Beyond the new ICT policy on education
The federal government recently led the way with the launch of a new national policy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the nation’s education sector, in a bid to enhance modern teaching and learning in schools across the country, the Malam Adamu Adamu, minister of Education, at the launch of the facility in Abuja, said the ICT policy would be integrated into schools’ curriculum.
He stated that the new policy would provide the needed guidance on expectations from all stakeholders in the entire process of ICT integration.
“Its implementation therefore, should lead to a speedy transformation of teaching, learning, research and administration.
“This in turn should ensure that graduates at all levels of education possess the required competencies for socio-economic development, global competitiveness and self-reliance,” he said.
This move is commendable because the current curriculum in Nigeria’s schools is in a mess as it lacks information and communications technology (ICT) ingredients leaving the system to churn out half-baked graduates.
The system as it is today cannot create a knowledge driven economy or so called new economy in which the generation and the exploitation of knowledge play the major part in the creation of wealth.
Formal education in Nigeria has a specific mission of producing a critical mass of Nigerians, grounded in the key generic skills, who on the basis of the high-quality education they offer would provide the needed catalyst for the nation’s socio-political and economic development.
Particularly disturbing is the fact that most Nigerian graduates leave institutions of higher learning without even touching a computer, leaving them without requisite skills to integrate into the ICT driven business environment.
Under-funding, population explosion, quantity and quality of the teaching staff have been variously identified as some of the reasons why Nigeria is yet to strike the right chord.
The high cost price of computer hardware and software, apathy and lack of concerted investment in information technology training are some of the other reasons why most graduates leave school computer illiterates.
Most school teachers from primary to tertiary also lack the skills to fully utilize technology in curriculum implementation hence the traditional chalk and duster approach still dominates in school pedagogy.
It is so bad that 80 per cent of the Nigerian universities and polytechnics, offering Computer Science as a course still include obsolete topics in their curriculum.
The way forward is to develop an effective curriculum that includes communications, numeracy, information technology, and social skills units, with specific, specialized teaching of each.
It is also important to attract and retain qualified and experienced IT lecturers as well as build state-of-the-art laboratories.
A modern and vibrant education system entails wide–ranging activities that would ensure functional and qualitative education of the highest possible standards at basic, post-basic and tertiary levels.
The primary goals to achieve this include providing access to quality education at all levels, improved learning and teaching infrastructure, according greater importance to science, information technology, technical, vocational education and training.