AUN is using mathematical modeling techniques to improve north-east Nigeria’s primary education system. On February 27, 2020, School of Information Technology & Computing Professor, Dr. Jean-Paul Cléron gave a seminar on the Strengthening Education in Northeast Nigeria (SENSE ) project. As a former World Bank consultant, he brought to bear his expertise on modeling SENSE.
The project seeks to unravel how, where, and to what extent interventions result in favorable or unfavorable outcomes for Northeast Nigeria’s primary education system and, ultimately, for pupils’ performances. This can be achieved by building and simulating a model of the education system.
True to AUN’s long standing tradition of providing solutions to societal problems , members of the university community gathered at the SITC seminar to learn about Systems Dynamics from the Professor. Dr. Cleron described Systems Dynamics as a very powerful tool to model, simulate, and understand the behavior of complex dynamic systems.
The SENSE intervention project is funded by USAID and executed by AUN through the Atiku Center. The ultimate aim of the project is to improve primary school children's literacy and numeracy in two states: Adamawa and Gombe. Four specific areas are key: enhance education authorities' management skills, train teachers, provide teaching materials, and engage communities. Dr. Cléron believes Systems Dynamics is fit for this purpose.
“The technique we used for the model is systems dynamics because it is well fitted for this. It is a good tool to understand this kind of problem.”
This seminar was a platform to present his first effort at developing a suitable model for the primary school education system. His motivation to model SENSE is grounded in his passion for problem solving.
Dr Cleron’s project is still a work in progress.That is why the Systems Dynamics expert calls it a prototype.
“It is a first effort of developing a model that we believe is suitable but it is a model that has not even been tested.”
He called on colleagues and research students who are interested in developing the work further to take the initiative.
"I think it is worthwhile because there is a lot of additional work to be done."
Dean of the School of IT & Computing, Dr. Mathias Fonkam, commended his colleague’s work saying the seminar shows just one of the areas of expertise in the school. He added that the SENSE project is important to the development of research at AUN, describing it as research that has some direct relevance to society. He challenged other faculty and graduate students to direct their research in applied areas relevant to the development of the African society.
“My only reason for being here is to contribute to the development of research-based scholarship and I think each of us can contribute not just in teaching but in research.”
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa