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Applying lnformation Technology ln Education And Research



The development of Information Technology (IT)in the past two decades has been on a fast-forward mode. The case of its adoption and convenient of usage has transformed the way we now conduct our daily activities. The 3rd lT platforms (social business, mobile computing, big data. IoT and cloud) are now adopted for productivity and enhanced performance. Investing in IT, adopting technological aids and promoting awareness are critical for national development and all organisations. Developing efficient Information Technology strategies require coordination between regional and international organisations; governments, the private sector and civil society.

A multi-stakeholder approach is obviously needed to improve the creation, development and use of IT strategies and tools needed for national development. It is indeed true that technology has made our life easy.

Just like every other sector that thrives on IT, the importance of deploying IT in promoting education in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.

Speaking at the international conference on Information Technology Education and Development (ITED 2018) entitled: Information Technology for Promotion of Quality Education, Research and Local Content Development held in Abuja, experts in the Information and Technology (IT) sector identified poor, outdated curriculums and gap between the industry and academia as some of the major factors that hinder full development and utilization of IT in developing the education sector and the national economy.

In his opening remarks, the AITP president, Prof. Afolayan Obiniyi, said there were so many complaints about teaching and research in the academia which necessitated bridging the gap between the industry and the academia, pointing out that the academia could improve local content development in teaching.

He said: “Indeed, if there is any time to look into home grown IT development, if there is any time to brainstorm on using what we have to get the IT we need, if there is any time to reason together on mentoring the young Nigerian in the spirit of IT, this is the time.”

In his remarks, the president of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Prof. Charles Uwadia, stressed the need to upgrade teachers’ IT knowledge.

“If teachers are not well grounded, we are not going to have quality graduates and the teachers of IT need to be properly schooled to be abreast with the profession and apply technology in teaching.

“It is not sufficient to set the standards and do accreditations, we need to take interest on how the standards set are met and adhered to. Upgrade is something that is ongoing, and technology is ever changing, so curriculum upgrade should be done in a timely matter,” he said.

The president, Young Innovators of Nigeria (YIN), Mr Andrew Abu said the conventional practice in the IT educational system should be discouraged.

“We want to change the mentality of the conventional practice of going to school, graduate and work among young people,” he stressed.

Abu further said YIN was proposing partnership with AITP to find a sustainable solution to drastically reduce unemployment in the country. “As part of efforts by YIN to achieve the objectives, the organization had started a skill-gap analysis and commenced training of young Nigerians within the university and out of school youths in Bayelsa, Yola and Kebbi states in the areas of user support, telecom, cyber security, infrastructure business development and maintenance, with an annual target of 5000 from 2018 to 2020 across the six geo-political zones.

‘‘We proposed a partnership with AITP to synergise our relationship with all stakeholders in the ICT industry and academia because we young people find ourselves in an environment where we go to school and believe that we can work after school. We want to change that mentality. The industry needs to go back to the universities to mentor the young people in the universities and also participate in training young lecturers,” Andrew said.

Delivering the keynote address, the director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Pantami, said the agency was working on developing a viable curriculum for IT education at all levels, pointing out that retooling the content of Nigeria’s education curriculum had become inevitable.

The NITDA boss who was represented by the agency’s deputy director in the cooperate planning and strategy development department, Mr Ben Ewa said the agency was interested in fostering viable and sustainable education ecosystem.

“For this reason, NITDA is interested in fostering viable and sustainable education technology system, learning and teaching using technological tools,” he stated.

He said what Nigeria needed to do was employ a process that would fill up the deficiency in the supply side to get it right in the education system.

‘‘With the increasing wave of innovation, the supply side of technology should be prioritized to enable education, including content. We don’t have enough digital content in the curriculum, and as such need a curriculum that is interactive. For us in NITDA, we would, in five months, come up with a workable framework that will be used to develop the new curriculum and mechanisms for delivering digital content to different end users.

‘‘The most effective way is for the private sector to support government to fund research in the development of such initiatives that can be provided through shared infrastructure to make IT affordable to end users.’’