NITDA, FCT UBEB move boost digital literacy in schools

As parts efforts to boost digital literacy among school children, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Federal Capital Territory Universal Basic Educational Board (FCT-UBEB) have agreed to partner towards revolutionising the way young Nigerians engage with technology and equipping them with necessary skills to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, disclosed this when he received a delegation from the Head-to-Head Debate Committee of FCT UBEB led by its Ag. Executive Chairman, Dr Alhassan Sule, at the Agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.

Represented by the agency’s Director of the Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions (ITIS) department, Mr Oladejo Olawumi, he said the  collaboration aligns with a pillar of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) 2024-2027 which is to Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents.

While stating that the pillar is key to the proposed  educational board’s debate competition, the DG emphasised the importance of integrating technology into  education to capture the interest and potential of young people.

“Children today, often referred to as digital natives, intuitively use technology and unlike us, who are digital migrants, these children seamlessly adapt to new gadgets and platforms. Therefore, it is essential to embed digital knowledge in their learning environment,” he noted.

He disclosed that the agency has been providing infrastructure and resources to facilitate  educational transformation as well as digital learning centres across all states of the country.

He added that the Digital Literacy for All programme is a national initiative of the agency which is designed to extend digital  education resources to all corners of the country. He urged the visitors to key into the programme while he asserted that it would be instrumental in enhancing digital literacy skills among students and out-of-school children alike.

Highlighting the agency’s focus on emerging technologies, Inuwa stated that extensive research and development are being conducted in areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics which are pivotal for future skill sets.

While referring to a recent collaboration between the agency and the Abuja Enterprise Agency on a Robotics competition organised for secondary schools in Abuja to spur interest in Robotics and technology among students, he said “I think we can work together in this area and make sure that Robotics interest is geared up among the youth.”

Elaborating on the Agency’s ongoing initiatives toward achieving 70% digital literacy in the country by 2027, he further disclosed that the agency is working to integrate digital literacy into the national  educational curriculum and providing hands-on experience with technologies like AI and Robotics.

While stressing the importance of addressing the needs of out-of-school children, he mentioned “We are developing programmes in partnership with various stakeholders to attract these children through incentives like school feeding, coupled with digital literacy and other  educational training.”

Inuwa noted that the multifaceted approach will ensure that children are not only fed but also equipped with essential digital skills that will pave the way for a more inclusive and technologically proficient future.

In his earlier remark, Dr Sule commended the agency for their various strategic initiatives to ensure a sustainable digitally transformed economy in the country.

While stating that the head-to-head committee is saddled with the responsibility of conducting the FCT Basic Schools debate competition, he noted that 900 students in the FCT will contest in a debate.

He said that finalists from the competition will be moved to a reality house which will be aired live on different media platforms where they will be trained on AI and Robotics.