By Emmanuel Afonne
Prof. Olugbemiro Jegede, the foundation Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and other stakeholders have called for the implementation of a national policy to promote digital learning in the country.
They made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a two-day workshop on policy initiative for digital learning in Nigerian Universities being attended by 19 vice chancellors and 13 directors of Africa Centres of Excellence from different locations in the country.
The workshop is organised by the Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDO), NOUN, in collaboration with Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, Canada, and the African Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL).
Jegede while delivering his lecture said no country would achieve proficient digital economy without digital skills.
“All over the world people have embraced technology much more than we think; there is nothing you can do now without technology. Technology has taken over all parts of our system.
“It has become imperative to appreciate the role of technology in teaching and learning so that the next generation will be better placed in appreciating the world and of being trained for the workforce and better entrepreneurs.
“The world is now depending on digital economy, so this is what the policy is advocating, that the universities should appreciate the use of digital learning in today’s world.
“The professors, lecturers can use digital learning for teaching, assessment, exams, interact with students and send their messages across and bring students together for them to have their group discussions.
“Digital literacy is actually saying we should understand how to use all these technologies, how to use them to access information and how to produce information through them.
“Nobody in the developing world now is being given a job unless you show your level of digital literacy education and I’m glad the Nigeria has said that in 2030 all our schools must establish digital literacy,” Jegede said.
According to him, what is needed now is policy implementation and that once it has been implemented all our children from primary to tertiary institutions will be digitally literate.
Earlier, the director of RETRIDO, NOUN, Prof. Christine Ofulue, said the objectives of the workshop was to address issues that would drive distance learning in Nigerian universities.
Ofulue said, “As you know, since the outbreak of COVID-19 there has been an increase in the use of technology for education.
“And we feel that distance learning has a lot to do with technologies because these are students that are not in the class; they may be on campus or they may be out of the campus but they are not in front of the teacher.
“So, technology is usually used to bridge that gap. But more importantly is the experience that came from COVID-19 where many institutions that were not prepared technologically.
“So there is a need for institutions to look at how they can develop their content, how they can train their teachers, how they can even teach their students as well on how to learn online.
“For the lecturers, it develops them how to teach online. And one of the things that needed to be done is to have a policy guideline.”
The Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Abubakar Isah, said efforts were on top gear for implementation of digital literacy policy framework.
Isah said the present government would soon come out with digital framework on digital literacy having provided a learning website for the entire country that had over 15,000 videos.
He said the videos covered both primary and senior secondary schools and were made available for free online.
“We have another website for teachers to help them in lesson planning and so on and they are all online for free.
“We are working with the UBEC in opening of digital learning centres ‘smart schools’ for the use of the digital tools.
“We have trained over 45,000 teachers across the country on digital literacy and the use of digital tools in the classroom. So, the Federal Government is doing quite a lot to bridge the use of ICT equipment in schools,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma