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E-Learning: Experts at NCS Forum call for more tech adoption in education 

E-Learning: Experts at NCS Forum call for more tech adoption in education 

In and lecture halls and classrooms, lessons have increasingly been complemented by digital tools and platforms, and this has been pushed further by the outbreak of Coronavirus Pandemic.

In other words, technology can and must be used to provide opportunities for all and bring about a future that is better and brighter than today as the rapid shift to digital teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a lot of opportunities for innovation and creativity.

This isn’t to downplay experiences of disruption and hardship, but the acceleration of technology and the rise of digital learning have brought positive changes within education.

Thus, the government through relevant agencies, must work with stakeholders in the education and technology space such as the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), to achieve robust policies and programmes to prepare teachers for the technological advancements meant for the classrooms.

These are more and views shared by stakeholders at a Virtual E-Learning/IT Education Forum organised by the Education and Manpower Development Committee of the Nigeria Computer Society on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

NCS E-Learning/IT Education Forum by the Nigeria Computer Society

Setting the ball rolling, Prof Adesina Sodiya, president, Nigeria Computer Society, said the Forum which centered on a theme: ‘Advancing Technology-based Learning in Nigeria: Prospects, Challenges and Strategies’, is the first major event of the Society in the New Year as they consider Education principal on advancing innovation and the economy at large.

He referred to the NCS’ Forum as the unifying platform for all stakeholders and interest groups in Nigeria with a common interest in moving education forward.

“NCS is the voice of IT experts in the country,” he said. “Its goal is to enhance education and computer development, bring experts together to discuss the way forward in adoption of technology for the enhancement of the country’s growth, deliberate, and strategize on how technology can be leveraged for educational growth, enhancing the quality.

According to Prof. Sodiya, NCS remains resolute in its pursuit of the advancement and promotion of computing/information technology education and practice for the benefit of everyone.

Also speaking at the Forum, which drew attention of experts from within and outside the country, Mallam Adamu Adamu, the minister of Education, represented by Muhammad Lamud, expressed delight with the works of NCS over time, adding that the results are there to see across sectors of the economy, especially in the education sector

He thanked the Body for involving for its resilience in promoting technology advancements in the country, particularly in the education sector.

The representative of the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria, Ugo-Ali Lawrence described the timing of the programme as apt especially with the impact of COVID 19 pandemic on the sector, and the fact that Nigeria needs to meet up with other advanced countries.

“With the support of UNICEF and several bodies, digital literacy programmes, e-learning training and others have been organised to improve teachers efficiency.

“The Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria recognises that young teachers are the future of digital education and are doing everything possible to enable them bring their knowledge and competencies and is willing to work closely with Nigerian teachers to enhance their digital skills.

Kole Jagun, president/chairman of Council, Computer Professionals (Registration council) of Nigeria (CPN) noted that the advent and persistence of the pandemic changed the face of education across Nigeria, and globally, over 1.2 million students are now out of class rooms. “The education system is susceptible to external dangers,” he said.

“Nigeria needs notable addition of e-learning in order not to lag behind, solutions and outcomes from the workshop will help review qualitative impact across the nation.”

He concluded that the Computer Professional Regulation body in Nigeria will continue to work with NCS through the process.

Edidiong Lawrence Moses, head of Administration Technology, representing the Secretary General, Prof Yakubu said NCS has been critical in education enhancement in Nigeria and it is improving education quality in the country.

“The organisation is proud to identify with you in all your endeavors.”

Prof Paulinus Okwelle reiterated that e-learning focus of this kind resonates with the current developments brought about by the pandemic.

“There is a compulsory computer course for all NCE students who must be proficient in IT and more programmes to enhance teachers’ digital skills should be put in place”, Okwelle said. “Mandate is observatory of quality educational practice across the world

Keynote speech

In his keynote presentation which centered on theme, Peter Okebukola, a professor of Science and Computer Education and chairman, Governing Council, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), defined the concept (technology-based education) as the integration of instructional technology into the learning environment of schools.

Placing emphasis on four questions — Where are we in Nigeria today in technology-based learning (TBL)? Where should we be? What are the impediments/challenges to being where we should be? How do we demolish the obstacles on the “promised land”?

Okebukola based his presentation on infrastructure & tools, students’ readiness, teachers’ readiness and active use in classrooms.

Over 10,000 professors went through the Nigeria Computer Society from 2001 to 2003. In the 2001, the organisation’s studies focused on Virtual Institute for Higher Education Pedagogy (VIHEP), in 2003, the focus was on Virtual Institute for Higher Education in Africa (VIHEAF), Federal Government E-Learning Programme was the focus for 2010, Lagos State Government-LASU E-Learning Programme was the focus for 2015, 2018 studies was State of e-learning readiness in Nigerian Schools and 2021 studies was on Virtual Institute for Capacity Building in Higher Education (VICBHE).

Analyzing the education situation analysis in Nigeria, Prof. Okebukola showed that teachers’ readiness for e-learning increased at a slow rate between 2001 to 2021, but students readiness increased at a fast rate within the same year.

Key highlights from Prof. Okebukola’s analysis of Nigeria’s educational growth and how to get better:

Where we should be in 2027 

  • At least 30% of secondary schools and 70% of universities should be resourced for technology-based learning
  • At least 60% of secondary school students and 90% of university lecturers should have their capacities strengthened to deliver quality technology-based education
  • At least 25% of secondary school classes and 65% of lectures, practicals and workshop sessions in universities should be technology-based

How to get there 

  • Make available low-cost devices for technology-based learning that are affordable to students and teachers (recall the botched One Laptop Per Child project)
  • Improvement in national ICT infrastructure (including cheaper internet service. electricity) especially those deployed to schools
  • Improvement in the digital literacy skills of teachers
  • Revise curriculum emphasizing digital literacy
  • Conduct (annual) refresher course for teachers of computer studies/science (secondary level to Professors) to update their knowledge and skills
  • Put an eye on security
  • Put an eye on maintenance
  • Focus on indigenous content development

Enhancers

  • Covid-19 lockdown
  • Political will and action of the HME as well as the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy
  • lncreased investments in computer education by federal and state ministries of education
  • Activities of NCS and related organisations

Good news

  • Within Africa, Nigeria is no pushover in technology-based learning
  • The Global University Network for Innovation – GUNi-Africa 2021 regional study shows Nigeria among the top 1 0 among 55 countries in technology-based learning

Earlier, Dr Mrs Florence Babalola, chairman of Education and Manpower Development Committee, explained that the workshop was initiated to provide direction to all stakeholders to the right path for the advancement and benefits of technology in education in Africa’s most populous nation.

Prof Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy was represented by Dr Femi Adeloye  while Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, DG of NITDA was represented by Dr Lawan Aminu.

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