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ICT, a luxury in Lagos public primary schools

By Kanayo Oguegbu
12 May 2016   |   2:08 am
Availability of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) facilities remain a sine qua non in contemporary learning, while its application in teaching and learning at all levels of education.

primary-ict

Pupils travel miles to receive lessons

Availability of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) facilities remain a sine qua non in contemporary learning, while its application in teaching and learning at all levels of education, has an overwhelming influence, which many experts have attested to.

According to Greg Hanley, the use of ICT can have an extremely beneficial motivational influence on pupil’s learning capabilities.

“ICT undoubtedly is becoming more and more central to all of our lives. It is greatly important that education does not fall behind with the rest of the world, and it is through the use of ICT in the education system that we will keep the future generations on track,” he stated.

Perhaps, it was in this light that the National Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), with underlying emphasis on achieving quality education for all, included ICT in the primary school curriculum.

ICT falls under the Basic Science and Technology (BST) subject group in the NERDC primary school curriculum. The council stipulates that it should also be applied in the teaching of other subjects and not only in BST.

But The Guardian investigation in some Lagos public primary schools, in Alimosho local council area precisely, shows that the application and usage of ICT in teaching and learning at primary level was still a far cry from what it should be.

Regrettably, a visit to most schools in the area indicate that the dream of exposing pupils at this level of education to ICT remain forlorn, and may be very far from fruition, even after the much-trumpeted desire by the state government to revolutionise basic education and give the pupils qualitative education.

Alimosho local council area is the largest local council area in the state with a population of about 1.3 million people. Sadly, public primary schools in the area still struggle with inadequate ICT laboratories, and its application in teaching and learning neither here nor there.

From the reaction of Primary Six pupils of Ore-Ofe Nursery and Primary School, Egbe, when asked about their ICT lessons, it is obvious that the subject remains a major lacuna in their learning process.

A teacher who did not want her name mentioned informed that the school lacks ICT facilities and the pupils have to go to a designated computer centre at stipulated periods to receive ICT lessons.

This is akin to the submission of another Primary Six teacher at Local Government Nursery and Primary, Idimu, who also craved anonymity.

According to her, “Our pupils do not receive their computer studies right here in our school. There is a special computer centre at Egbeda designated for such lessons. The service is also available for other schools around here. We all have days specifically mapped out for computer lessons every term. They go in a chattered buses to the centre located within the premises of Ebenezar Primary School, Egbeda and Egbeda Primary School.”

The scenario is not different from the findings in some primary schools in Igando-Ikotun LCDA, Atebo Primary School and Olokotun Primary School. Some teachers who spoke to The Guardian on grounds of anonymity said, “We do not teach ICT in the school, our pupils usually go to Egbeda for ICT lessons, anything pertaining to computer is not done in the school’s premises.”

When The Guardian visited the centre, it was discovered that 32 schools in Alimosho local council area receive ICT lessons three times per term there.

Head of Department, Computer Science, Mr. Onifade Williams, who administers the centre, said, “Pupils from these schools come for their computer lessons as scheduled, riding on BRT buses, free. All the schools come here three times per term. We have two rooms here, one for theory and the other for the practical lessons where the ICT facilities are situated.”

He confessed that pupils do more of theories than practical whenever they visit.

Speaking on the importance of ICT to pupils, he said it was very imperative as they would have to face ICT-related subjects in their internal and external examinations. He also emphasised that only primary five and six pupils are allowed to partake in the ICT classes.
The Guardian checks revealed that the ICT laboratory, which serves 32 schools in Alimosho area has inadequate facilities and incapable of impacting meaningfully on the pupils with the present arrangement.

This was alluded to by Williams, who stated, “Their population is much, and the facilities we have here are not enough. It is a challenge and so we need more computer centres. If that happens, it would help a great deal.”

“There are four zones in this Alimosho as far as computer lesson is concerned- Agabado Oke-Odo Zone, Ipaja Zone, Egbeda Sone and Ikotun Zone. Two ICT centres are located in Oke-Odo Zone and the other in Egbeda Zone, with none in Ipaja and Ikotun zones,” he added.

On whether the centre has impacted meaningfully on the pupils, he claimed, “Of course yes. The pupils can do basic operations on the computer like, booting, typing and identifying applications. There are exceptional pupils too who could do more than the others owing to the fact that their parents have personal computers at home, which obviously add to their knowledge.”

Williams, who said that the absence of ICT facilities in school premises was as a result of cost and security concerns, added that, “The laboratory is run by power generating set regularly, and this is a big challenge. We have written to the state Ministry of Science and Technology to give us solar plant. Though government is trying its best, it should, however, try harder in the area of establishing more centres with 21st century facilities. This will help the pupils in research and personal development.”

When contacted, Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Education, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, said he was aware of the challenges generally facing public primary schools, including that of shortage of computer and ICT facilities, adding that all that would soon be addressed by the present administration.

He said presently, government is facing challenges in supplying computer sets and ICT facilities to its numerous primary schools, addingg that, “as a new administration that is taking shape, in no time, standard instructional aids and school materials that will aid teaching and learning will be adequately distributed to schools by the administration.

He further said that government intends to properly fund existing ICT centres in LCDAs as it strives to procure enough of these facilities.

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