The Federal Government has empowered students of Ilesa community with different ICT centres equipment and also said it would continue to equip the community ICT skills such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, facilitate ICT adoption in teaching and learning in order to prepare them for the future that will be strictly driven by technology.
The charge was given by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who represented President Muhammadu Buahri, GCFR, during the Commissioning of the Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) on Friday at Ijesa Muslim Grammar School in Ilesa, State of Osun.
Aregbesola while speaking at the event said: "“I am aware that the programme was conceptualized to promote the availability and utilisation of ICT and resources of the Internet in teaching and learning in public schools in underserved, unserved and rural areas. In order words, this Digital Nigeria Centre has been designed to promote the connection of public secondary schools to broadband internet in Ilesa community, and the goal is to equip beneficiaries with 21st Century skills.
“More concretely, the specific objectives of Digital Nigeria Centre include; increasing ICT literacy among school teachers and students, providing a platform for accessing online educational resources, equiping students with ICT skills, facilitating ICT adoption in teaching and learning and ultimately to increase pass rate in mathematics, English language and other science subjects,” the Minister stated.
In his speech, titled Digital Skills and Literacy for Jobs and Social Inclusion, the Minister praised the project's thoroughness and timeliness, noting that it prepares Nigerians with digital skills and literacy for a future that will soon be driven solely by technology, noting that some major automakers have decided to stop producing combustion engines in the next 40 years.
“Interestingly, at least six major automakers, including Ford, Mercedes Benz, General Motors and Volvo joined the governments of 30 countries in November last year to pledge to stop the production and sales of internal combustion engine cars by 2040.
“The implication is that even a mechanic should be ICT compliant. Any mechanic that can’t use ICT tools will find himself out of job. Indeed, in the next 20 years, anyone not ICT compliant may not be part of humanity again, considering that it will be impossible to function and interact with other humans,” Ogbeni Aregbesola stated.
The Minister also stated that the project is a testament to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration's unwavering commitment to deploying technology to improve citizens' quality of life and experience, adding that it also goes to emphasize the preeminent role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in improving people's living standards.
“I will like to express my profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his relentless commitment in ensuring delivery of gains of democratic order to the generality of Nigerians.
“To him, the welfare of Nigerians, especially our teaming youths remains a top priority for this administration. The continuous benefits the country has been deriving from effectively leveraging ICT to run governance more efficiently has been phenomenal,” the Minister remarked.
The minister said according to a 2018 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), titled: Digital Skills Critical for Jobs and Social Inclusion, major technology breakthroughs in next 10 years will impact forms of work and the structure of labour markets as well as other aspects of life such as education, health, and agriculture.
“From a skills development perspective, the implications of technological change are expected to be profound, both for the re-skilling and up-skilling of our adults and for the education of the youth and children.
"In this context, developing capacities for anticipating the changing needs for digital skills for work and life is crucial for all countries and that should be of interest to all of us," the Minister revealed.
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who was represented by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Communication Commission, Prof. Adeolu Akande, stated that the DNC centre will undoubtedly aid in the acquisition of digital skills required for the implementation of the Federal Government's digital economy drive, particularly among the younger generation.
Prof. Pantami went on to say that digital skills, which are a set of talents and aptitudes required by users of digital devices, communication apps, and networks to access and handle information, will improve national security as well as national growth and progress.
The Governor the State of Osun, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola represented at the event by his Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Technology, Dr. Babatunde Olawale opined that Nigeria cannot be left behind by the digital revolution of the world noting that his administration also focuses on building a sustainable economy through e-government which is government is grateful to the Federal Government for siting the DNC project in Osun.
Responding to the gesture of the Federal Government, the Principal, Ijesa Muslim Grammar School, Mrs. Ramota Ilesanmi, thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for selecting the school for the project saying it will go a long way in meeting the ICT needs of not only the students, but select residents of the city.
The representative of the president subsequently announced the establishment of President Muhammadu Buhari N100 million Technology Empowerment Fund to create world class technology experts, targeting 2000 youths in the next two years in Ijesaland who will be provided with devices for training in different areas such as software development and design, amongst others.
The Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) is a project facilitated through the Universal Service Provision Fund of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
In attendance at the event were, the Senator Representing Osun West, Sen. Adelere Oriolowo; Speaker of the State of Osun House of Assembly, Represented by Hon. Wake Adedoyin, Federal Commissioner of the Nigeria Population Commission, Sen. Mudashiru Hussein representing Osun State, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta represented by the Director, Projects at the NCC, Mrs. Iyabode Solanke; Assistant Commandant General of the NSCDC, ACG Adeyinka Fasiu, Commisisoner of Police Osun State, CP Olokode Olawale, Controller of Correction Osun State, Controller Lanre Amorun, All Progressives Congress Party Stalwarts in the state led by the Party Chairman, Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile, former Cabinet Members in the state, traditional rulers, thousands of party faithfuls and supporters among others.