Education and the Impact of Technology in Nigeria
Technology has impacted the lives of everyday Nigerians across agriculture, business, education, entertainment, healthcare, government, and security. Technology has changed the face of how everything is being done in Nigeria. For everyday citizens, financial transactions can now be carried out on a mobile device, business transactions can take place across different borders of the world without face to face interactions, and reading and writing can be done outside of physically attending a school.
The rise of technology in Nigeria has also been recognized internationally. Nigeria is the largest market in Africa for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the internet social networking site, Facebook, was in Lagos and Abuja for 3 days to visit with entrepreneurs and developers, to explore how lives have been and still are, positively transformed with the use of technology across Nigeria. During his visit, he gave examples of how technology is changing the business, education and economic landscape by creating opportunities for the youth. He noted that there are incredible advancements with children between the ages of 9 and 13 having access to learn the basics of coding, app development, and website design and graphics design. The growth of Nigeria is being accelerated with each and every technological advance, and Zuckerberg’s recognition of the Nigerian start-up scene and other African tech industries demonstrates that there’s exciting development.
In Nigeria, public and private schools have embraced technology as a game changer, through the use of internet-enabled devices to make reading, writing and learning fun, exciting and a remarkable experience for both the teachers and the students. Teachers now have access to relevant teaching materials from other developed parts of the world which can be adopted and adapted. It is not uncommon to find teachers and students in both private and public schools demonstrate exceptional skill with the latest tech-enabled gadgets that they can lay their hands on. Parents are eager to enroll their children in summer camps at the CCHUB (Co-Creation Hub): “a social innovation center dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity.” Here they learn basic knowledge on coding, app development, web and graphic design. Most schools are now fully equipped to give children a solid head start in the use and application of A to Z software and apps to enhance their education and explore the limitless wonders that technology has to offer.
There are also philanthropic individuals as well as CSR-focused corporate organizations that have the financial coffers to provide computer laboratories for public schools in Nigeria. The likes of MTN, Etisalat, Airtel, the Oando Foundation and Multichoice also help to adopt public schools as part of their community support by specifically providing training support in ICT, in partnership with organizations like Microsoft, the British Council and Google. Ms. Funmi Adebajo of Kindle Africa, an organization that provides mentorship and educational support, gives her opinion on the impact of technology in education. She notes that, “education without a doubt is the singular and most effective tool in the eradication of poverty while science and technology is used to measure the growth, development and success of any nation. While technology is the bedrock of development, it would not be wrong to say education is the bedrock of technology as technological knowledge and skills can only be transferred through education.” Technology is allowing Nigerians to take initiative and make their own path.
Adebajo further elaborates that “electronic technologies have greatly impacted education around the world, but in Nigeria, we have incorporated ICT in to the educational curriculum for secondary schools in the 2004 edition of the National Policy on Education. The use of ICT in education has enhanced teaching, learning and research in Nigeria’s education system, especially in terms of improvement of access and delivery of education. In recent times, online courses have proven to be very effective because it provides a low cost alternative to higher education for Nigeria’s teeming youths.” She also remarks that “ICT has also provided researchers with access to research materials and opportunities for international comparative research work. Although electronic technology and internet access is still very expensive and not accessible to low income earners, the middle class citizens of Nigeria have been able to access the benefits of ICT and other forms of technology in education, e-commerce, agriculture and other sectors.” Technology is an enabler in leapfrogging Nigeria and providing opportunities to all in the arena of education and science. What’s important is that the tech infrastructure needs to be reinforced to make it an all-inclusive victory song for everyone.
By Babatunde Aribido, Senior Account Manager, Nigeria