We’ll Deliver Digital Literacy Initiatives Through Innovative Ideas – NITDA

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The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi (middle) and the executive director, operations and programmes, Afre.lib, Mrs. Joice Gomina flanked by a cross section of officials of both organisation when the Afre.lib team paid a courtesy call to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has reiterated the agency’s commitment to achieving a 70 per cent digital literacy level by 2025 through innovative approaches, continuous collaborations and stakeholder engagement.

Abdullahi made this known while receiving representatives from the Afre.lib Academy, led by its exeecutive director of operations Mrs. Joice Gomina during their visit to the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja. The purpose of the visit was to seek NITDA’s partnership as co-host of Afre.lib Academy’s boot camps in August, the 2024 Tech and Career Expo themed “Tech for Earth” in September and to have the DG as a keynote speaker and sponsor their Tech Challenge winners.

From a digital literacy perspective, Abdullahi said, “We have three key areas. Firstly, forrmal education, where we are working with the Minister of Education to review the curriculum and infuse all these skills in formal education. However, we have a lot to do to achieve that in terms of training the teachers, getting the equipment available for them to use and so on.

“Secondly, for those outside formal education (informal), we have an initiative called Digital Literacy for All, where we are building an Edtech platform (a learning management system) where people can learn at their own pace. We are looking at translating it to Nigerian languages so that people who cannot read and understand English can do so in their own local languages.

“We are exploring partnering with the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), as they are in 774 local government areas, to onboard people and make the content as simple as possible so that anybody who listens or watches these contents can learn from them. We believe going through the NYSC will help us reach the critical mass we are targeting.

“Finally, we also have the formal workforce, which involves training people working in the government and private sector because the workforce needs to be digitally literate to increase productivity at work.”

Abdullahi assured the academy of the agency’s full support, as both organisations share the same vision of fostering IT development and digital literacy. “We need to review your curriculum to make sure it aligns with the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF).”

He added that NITDA is working to have at least one Innovation Hub per state so that when people learn, they can have a place to develop their proof of concept. He stated that both organisations can collaborate on establishing tech clubs across schools in the country.

Gomina said that the academy, which is made up of a team of expert, passionate educators, has seen the gap between young children who are digital natives and their teachers who are still using old methods to prepare them for a future that is constantly evolving. She said the academy is working on building a platform where these children will be mentored and given a safe space to explore technology within the ethics of morality.

“We want to reduce that entitlement mentality and increase that mentality of citizenship, responsibility, and show them that they can contribute to nation-building using technology,” she said.

She mentioned that some of the activities of the academy include boot camps for children, summer tech challenges, and teacher training, as she appreciated the agency for its willingness to support and partner with the academy. The academy did a demo of some of the prototypes developed by children who have undergone training with them.

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