By Uche Nworah, Ph.D
Digitalisation in education refers to the use of digital technology to teach students. Digital technology here refers to the use of desktop computers, mobile devices, the Internet, software applications, artificial intelligence (AI), smart boards, broadcast media, and other types of digital technology to teach students of all ages.
Digital penetration is still very low in Africa, compared to the developed countries. However, As of December 2020, Nigeria still ranks amongst the top 3 countries in Africa with the highest percentages of digital penetration, at 73%. Kenya had an internet penetration of approximately 85.2%, the highest in Africa. Experts say this high rate is mainly because Kenya is home to M-Pesa, which is a mobile wallet provider and the secure payment system it offers encourages internet access.
An interesting discovery in published statistics suggests that as at October 2020, the majority of web traffic in leading digital markets in Africa originated from mobile devices in Nigeria, one of the countries with the biggest number of internet users worldwide. Across the nation, 75 percent of web traffic was generated via smartphones and only 24 percent via PC devices.
It is then surprising that many schools in Nigeria prevent their students from having access to mobile phones, even some private universities. The reasons advanced have been to stop the students from being distracted. Such a policy should be reviewed to enable the students to fully integrate mobile devices and applications in their learning.
The introduction of mobile and other digital technologies to learning (e-learning) is an expensive venture, and should not be left alone for the federal, states and local governments to handle alone. They are already struggling in a whole lot of other areas. The private sector should intervene directly in this regard, as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
It is heartwarming to learn of the exploits of Awka Millennium City Development Ltd, promoters of Awka Millennium City (AMC), the new smart city that is being developed in Awka, Anambra State. According to Chief Dr. Clem Nwogbo, the Chairman of the company, “We took a conscious, but very strategic decision to partner Anambra state government in housing provision. We know that for the state government to achieve the vision of the outgoing Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, of making Anambra State a one-stop investment destination for individuals seeking wealth Création opportunities, the private sector, especially patriotic Ndi Anambra have to put their money where there mouth is, by bringing In investments. This is the true spirit of Akuluouno”.
Continuing, Nwogbo said,”We are happy with our decision, the Governor -Elect, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo in his manifesto said that his government will set to make Anambra state a one-city state and liveable homeland. This resonates with us at AMC because we have already taken a stake in the Anambra project, not only through our Group’s multi-million Naira Agro investment at Igbariam, through Lynden Farms, our investment in construction through Sagez Construction Company Ltd. We are now also investing in the present and future development of human capital in Anambra state through our corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities”.
Discussing further, Dr. Nwogbo said that Awka Millennium City, as part of its corporate social responsibility, and ongoing support to educational development in Anambra state has undertaken the following activities at the two schools it adopted, namely; Capital City Secondary School, Amaenyi, Awka and Amaenyi Community Primary School, Awka, and that the projects shall be ready for commissioning shortly.
(1) Construction of modern toilet facilities at both schools, including borehole and overhead water tanks for constant water supply.
(2) Construction of a storey-building at Capital City Secondary School, Amaenyi, Awka, housing digital library, classrooms and assembly hall.
(3) Rehabilitation and grassing of football field at Amaenyi Community Primary School, Awka.
(4) Provision of perimeter fence, security, and refurbishment of a classroom block at Amaenyi Community Primary School, Awka.
(5) Construction of drainage channel to combat erosion at Amaenyi Community Primary School, Awka.
(6) Ongoing recruitment of 20 teachers in identified subject areas for the two schools, following needs assessment conducted in the two schools and gaps identified in number of teachers in critical subject areas.
Awka Millennium City will be wholly responsible for the emoluments of the twenty teachers for the next five years, in the first instance.
(7) Eye examination and care for students and teachers at its adopted schools.
The Managing Director of Awka Millennium City, Mr Chimmy Ogbuebile throws more light on AMC and it’s contribution to education digitalisation in Anambra state.
“The one-storey E-Library complex Awka Millennium City constructed at Capital City Secondary School, Amaenyi, Awka underscores the great importance our Board and management attaches to e-education. The complex
is powered by sustainable green energy using inverter, solar panels and batteries. With the copyright and other publishing licensing we are getting for the library, the students and teachers will have access to millions of materials all over the world. Through this, we are equipping the students with the knowledge they require to be able to compete with their peers all over the world, especially in this era of 4th industrial revolution driven by information, communication and technology”.
While we appreciate Awka Millennium City for their contributions, we are calling on other businesses operating in Anambra state including banks, telecom companies, manufacturing companies, small, medium and large -scale enterprises, Ndi Anambra living at home and in the diaspora, friends and associates of Ndi Anambra, in-laws and other stakeholders to consider this model of schools adoption which Awka Millennium City has pioneered on a very large scale.
There is still much to be done, for example, donation of smart boards for teaching, provision of multi-media aids, mobile devices, payment of access fees for e-libraries, payment of teachers to improve motivation and so on. Through these measures, we can all collectively help to ensure that Anambra students continue to remain competitive, and are well trained in the use of ICT to meet the demands of work and education in the 4th industrial revolution.
Nworah is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS).