The role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cannot be over emphasized. More so, bringing ICT to the school environment has no doubt, enhanced teaching and learning. ICT has become widespread and is essential to, and plays a meaningful role in changing and modernizing educational systems, as well as the way of learning.
The use of ICT in schools by not only the staff, but students has become a necessity as it can be used to improve the quality of teaching and learning. ICT not only enhance teaching and learning, but it is believed to empower both the teachers and the students as it has become an essential tool for research. Indeed, ICT tools are used by researchers to facilitate the conduct of research.
It is a settled opinion that ICT is a key tool that is having a revolutionary impact on research and education globally. Sadly, this revolution is yet to be adopted by many Nigerian universities. Many of these higher institutions are yet to mainstream ICT in their teaching and learning. This has created a gap which needs to be filled so as to put Nigerian higher institutions forward in the global sphere.
However, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has been doing a lot to ensure that there is a turn-around in the integration of ICT in the nation’s public tertiary institutions.
The Fund’s intervention areas among others include Physical Infrastructure/Programme Upgrade, Project maintenance, TETFund Scholarship, Teaching Practice for COEs, Equipment Fabrication for Polytechnics, Entrepreneurship for Universities , Journal Publication, Manuscript Development, Conference Attendance, ICT Support, Advocacy , Institution Based Research, National Research Fund and Library Development.
The Fund through its ICT Support Intervention which is designed to deepen the leverage of information and communication technology in Nigerian public tertiary institutions, has been making appreciable progress in changing the narrative of ICT use in Nigerian universities. The ICT Support Intervention enables staff in beneficiary institutions to acquire ICT literacy and facilitate global visibility of the institutions through the development of a responsive, robust, interactive and informative website.
The intervention also cover other areas of ICT needs depending on the policy direction of the Fund.
In the guidelines for accessing the ICT Support Intervention, TETFund revealed through its
website that tertiary institutions in need of the intervention can apply for the initial phase of intervention line which include, the remodeling of Beneficiary Institution’s Website to improve usability, showcase TETFund projects and increase the visibility of the institutions thus contributing to improve their ranking; and the training of teaching and non-teaching staff of the beneficiary institutions to improve their computer awareness and use of ICT tools
towards improving the teaching and learning environment.
It also revealed that 70 per cent of the allocated fund, will be distributed for the training of the personnel of the institutions while 30 per cent will be allocated for the Website Development.
To make the training of these personnel in the institutions easier and better, TETFund recently revealed that it was partnering with renowned ICT organization, International Computer Driving License (ICDL) on the training of academic and non-academic staff of public higher education institutions on ICT.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, revealed this during a courtesy visit by a delegation from ICDL. The delegation was in the country to partner with the agency.
Bogoro stated that the agency’s focus on government-owned higher education institutions was as a result of the huge number of students in the institutions adding that 94 per cent of Nigerian students still enroll in public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.
“Majority of students in Nigerian colleges of education, polytechnics and universities are in public tertiary institution, it is 94 per cent. In terms of number, the public tertiary institutions have about equal number with the private but in terms of population you can imagine; it is 94 per cent for public.
“A number of private tertiary institutions are charging fees in dollars not in naira which is definitely much weaker. Therefore the Fund (intervention) should go to the public institutions,” Bogoro said.
He added that the move to engage ICDL on the training of staff in Nigerian tertiary institutions, became necessary as the country needed to shift focus from resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy.
“In the 21st century when knowledge economy has taken over from resource-based economy, we cannot lose focus on the fact that there are some elements that drive this knowledge. In the era of knowledge economy, ICT is actually the driver. That is the relevance of ICT and
digitalization,” he said.
Bogoro who emphasized the importance of ICT to nation building, expressed dismay that many Nigerian researchers were still analog and needed to be trained in the use of information and communication technology.
He added that it was important that the Nigerian tertiary institutions operate in the same level with their counterparts across the globe adding that with what TETFund is putting in place and with the partnership with ICDL, Nigerian tertiary institutions, will begin to pull their weight globally.
“The training and capacity building are pretty weak. In this country, there are some intellectuals, even many researchers that are analog. That is unacceptable. When we go around the world in the knowledge economy, we must be operating at the same level with our competitors. That is very important. And why I appreciate the two main areas, of partnership and we are taking it seriously,” he said.
Earlier, while speaking on the purpose of their visit, the ICDL General Manager in charge of Africa, Solange Umulisa, said her company, will empower tertiary institutions staff with relevant and up-to-date digital skills that will not only transform the academic community but also the nation’s economy.
Also speaking, the Strategic Advisor, ICDL Foundation, Mr Etinick Mutinda said that the initiative is to provide computer digital skills certification for those in the academic and non-academic.
He added that the organisation has an international certification for computer literacy that is adopted by governments and organisations across the world.
“This training will be offered through public tertiary institutions. They will be the ones providing the training. We are providing them with the curriculum and certification at the end of the training,” he said.
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