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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Compulsory ICT curricula’ll facilitate e-learning – Prof. Obioma

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Abuja, Prof. Godswill Obioma has called for compulsory introduction of computer studies cum Information and Communication Technology (ICT) curricula in all primary, junior and senior secondary schools.

He said, this would enhance and facilitate the implementation of the e-learning initiative of the federal government (FG) approved last year.

Prof. Obioma in a paper at the recently held Information Technology (IT) Assembly in Abuja, organized by the Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria (CPN), entitled ‘IT Deployment as a tool for rapid Transformation of Education & Capacity Building’ noted that globally, most countries of the world are now operating on a knowledge economy.

He stressed that in such an economy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is critical for productivity.

“ICT and knowledge-generation cum exploitation play dominant role in the wealth creation by raising return on investment; enhancing human capital and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth,” he said.

Prof. Obioma defined eLearning as a catch-all term that covers a wide range of instructional materials that could be delivered over a Local Area Network (LAN) or on the Internet.

“It includes Computer-Based Training (CBT), Web-Based Training (WBT), Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS), distance or online learning and online tutorials,” he said.

Also, Obioma highlighted the fact that in moving forward, Nigeria would need to make literacy based on computer studies compulsory and a pre-condition for graduation in teacher education programmes.

This could be complimented by a phased plan for providing schools with computer hardware, software and connectivity.

As maintained by him, Nigeria would need specialist teachers training programmes to produce computer studies to commence as a matter of urgency.

“Private sector driven programme for providing schools with ICT infrastructure and facilities should be encouraged,” he advised, urging Nigerian authors to intensify the development of school texts.

Although he noted that e-learning initiative was approved by the Federal Government in 2010, Prof. Obioma said that two inter-ministerial committees were setup to pursue Policy Coordination (PCL) and Implementation Committee on e-learning (ICEL), with the Federal ministry of Education expected to drive the e-learning initiative of the government.

The ICT curricula for basic education in primary school, junior secondary school (JSS) and Senior Secondary school (SSS) education in the country, he said.

The NERDC boss said that proposed ICT curricula involves Computer Awareness and Appreciation, which entails identification, parts, functions and use of computers; components of a computer namely the hardware, software and people-ware; as well as classification of computers and historical development of computers.

Prof. Obioma further said that another aspect of the curricula would focus on Basic Computer Operations and Concepts, comprising the set up, booting and shutting down, computer networks such as Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN); the computer, hardware, software and Operating Systems (OS) in addition to the input, which is the process and output (IPO) devices.

He listed some of the challenges of implementing e-Learning in the country to include insufficient infrastructure such as availability of computer hardware and software.

For him, ‘illiterate ICT’ teachers in the nation’s basic and Senior Secondary School (SSS) level is a major challenge.

Obioma emphasised that the inadequacy of facilities such as electricity, connectivity among others and shortage of current textbooks in ICT for Nigerian schools escalated the challenges.

He insisted that compulsory ICT curricula for all schools in the country would facilitate e-learning and subsequently place Nigeria among the ICT nations where she rightly belonged.

Remmy Nweke

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