Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Digitest seeks govt support, hosts 430 kids

National Coordinator, Digital Peers International (DPI), the organizers of Digitest, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, has solicited for more support from government at all levels for the programme as a way of investing in the future of the youths. Just as about 430 children from across the country took part in this year’s edition which ended last weekend.

DPI annually organizes Information and Communications Technology (ICT) camp for children under the ages of 8 and 18 known as Digitest to develop contents on the Internet.

Mrs. Odusote told ITRealms Online at the Queens College Yaba venue of 2008 Digitest, that if the government bankrolls the project it would be advantageous to the nation in particular and the continent in general.

“If government bankrolls this type of project, it will be to the advantage of the nation, it will be advantage of the Nigerian children and Africa eventually, because this is where we are going. We’re going to bring up the Bill Gates of this nation out in some years to come and many people will see it and understand what we’re talking about. But while we’re labouring now it will be great if we get a lot more support from government,” she said.

On how DPI volunteers have managed to cope with the large numbers of participants in camp, she said the children have shown they are good, science-based and are serious even as they find knowledge in ICT very attractive.

She also said there are a number of capable volunteers as facilitators that help to control and manage the students.

“We have challenges in bringing children from diverse cultural background to work together in an environment like this and with God on our side we have been able to control them,” she said.

On Digitest 2008, the coordinator said there is a lot improvement because there has been some interactions at much higher level and that the facilitators themselves are becoming more matured.

Mrs. Odusote regretted that the support has not been like in the past, saying that by now the programme should be self-supporting.

She also thanked the management of Queens College, Yaba-Lagos for their support and understanding by way of making available the school’s facility for the camp.

Also speaking, the camp commandant, Mr. Modadeoluwa Akinwande said Digitest is an annual camp that brings children from all over the federation to a camp where they are taught for two weeks on how to design their own websites and how to apply ICT to their lives with about 430 of them participating this year.

He equally said the programme is of two categories ranging from ages 8-12 for juniors and 13-18 for senior categories respectively.

Some of the participants including Nasir Abdulqadre and Eke Mary-Ann from Katsina and Benue States respectively expressed delight with the camp organisation and the experiences they have had in the last two weeks. Prizes such as laptops, desktop computers, ipods, digital cameras were won by the first four in each category as well as their teachers.

Digitest began in 2000 and has local and international editions which is held abroad. DPI, a non-governmental organization with the primary purpose of promoting ICT interest amongst women and children, while this year’s theme was “e-business: No barriers, no boundaries.”


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