Vice-Chancellor Identifies ICT as Panacea for Education Challenges in Nigeria
The adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been identified as the solution to the long years of decay and neglect in the educational sector in Nigeria.
This was the view of the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Charles Ayo, in his paper titled, “E-Education: Critical Impacts on Learning and Human Intelligence” delivered on Friday, April 24, 2015 at the annual lecture of The Hayford Alile Foundation (THAF), to mark the 75th Birthday of the founder and Chairman, Apostle Hayford Alile in Lagos.
Professor Ayo also recommended the need for generational shift in teaching and learning methods in order to improve the quality of education. “The plethora of challenges that confront quality education in Nigeria, particularly in the aspect of the process of teaching and learning, compels the need for a generational paradigm shift in order to leverage on the increased information technology diffusion of this age, to improve the quality of education.”
However, to achieve this, the Vice-Chancellor noted that there was need for government at all levels to invest in ICT infrastructure and manpower training, in order to trigger an effective e-Education agenda that would culminate in improved learning and upgrading of the level of intelligence of students.
Professor Ayo took a cursory look as the challenges confronting education in Nigeria which, according to him, include frequent change in policy, education reforms, inadequate quantity and quality of teachers, inadequate funding and infrastructural facilities, old and obsolete curricular, poor curriculum delivery and poor reading culture.
However, with the latest telecoms subscriber base of Nigeria put at about 190 million mobile connected lines, and Internet subscriber base currently put at about 70 million, the Professor of Computer Science and Management Information Systems (MIS), argued that ICT application on education offers the potential to address the challenges of access and quality.
“ICT offers a medium that facilitates acquisition, processing and transmission of information in a cost effective way with minimized obstacles of distance and time.” He stated further, “ICT can improve universal access to education, equity in education, delivery of quality learning and teaching, as well as foster collaboration between academics and researchers in disparate locations in the world.”
Professor Ayo further explained the concept of the application of information technology tools to enable the process of teaching and learning, which he called e-Education.
“E-Education is about connecting learners to teachers, learners to learners, teachers to other professional support services, and providing platforms for learning. E-Learning, on the other hand, is an ICT based interaction between learners and instructors or among learners themselves. The concept of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) is one avenue that can create access to education, particularly in a resource-low country like Nigeria.”
The Vice-Chancellor informed the audience about the e-education initiatives at Covenant University. He said that the University is one of the few institutions in the country that had taken proactive steps to integrate the use of advanced technologies into the process of educating her students.
He added that the University initiated a number of policies that were designed to promote the use of e-education as a tool for improved learning and enhanced intelligence of her students. Among them are: Laptop acquisition scheme, tablet for all, pervasive Internet access, smart classroom environment, customized multimedia file sharing platform, regular workshops on modern teaching methods and establishment of teleconferencing centres.
Professor Ayo, therefore, noted that in order to make success out of this venture and be at par with other developed nations, there is need for proactive government policy that would match words with action, and turn visions into tangible results.
“What is required, therefore, is improved development of ICT infrastructure of the nation. With this, there will be reduced cost of communication and connectivity of e-Education in Nigeria for enhanced human capital development,” he assured.