National curriculum for ICT development wanted
Formal education has a specific mission of producing a critical mass, 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.
But the current curriculum in Nigeria’s schools is in a mess because 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.
And despite the compelling need to raise a new generation of ICT driven graduates, Nigerian leaders still pay no attention to the complete makeover of the schools’ curriculum.
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.
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.
The plan must also include the incorporation of the ‘internet’ as a discipline for the deepening of the nation’s cyber defense experts and technology entrepreneurs who will lead the local content drives.