The Federal Government has underscored the urgent need to fund the information and communication technology (ICT) sector to advance the course of education in the country.
The permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, made the assertion on Tuesday at the 3rd EdTech Summit with the theme: “Creating Innovative Ways of Teaching and Learning Using Technology” in Abuja.
Echono, who was represented by the Director of ICT , Abubakar Isa, said funding is crucial in shaping the future of digital technology needs for education in the 21st century.
He also added that there was the need to address the poor ICT literacy level amongst teachers.
According to him: “I want to address two priorities that we need to keep in mind in shaping the future of digital technology needs for education in the 21st century.We must address the challenges of inadequate ict infrastructure in our schools. We must address the lower ict literacy among teachers and embrace current educational pedagogy. We must involve strategies to improve research on education technology.
“We need to make commitment to fund ict infrastructure because, without the infrastructure, we cannot do much. It is a function of funding. Government needs to make at state level or at different levels have to make commitment to fund ict infrastructures.
“Education is a must we don’t have a choice. We must educate our youths so we must look for that funding . Most of the issues we are having today, Robbery, banditry and the rest can be traced to education so in my opinion the necessary funds have to be sourced for and we need to make commitment as a people to increase funding in our education.
“This summit is particularly timely in view of the tremendous importance of technology integration strategy on education to be effectively utilized in teaching learning and educational administration.As educators and academic leaders, we must work together to development a sustainable model for meeting the growing needs and fulfilling our role in education in 21 century challenges”.
Also speaking, the Director- General, National Information Technology Development Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Inuwa Abdulahi, said the agency was doing all it takes to enact policies that will facilitate the use of ICT in the country.
Represented by Taofik Yekini of the corporate strategy department of NITDA, the DG stated thus: “the agency is doing its best to make sure that we facilitate the processes by enacting enabling policies to facilitate the use of ict In Nigeria. And we are equally willing to facilitate such processes that are initiated by any of the stakeholders in the country.
“The pedagogy is already there.We just need to catchup with the pedagogy and the moment that changed the requirements will change and government will now be forced to provide the ict tools that are required for schools to operate because that will be the requirement then”.
In his Welcome address, the lead consultant of AfriTEX, Oyesola Oworu said digital education in Nigeria is it lowest.
He said: “It is at a stage where it needs urgent attention for stakeholders to come together to build and ecosystem.
“Digital education needs the collaboration between government and the educator also the technological players to be able to develop it to a certain level like other countries.
“for digital Education to have more funding in Nigeria, is to first bring an awareness in the industry. As it is digital education does not have sufficient funding in government. First is the understanding of what digital education is and that is what the conference is about.
“The greatest challenge has been for players working in silos. There is so much contributions to a certain degree but players in the ecosystem are not yet together.There are a lot of solutions in the ecosystem that needs to intergrate to form a home but until Mr A and B understands and synergies, the greatest problem apart from funding for the ecosystem, is synergy. The integration of solutions to become an holistic solutions for the ecosystem emergence in Nigeria”.
AfriTEX is a platform that help in showcasing the level of ICT and ICTES development in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The conference had in attendance commissioners of eduction, Technical advisers on ICT,Representatives from UNICEF, proprietors , stakeholders in education sector and student from various secondary schools.