Rather than serving its purpose of effective means of communication, the use of mobile phones, especially among children, has surprisingly done more damage than good.
Some features on the mobile phones such as messaging, rogue websites, social media platforms, and the increasing number of cheap call and data rate packages by service providers, have significantly affected the children’s lifestyles and education.
Worst hit is the nation’s education sector, as stakeholders have regrettably linked the rising cases of examination malpractices and students’ poor performance in external examinations to the negative uses of phones.
To many children, the use of cellphones has become an obsession, as they squander precious hours engaging in messaging activities, surfing the internet for frivolous and obscene things, or merely playing games.
But, worried by the development, one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has insisted that the excuse was not enough to throw away the baby with the bath water.
Despite the growing misuse and abuse, it said it is the responsibility of ingenuous individuals and organisations to provide for the inquisitive children relevant alternatives to the junks currently being accessed by them on their phones.
Against this background, the bank has introduced a Nigerian cum global curriculum-based learning application, aimed at getting the kids as well as adults meaningfully engaged whenever they hold their phones.
At the launch of the application, which took place at the International School of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, the bank said, the online learning platform, which it tagged; “UBA Learn,” was aimed at helping students achieve all round academic success.
Powered by Roducate, the innovation, according to the bank, is particularly targeted at students within five to 16 years and 17 to 24 age brackets, to attain academic excellence, while ensuring that the parents and teachers keep track and monitor their wards’ educational development, activities and performance.
The bank’s Group Head, Retail Consumer Banking, Mr. Tomiwa Sotiloye, explained that the product, which is accessible online through a downloadable mobile application USSD 91933#, features academic curricula such as the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO), continuous assessments and tests, financial education, learning and fun games, among many others.
He added that the product is open to both existing customers and non-customers, saying intending customers can have account numbers automatically generated once they enroll on the platform.
Also speaking, UBA’s Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka said as a technology-driven company with enormous capability in business, extending such capability to a critical sector such as education was a worthy decision taken by the institution.
He said because education is key and a fundamental human right, the bank felt the need to extend its innovative capability to revolutionise access to education through technology.
Uzoka said: “That is the main reason we are here today; to bring knowledge to the doorstep of everyone across Africa and other parts of the world, through this unique innovation, called UBA learn.
“The application is a distinctive and well-tailored product loaded with all the needed learning tools and required subjects put together in a robust manner that is guaranteed to grow with the students very early to when they become young adults.”
On his part, the company’s Group Executive, Digital and Consumer Banking, Anant Rao, said the product was carefully conceptualised to suit a niche focus of customers, who he noted, are mostly students.
He said: “This is because more than anything, we are a bank that is particularly passionate about the growth and development of youths especially as it concerns their academic growth as evidenced in the plethora of our campaigns and Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives (CSR) targeted at helping them find their paths in life. These initiatives include; Read Africa Initiative, Campus Ambassadors, National Essay Competition, among others.”
He added that apart from preparing the students academically, the platform also aids users to becoming financially independent, saying; “At this stage, account holders will enjoy exclusive invitations to job and career fairs as well as entrepreneurship workshops.”
Meanwhile, the Principal of the UNILAG International School, Dr. Brai Malik, applauded the bank for the innovation and for choosing his school for the launch, saying both students and teachers would benefit from the product.
He said: “UBA as a financial institution and innovator of this wonderful product deserves applause for demystifying learning with this application.”
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