2020: The Year That Almost Paused Learning…
Letter From The Founder
For a very long time to come, the year 2020 will continue to serve as a reference point to be the year that challenged the fabrics of our socio-political and economic beliefs. It has helped us see the connection between the strength of global public health and its direct implication on education and learning amongst other very important aspects of our lives. If not for technology, the year 2020 was almost the year the world paused learning.
Even at that, the pandemic did extensive damages to education, especially in Africa where physical schools were closed with little or no infrastructure to ensure learning continues virtually. By extension, the pandemic also affected the skill tutoring market which is our (SkillNG’s) operating industry as COVID-19 restrictions highly discouraged physical interaction. This resulted in a sector-wide revenue losses that the World Bank reported could add up to $10 trillion!
For the year 2020, we had amazing plans for SkillNG that included expansion of our physical presence to Lagos State and two other states in Nigeria; launch and expansion of our student community, Skill Society, across 20 campuses in order to deepen our impacts amongst students in tertiary institutions; as well as seeking and executing partnership with various youth-led and youth-focused organisations in order to reach more young people with our skill development programs amongst others. Our plan for 2020 was to reach not less than 10,000 young people with our various programs. Unfortunately, we had to recalibrate 80% of our plans by the third month into the year when the pandemic forced the government to announce lockdown and other restriction measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
We took some couple of months to review our strategies and mode of operations since our focus was (and still is) on highly interactive and peer to peer skill tutoring which is best executed within physical environment which was now affected by the movement restrictions. The system we operated pre-COVID-19 allowed us to track learning progress more transparently and monitor behaviour and creativity. Also, due to internet penetration problems in Nigeria, we were able to make skill acquisition more accessible especially for disconnected youth from low-income communities. Eventually, like many in our sectors, we moved our activities online albeit without sacrificing the human interaction feature we’ve been known for. Making this transition has been very challenging for various reasons ranging from infrastructure deficiencies, to learners’ mental resilience amongst others, nevertheless, we recorded modest achievements and we hope to consolidate and improve on our learnings in the coming year.
On the positive side, the pandemic gave us a very unique opportunity to create value and happiness for the vulnerable in our local community as exemplified by our various charitable activities in COVID-19 awareness and resources mobilisation that can be found here, here, here and here.
As at the end of the year 2020, I am happy to announce to you that we recorded 2,946 additional learners (from our various group and personal skill tutoring classes) into our alumni network bringing the total to 5,045 since we launched out in 2018 (The breakdown of our group class can be found here). For a pandemic year, this is a big deal for us and I appreciate our community of learners, tutors and partners for making this happen. We appreciate the support (training and funding) we got from The Sina Adegunle Business Summit by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ibadan earlier in the year and we are also excited to announce that SkillNG got into The New Economy Booster Acceleration Programme by Impact Hub. The programme scheduled to be concluded in 2021 will no doubt help us build our capacity while we work tirelessly to scale our impact of strategically skilling African youths for the digital economy.
At this point, permit me to restate that SkillNG as a venture is continuously committed to providing African youth with affordable, flexible and highly industry relevant digital skill and employment readiness training. And this is why we are very optimistic and excited about the coming year and we can’t literally wait to launch some of the amazing products and programmes we have carefully planned for our community of learners and tutors. We will keep you posted about what you should expect from us in upcoming updates.
Once again, we appreciate you as an important person in our community and we know it as a fact that 2020 would not have been possible without you. And on behalf of SkillNG, I wish you a more prosperous year in 2021.
SkillNG Founder & Team Lead