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ICT expert tasks FG on digital inclusion

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Mr Jide Awe, the Chairman Conference Committee, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) on Wednesday said proper implementation of government policies would aid digital inclusion in the country.

Awe, an ICT expert made this known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.

He said that apart from the country’s present policies being improperly implemented, some of them were not in tune with current realities as such it had not meaningfully impacted the populace.

According to Awe, policy implementation in the sector is low because resources necessary for implementation has not been made available to the industry.

He urged the Federal Government to look into fundamental areas that it could invest in to achieve the target goal of inclusion.

The NCS official said that when all Nigerians both in urban and rural areas were included in digital literacy, it would go a long way in developing the country.

“When people, especially those in the rural areas are not digitally included, they will become obstacles to development, because they cannot even help themselves, not to mention  helping others.

“Digital skills are no longer a luxury; everyone needs to be a digital citizen. A farmer in the rural area that does not have such skills cannot adopt e-government, e-procurement, etc.

“If we do not contact these people digitally, they will not be able to add their own contribution to the society and the economy, and they will just be a drain to the society,’’ he said.

Awe said that that another fundamental hindrance to digital inclusion was broadband and called for better broadband penetration across the country.

The NCS official said that digital inclusion could also be achieved through the establishment of a digital university.

According to him, the establishment of a digital university will help develop the country’s digital human capital so that the students can manipulate and exploit the digital environment.

“We need to undertake manpower planning; identify the different areas that need to be touched and know our strengths and weaknesses.

“Everyone cannot be an IT expert but if majority of people are not digitally literate, it means that they are not empowered to face challenges and opportunities in the digital world.

“There should be IT specialisation such that people develop, create and service the infrastructure so that we do not continue to import, be it software or hardware.

“If this is actualised, the digital university will go a long way in achieving its objectives,’’ he said.

Awe said that teaching of IT should be compulsory for schools because the earlier children grasped IT knowledge, the better for them.

He listed some other challenges hindering digital inclusion of all citizens to be functional computer laboratories in institutions across the nation, proper education and training, broadband availability, among others.


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