Nigeria’s public schools will be equipped with technology skills and tools under an overarching vision to create a fully digital educational system by the year 2017.
Internal documents of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) reviewed by Technology Times shows that the government body plans to equip teachers in public secondary schools with “basic ICT skills and tools” under the ambitious educational sector digitisation plan targetted to be completed by next year.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]According to the authors of the USPF plans, ”this is based on the fact that when a child graduates from school, he goes on with the lifestyle he learnt from the school (which is a very powerful agent of socialization). Digitization thus becomes part of his lifestyle even after his school days.”[/quote]The USPF, which is a fund set up to promote information and communication technology (ICT) diffusion in Nigeria, also expect that by 2017, more than 80% of teachers with at least 60% of all subjects taught will be done through the use of ICT tools.
To achieve this tall order of spreading a digital blanket over the Nigerian public schools, USPF is targeting the provision of ICT tools and connectivity to 300 schools each year till 2017, through its ongoing project which started in 2013.
These are some of the key highlight of the 5-year Strategic Management Plan (SMP) (2013 – 2017) of the USPF to promote widespread availability and usage of ICTs in rural, un-served and under-served areas in Nigeria.
According to USPF, the SMP, which was first developed in 2007 saw the full deployment of over 74 e-libraries across the six geo-political zones in the country.
It is expected that by 2017 , over 1500 public secondary schools across the country would be equipped with ICT tools for teaching and learning processes, if we go by the USPF plan.
”The ICT revolution for the Nigerian public school by 2017 is giant step not only in digitizing the country’s educational system, but digitizing the nation as a whole”, the USPF document reviewed by Technology Times says.
According to the authors of the USPF plans, ”this is based on the fact that when a child graduates from school, he goes on with the lifestyle he learnt from the school (which is a very powerful agent of socialization). Digitization thus becomes part of his lifestyle even after his school days.”
Aside the school, USPF has other targets related to its ongoing projects that are expected to materialise by 2017.
USPF funds will be channeled to e-accessibility for the Nigerian disabled such that by 2017 at least ten (10) organisations catering for persons living with disabilities would be reached with ICT, the document reveals.
This includes organisations like schools and centers catering for the challenged groups.
USPF also targets a Community Communication Center (CCC) across the country, with at least 40% of the population in the community expected to use such facilities and 90% of implemented CCCs recording profit each year.
Teaching Hospitals too are not left out in the 2017 revolution envisioned by the Fund. USPF proposes that by 2017, all Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria will have been provided access to health informatics.
In order to achieve this objective, USPF says that it will consults with Federal Ministry of Health to determine modalities for implementing the project, and identify prospective development/technical partners to help complete all the set goals.
According to USPF, all these set objectives, targets and goals are to be realised through the following strategies:
- Provide subsidies or other forms of incentives to telecom operators and eligible service providers to extend ICT transmission infrastructure to identified un-served and under-served areas.
- Explore opportunities to deploy a full suite of universal access and universal service initiatives to build utilization and sustainability of ICT projects.
- Ensure the co-location and sharing of infrastructure subsidized by USP funds.
- Consult/collaborate with government agencies, not-profit organizations, community based organizations to facilitate connectivity for development initiatives.
- Encourage community ownership of universal service projects and consequently, promote entrepreneurship in target communities.