations to improve education, particularly in the non-state sector, are rapidly emerging in Nigeria. Many of these interventions are committed to increasing access to quality education for Nigeria’s poor.
At the 2016 edition of the Nigeria Education Innovation Summit (NEDIS) – an education stakeholders convening organized by The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre – participants agreed that it was critical for stakeholders to maintain continuous and sustained engagement around the issues of education, as opposed to periodic conversations in annual or biannual meetings.
Hence the establishment of the National Innovation Collaborative on Education (NICE). NICE functions as a membership organization with non-governmental and civil society organizations, contributing resources to facilitate learning and collaboration. The coalition has two broad objectives, which are to:
- Establish a platform for education interventions to co-create, share learnings and
- Support education innovations in specific task areas
The NICE platform has an open-membership structure with three membership levels dependent on the depth of engagement. They are:
- Core Working Group (CWG)
- Technical Partners
- General Members
Table 1 below provides an overview of these membership levels and their contributions to the coalition.
|Membership Level||Overview||Level of Engagement|
|Core Working Group (CWG)||
This group is made up of four organizations responsible for directing and coordinating the activities of the coalition. Their functions will include general NICE operations, fundraising and public relations, and development of knowledge products etc.
The CWG currently has The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre, which is acting as the project management office for the coalition.
|Contractual (i.e. organizational membership)|
|Technical Partners||This refers to individuals or organizations who have expressed their commitment to specific activities.||Individual or organizational membership|
|General Members||This refers to members from the wider education network. Specifically as many individuals/ organizations are on the mailing list||Volunteering (based on interest)|
To achieve its objectives, NICE will adopt a multi-pronged approach and engage in the activities detailed below
A. Strategic Communications:
As part of its mandate to facilitate collaboration, NICE alongside TEP centre will continue to host the annual Nigerian Education Innovation Summit (NEDIS). NICE will also communicate with members regularly via newsletters to highlight innovations and share learnings and success stories.
B. Education Data and Research Repository:
The education data and research repository will serve as a hub for education data. There is a dearth of accessible data and research on education, as access to such information is usually limited to those in the organization that generated the data or those who request access in person or through unpublicized channels. The data and research repository will streamline education data and make it accessible to sector stakeholders in an interactive, easy-to-understand format. The repository will also contain an online library of relevant research papers in an easily-searchable format.
For this project, NICE will partner with organizations that have strong connections to public institutions and can access the data generated by such institutions. Organizations such as DfID and EDOREN are strong potential partners.
C. Capacity Development for Education Innovations:
NICE will serve as a platform through which education stakeholders can share their experiences and provide support for other education innovations. These capacity-building interactions may take the form of workshops and other learning events specifically for NICE members or the extension of invitations to such events to NICE members. The focus of this will be to develop organizations and their capacity to carry out core functions such as communications, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and fundraising. These activities will be carried out by any member organization. However, it is expected that the majority of capacity-building events will be held by organizations that are Technical Partners of NICE or members of the Central Working Committee.
D. Database of Education Innovations:
As part of its mandate to highlight the ongoing work in the education sector, NICE will oversee the creation of an online database of innovative education projects in Nigeria. The information presented will be disaggregated by state/location and intervention focus. The database will allow innovations to share summaries of their work while also providing information that could potentially lead to the formation of partnerships of the additional funding. Together with the newsletter, this database will serve as a platform to showcase small and less visible interventions.
IN A NUTSHELL
NICE serves as a robust foundation for collaboration, engagement and communication around the issues of education and scaling up education in Nigeria. It is a platform recommended for all education stakeholders to leverage on for improvement, innovation and intervention in the education sector as it provides pathway for research, evidence, collaboration, communication and capacity development at various levels of engagement.