By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
McAnderson Associates, an Information Communication Technology (ICT), training institute has urged government at all levels to invest in computer education to build the technology ecosystem for sustainable development.
Mr Akindayo Akindolani, Managing Consultant of the institute, made the call at the graduation of the first batch of youths from YouthMobile Project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that YouthMobile Project is an initiative of UNESCO aimed at training youths in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The programme had created a platform for youths to learn software, hardware and Mobile application development with support from the FCT Administration.
The first phase of the programme included 408 youths from Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area Councils (AMAC), that graduated in March.
The second phase is targeted at training 600 youths from Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali Area Councils respectively.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a US-based organisation that focuses more on how to change school programmes.
“We are looking at changing in-school curriculum, we are talking to policy makers, stakeholders to see how we can introduce Computer Education and Programming into their curriculum.
“Although, we have gotten invitations from some schools to teach their students ICT programming, we are impressed at the turn out.
“The world is changing, there is virtually nothing you can do without technology, therefore, we need to keep empowering the youths to know how to create technology applications,” he said.
He, however, encouraged the participants to utilise the skills, and knowledge they have acquired to create wealth for themselves and jobs as well.
Mr Olusola Amusan, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Nigeria, said there was need for government to invest in education, which include computer science education.
Amusan also said that a sustainable roadmap for the development of ICT would go a long way to build the sector.
“When budgeting for education increases, it will affect computer science education because it is a sub-sector of education.
“We need the will power from government and every other thing stands on that, both infrastructure, jobs, internet access, creating a roadmap for young people to grow in an enabling environment.”
According to him, developing ICT is not a sole responsibility of the government, but it needs to set the pace for the private sector, international development community to follow.
“Teaching people entrepreneurship for small scale business is good, but it cannot give us to the kind of respect we deserve in the League of Nations.
“The nations that are biggest in the world are those that have gotten their technology, trade, human development and capitals right, so we have a great work to do in that regard.”
Mr Olushola Macaulay, National Programme Officer UNESCO, said that with the evolution of technology, unemployment rate would increase, hence the need for youths to utilise the benefits of ICT.
Macaulay urged the youths to focus their skills application on developing local content for sustainability, adding that the training was a business concept.
Mr Ogbuaku Osondu, who represented the FCTA, said the conceptualisation of the programme in Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali Area Councils was targeted at grooming youths to develop FCT.
Osondu noted that FCT was the second fast developing site in the world, which required the youths to join in developing it.
Mrs Onyinye Onukwe, Director Nursing, Health and Human Resource Secretariat, FCTA, said the application of ICT had facilitated Nursing examination registration in the FCT.
Onukwe said that registrations had increased from 2,500 candidates in the past year to 11,600 currently, adding that they were the first Nursing School to start Computer Based Test for nursing examination.
She, however, encouraged the participants to employ the use of ICT in their everyday life because it is the way of life and it makes things easier.