By Atinuke Tokura Nukay
Junior Secondary School, Karshi benefited from the National Adopted School for Smart Education (NASSE) that has just been launched in the school on Wednesday.
Speaking during the launch of the (NASSE), the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami said the digitalization of every sector in Nigeria will accelerate the digital economy of our dream. Education is the backbone of a nation’s prosperity as allows a country and individual to hold competitive edge in the ever-advancing technological world and reach their full potential.
Dr Pantami further stated that the purpose of education is to teach children to think intensively and critically.
“This can be more realistic if they are exposed to education at young ages. NASSE is a model of catching our young ones early enough into the world of technology in a more productive way particularly in the education sector.
The goal of education is not only to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things. It is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world and Nigeria for better. No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child.
As a country, we lost totally in the past industrial age. In this digital age, with the increased proliferation of new technologies and innovations, going digital in all sectors of the economy is the optimal route to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for any government. There should be no doubt that digitization of the economy is one of the most critical issues of our time.
Building a strong digital economy requires the integration of digital technologies and innovations in all sectors. It is a task that requires transformational leadership and strategic partnerships sector-wide. This is what we have been providing ever since we were entrusted with the mandate of leading the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
To give strategic direction to the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria was developed, unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th of November, 2019. The NDEPS is based on the following 8 pillars:
- Developmental Regulation;
- Digital Literacy and Skills;
- Solid Infrastructure;
- Service Infrastructure;
- Digital Services Development and Promotion;
- Soft Infrastructure;
- Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and
- Indigenous Content Promotion and Adoption.
In today’s digital world, digital education is at the heart of a digital economy. If you critically examine the eight pillars, they are major enablers of digital education. For example, developmental regulation is key to open up digital education space. It is our responsibility to issue and implement policies that will promote massive access to education through digital technologies. The regulation regime will ensure digital education is promoted rather than being stifled.” He said
On the part of the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Inuwa Kashifu, he said NASSE is an implementation of Nigeria Smart Initiative by the in the education sector, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, as a policy directive of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy led by Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to aid implementation of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria. As part of our strategic objectives, we are to support every sector of the economy to succeed at this digital age.
“NDEPS, as the main driver of digital Nigeria, is in support of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) in education, especially the Goal 4 on “Quality Education” and the campaign promise of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in education. NASSE is designed to accelerate the achievement of this global and national agenda by smartly engaging in “building and upgrading education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive with provision of safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.
Today, we are launching the pilot edition of NASSE in partnership with AMAC and other critical stakeholders at Junior Secondary School Karshi. We are deploying one of the indigenous cloud based digital education solutions that is based on National Educational Research Development Council (NERDC) curriculum to support over 500 students and 30 teachers for JSS 2 Karshi.
In addition to the above, NITDA is providing among others:
- digital literacy capacity building for over 500 students and teachers;
- Free Wireless Broadband (unlimited contents download and upload) for students and teachers;
- Portable renewable energy system;
- Smart education devices (Tablets); and
- Instructor’s android-enabled smart screen
Our aim is to promote massive access to quality education at the grassroots while leveraging digital technologies and innovations. We want to entrench co-creation education approach by ensuring approach to education is shifted from traditional, uni-directional and consuming nature to prosuming style where both the teacher and students create value together.
It is a known fact that education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to creating sustainable prosperity and escaping poverty. The world’s vision is to end the global education crisis and unleash the potential of the next generation. According to the United Nations, about 260 million children were still out of school in 2018.
This is nearly one fifth of the global population in that age group. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, a majority of countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 91 per cent of students worldwide. By April 2020, close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. And nearly 369 million children who rely on school meals needed to look to other sources for daily nutrition.
Never before had so many children been out of school at the same time, disrupting learning especially for the most vulnerable and marginalised. Such global pandemic will always have far-reaching consequences that may jeopardize hard won gains made in improving global education if drastic steps are not taken.
We would partner with relevant stakeholders to mobilize resources and facilitate innovative and context-appropriate solutions to provide education remotely, leveraging hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches. The 21st century teaching and learning environment is changing fast with innovations that are enabled by digital technologies.
This is why NITDA has carefully designed NASSE as a model that can be experimented, fine-tuned and scaled to change the narrative. It is a platform for education on demand powered by smart technologies and innovations. We believe leveraging digital technologies and innovations in the education sector will not only improve quality of teaching and learning processes but also massively increase access to affordable education by millions of Nigerians. The global exigency such as COVID-19 brings to bear the need for education anywhere and anytime.” The DG stated