The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has identified digital innovations and creativity as the panacea for functional education.
Speaking at the maiden National Conference on Functional Education organized by the Center for semi-Arid Research and Development at Bilyaminu Polytechnic, Hadejia, Jigawa State, he maintained that it is important to seek to explore the benefits of innovations and creativity, to bring about functional education system for the country.
He mentioned that the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 lockdown should be taken to the next level to further the course of education by leveraging on the advancement in technology to address specific problems inhibiting the progress of the sector.
“Platforms like Edtech have become a global phenomenon that integrates strategies, instructional practices in education and digital tools to bring about the emerging trends that demonstrators in academia apply to build a knowledge-based society,” he said.
He noted that other platforms that could come in handy include Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, 5G technology, Blockchain, virtual and mixed realities, among others.
Rolling out statistics, the DG stated that Nigeria is ware-housing about 28 per cent of education technology companies on the continent, with technology startups generating about US$3.46million in 2020.
This, he added, signified that the country is not left behind in innovations and creativity in the education sector to support sustainable development in the country.
According to Abdullahi, NITDA already identified innovations and creativity as critical tools for implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) aimed at driving home the nation’s prosperity.
He said, one of such steps is NITDA’s launching of National Adopted School for Smart Education initiative which seeks to inculcate the use of technology in teaching and learning to promote massive access to quality education, especially at the grassroots.
He explained further that the agency has now entrenched co-creation education approach by ensuring that the approach to teaching is shifted from traditional and uni-directional, to a style where both the teacher and students can create value together through digital technologies and innovations platforms that allow for sharing and engagement learning.
While addressing the participants, the rector, Binyaminu Polytechnic, Prof. Zulkiflu Abdu, described as apt, the theme of the conference (“Functional Education and Demand Research for Sustainable Development”), noting that Nigeria’s multifaceted development challenges can surely be addressed by the adoption of research-based technological innovations and creativity in the education sector.
He commended the DG NITDA for helping the nation navigate the storm stirred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The university don said at the conclusion of the conference, a pathway to realising sustainable development will be unbounded with demand-driven research as a major pillar.