The federal government has said it would continue to equip students and citizens with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills such as machine learning and artificial intelligence and facilitate ICT adoption in teaching and learning in order to prepare them for a future strictly driven by technology.
The government made the pledge at the commissioning of the Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) by the minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who represented President Muhammadu Buahri at the event held at Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Ilesa, Osun State yesterday.
“I am aware that the programme was conceptualized to promote the availability and utilisation of ICT and resources of the Internet in teaching and learning in public schools in underserved, unserved and rural areas. In order words, this Digital Nigeria Centre has been designed to promote the connection of public secondary schools to broadband internet in Ilesa community, and the goal is to equip beneficiaries with 21st Century skills.
“More concretely, the specific objectives of Digital Nigeria Centre include; increasing ICT literacy among school teachers and students, providing a platform for accessing online educational resources, equipping students with ICT skills, facilitating ICT adoption in teaching and learning and ultimately to increase pass rate in Mathematics, English Language and other science subjects,” the minister stated.
In his speech titled, ‘Digital Skills and Literacy for Jobs and Social Inclusion’, the minister described the thorough and timely execution of the project as significant and commendable, noting that it prepared Nigerians in advance with digital skills and literacy for a future that would soon be driven strictly by technology, saying some major auto makers had decided to stop the production of combustion engines in the next 18 years.
“Interestingly, at least six major automakers, including Ford, Mercedes Benz, General Motors and Volvo joined the governments of 30 countries in November last year to pledge to stop the production and sales of internal combustion engine cars by 2040.
“The implication is that even a mechanic should be ICT compliant. Any mechanic that can’t use ICT tools will find himself out of job. Indeed, in the next 20 years, anyone not ICT compliant may not be part of humanity again, considering that it will be impossible to function and interact with other humans,” Ogbeni Aregbesola stated.
The minister also noted that the project was also a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Buhari administration to deploying technology to better the citizens’ quality of life and experience, saying It also went to emphasise the preeminent role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for improving standards of living as a people.
The minister said according to a 2018 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), major technological breakthroughs in next 10 years would impact forms of work and the structure of labour markets as well as other aspects of life such as education, health, and agriculture.
The minister of communications and digital economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who was represented by the executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof. Adeolu Akande, stated that the DNC centre would no doubt help in fast-tracking the acquisition of digital skills required for the implementation of the digital economy drive of the federal government, especially to the younger generation.
Pantami added that the digital skills which were a range of abilities and aptitudes required by users of digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information will also in-turn boost national security and enhance national growth and progress.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola who was represented at the event by the commissioner for innovation, science and technology, Dr. Babatunde Olawale, said Nigeria could not be left behind by the digital revolution in the world, noting that his administration also focused on building a sustainable economy through e-government and was grateful to the federal government for siting the DNC project in Osun.
The principal, Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Mrs. Ramota Ilesanmi, thanked the federal government for selecting the school for the project, saying it would go a long way in meeting the ICT needs of not only the students, but select residents of the city.
announced the establishment of the President Muhammadu Buhari N100 million Technology Empowerment Fund to create world class technology experts, targeting 2000 youths in the next two years in Ijesaland who will be provided devices for training in different areas such as software development and design, amongst others.
The Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) is a project facilitated through the Universal Service Provision Fund of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.