Vanguard (Lagos)

13 August 2010

Nigeria: Kanu, Others Root for Improved ICT Policy on Education

Former Military Governor of Imo and Lagos States, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Rtd, and the President General of Old Boys Association of Ughelli Government College, Delta State, Mr. Godwin Adokpaye yesterday, advised the Federal Government to take a holistic review of the nation's information and communications technology policy on education in order to arrest the increasing fall in education standard.

This was made known at the one-day seminar to celebrate the association's 65th anniversary at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

Kanu, who chaired the occasion, noted that unless Nigeria begins to direct policies towards embracing ICT and training of school children on the dynamism of ICT across the world, history would leave the nation behind.

For him, there is no reason the government cannot embark on a progressive policy of transforming the manual classes to digital and providing cheap and affordable computers to school children as a way of catching up with trends in the global world.

He said, "ICT development in Nigeria, calls for a national exercise and a re-orientation, which those in government should acquaint themselves with. As the world is moving, in the near future, there would be no elections that would not be based on ICT standards. We need to join the train now," he said.

In his welcome address, Adokpaye regretted that the education system in Nigeria had fallen far below acceptable standard, lamenting the slow rate of ICT penetration, saying they were twin maladies that can ruin an economy.

He said that it was the realisation of the danger the nation faced with such unfortunate developments that ignited the passion of the association in weaving the theme of the anniversary around the benefits of marrying a vibrant ICT sector with a sound education system.

Adokpaye said that a very clear sign of worry over the things to come, was how the education system was suffering such incredible setbacks despite the rich deposit of resources in the country and the large population of the country.

"Education system in the country has suffered incredible setbacks and standards have fallen and keeps falling. I think that enough is enough to that. In fact, it is proper and apt at this point in time for our leaders and all stakeholders to begin to address the system, so as to conform with the desired standards as well as the population stature of Nigeria. We think that all stakeholders should prevail now on policy makers to use ICT to remodel our education system," Adokpaye said.

However, in a lecture entitled, "Nigeria's Educational System in the Internet Age", the guest speaker, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, admitted that for Nigeria to advance in education, there was the need to fuse internet into the educational system.

Ilukwe, who described ICT as the bedrock of development and key in modern education, called for a complete paradigm shift in Nigerian education system and policy formulation.

He faulted the nation's policy approach in IT and education and advocated immediate government intervention and new policy guidelines that would drive the IT policies on education to conform with the world best practices.

He also cautioned against poor funding and lack of project monitoring, saying that unless the government effect change in the education curriculum and its perception on ICT, the country's development will continue to be under threat in view of the incredible advances being made in other countries.

"You can't make a progress in the internet age if the critical issue are not given the pride of place," he pointed out.

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