45,000 teachers trained nationwide on digital literacy, says FG

45,000 teachers trained nationwide on digital literacy, says FG

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Federal Government said it has commenced plans to gradually migrate teachers to digital teaching and learning tools in order to increase their relevance, impact and importance in the 21st-century technology-driven world.

It said that so far, over 45,000 teachers across the country have been trained on digital literacy and the use of digital tools in the classrooms.

Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Abubakar Isah, confirmed the development at a two-day workshop on policy initiatives for digital learning in Nigerian Universities, adding that the Federal Government was assiduously working to bridge the gap on the use of ICT equipment in schools.

The two-day workshop was organised by the Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDO), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, Canada, and the African Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL), and was attended by Vice-Chancellors and Directors of Africa Centres of Excellence from across Nigeria, and was focused on promoting digital learning in the country.

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Isah, in his remarks, said that the Federal Government would soon come out with a framework for digital literacy, having provided a learning website for the entire country that had over 15,000 free online videos that covered both primary and senior secondary schools.

He said: “We have another website that helps teachers in lesson planning and so on and they are all free. We are working with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in the opening of digital learning centres ‘smart schools’ for the use of digital tools.”

Former Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof Olugbemiro Jegede, in a lecture challenged Nigeria to rise to the trend of digitalization which, he said, has redefined the way people live and interact with the society.

He said: “Unarguably, no country would achieve proficient digital economy without digital skills. People, globally, have embraced technology much more than we think. There is practically nothing you can do now without technology. It has taken over all parts of our system.

“It has become imperative to appreciate the role of technology in teaching and learning so the next generation will be better placed in appreciating the world and of being trained for the workforce and better entrepreneurs.

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“The world is now depending on the digital economy, so this is what the policy is advocating, that the universities should appreciate the use of digital learning in today’s world.

“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 these digital tools to access information and produce results. Nobody in the developed countries is given a job without digital literacy education, and I’m glad that Nigeria is making gradual progress in that regard. What is needed is policy implementation and once that is done, our children, from primary to tertiary institutions will be digitally literate.”

Director of RETRIDO, NOUN, Prof Christine Ofulue, said the objective of the workshop was to address issues that would drive distance learning in Nigerian universities.

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Ofulue said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been an increase in the use of technology for education. We feel that distance learning has a lot to do with technology because students are not in the class; they may be on campus or 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 had interruptions in their operations.

“So there is a need for institutions to look at how they can develop their content, train their teachers, teach their students as well learn online.”

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