" ITREALMS: Introduce typing @ primary schools now – ATCON boss

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Introduce typing @ primary schools now – ATCON boss

Concerned by the poor application of technological tools nowadays, the newly elected president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu has said that Nigeria needs to introduce typing at the primary school levels.

This, he said, has become imperative in the face of the fact that typing has become a way of life in this era of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) where every actor needs to key in whatever they wish to communicate to one another, be it a Short Messaging Service (SMS), electronic mail (email) and usage of computers for data gathering and dissemination.

Speaking at a one-day seminar by the ICT Directorate of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) in conjunction with Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and supported by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Omo-Ettu said that the time has come for the government to make typing tutorials compulsory beginning with primary schools.

Omo-Ettu, who spoke on “Unfinished business of the ‘Learning to Earn’ Campaign in Nigeria” just before his election weekend, commended NIG for its crusade on positive application of ‘access’, especially NIG president, Mr. Lanre Ajayi and Mrs. Ibukun Odusote among those who made the first move of bringing Nigeria into the internet knowledge.

According to him, at the beginning, about 15 years ago, stakeholders were more interested in awareness and Information Technology (IT) appreciation, noting that Internet has simplified, faster, clearer and potentially cheaper information transfer tool.

He maintained that Nigeria’s campaign teams at inception for IT applications did a good job with several parts of the campaign including the articulations of demands to be fulfilled by the government, yet much were still untouched.

“A lot were not even touched at all,” he declared, stressing that part of what they said at the time of commencing internet awareness in the country included that IT would make things faster, better, and cheaper as well as that jobs would be provided on a larger scale.

In addition, he said, they pointed out that there was unlimited access to global information and therefore, there is market; the opportunities would be unlimited; IT skills were critical and desirable as well as that government should invest in IT resources.

Regrettably, he said that at that time, they did not stress that skills from fundamental levels were critical.

“We gave impression that once one was IT-literate, manna would fall from heaven,” he said, emphasizing that they had stressed literacy and not proficiency.

“We did not stress typing in primary schools but we asked that computer training be introduced in schools. We did not ask for change of content of engineering curriculum to veer towards business but we asked that computing processes be emphasized,” he asserted.

Omo-Ettu also said that they had clamoured that content of education had to change to underscore productivity, just as they did not tell the governments that attitudes matter and even essential to growth.

This, he attributed to the government officials reacting ‘positively’ by buying computers, a lot as furniture for their offices; schools, where IT was emphasized, talked about computers and browsing.

“Yet, they did not emphasize the art of typing to skills level,” he said, pointing out that it should be made the tool to a solution but is an end in itself.

He decried that 15 years after the campaign started, Nigeria still produce graduate journalists who cannot type their stories and graduate engineers who cannot solve problems.

“We still produce lawyers who write their draft long hand for others to type out,” he lamented, underlining the fact that the time for change is now because jobs presently require that skills be available.

He further defined job as “‘solutions’ not mere ‘presence at a desk’” urging Nigerian school system to teach ethics which hitherto was called civics.

“Let all school children type before leaving primary school and let our graduate engineers know business; Let the need for a tool precede the acquisition of the tool,” he advised.

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