By Chris Uwaje
Director General of Delta State Innovation Hub and former President Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, ISPON, Mr. Chris Uwaje was a guest lecturer at the sixth annual dinner/fund raising party of the Government College, Ughelli Old Boys Association, GCUOBA, recently.
The Oracle as he is generally known in the Information and Communications, ICT circles, delivered a lecture on “The critical role of ICT and Innovation in education-imperative for schools.”
Although the lecture focused on how to equip our schools to produce knowledgeable and skilled students who would be 21st century compliant in all ramifications, a cursory look at the paper will expose a deliberate attempt to tip the country off on what is to come with the menacing world of Internet of Things, IoT and most probably, how to live in such a world without playing catch up to the e-ready economies. Enjoy the lecture.
….Continues from last week
Education and the global economy
The World is going to Pluto! New Horizon flies faster than a speeding bullet. Indeed it is much faster. In 2006, NASA launched the New Horizon, a Plutonium-powered probe speeding up to 47,000 miles per hour on its 10-year journey to capture the first close-up images of Pluto and a region of the outer solar system called the Kuiper Belt. The probe went so fast, it reached the moon in just nine hours, a journey that took Apollo11 three days to make in 1969!
Lesson learned is that knowledge at the thought of speed has become the common currency and centre of gravity for the survivability of 21st century nations. Indeed, this centre of gravity is dictated and measured by the focused intervention by building capacity and capability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) domiciled and applied to nation building.
The central objectives include but not limited to improving citizen’s education, health and health-care delivery, national security and quality of life; to enhance the delivery of government management and service to the citizenry. Above all, it enhances the development improvement of Science and Technology – with particular reference to Information Technology (IT) and Innovation.
Speed-up education potentials with ICT
To speed-up and enhance the potential of our education sector – with impactful linkage to the industry and economy – ICT intervention becomes a strategic imperative. To do this, we need to restructure our education system and transform government through e-Government.
Currently, over 65% of our youth make up Nigeria’s population and about 1.3milion Nigerian children seek admission into our Universities; however existing infrastructure cannot admit not more than 20% of the applicants. Whereas, Distance Learning through Satellite Communication can assist the nation in producing more than 2 million graduates per year.
Between 1985 and 2000, China with a population of well over 1.379 billion was able to achieve the graduation rate of elementary school children from 68.4% to 94.89% through Communication Satellite based Distance Education. This shows that Nigeria with just 170 million people can educate all her citizens requiring primary education within a time frame of 3 years – by applying Satellite Communications Infrastructure (SCI) for education. The fire next time: we must collectively note that, ‘when there is nothing left to eat, poverty will consume both our knowledge and the rich!
The Revolution of Knowledge Economy
The centre of gravity of the knowledge in question resides in understanding the chemistry of the critical mass of skills in education – with particular reference to the Software Development Ecosystem. Humanity today, lives in a ‘Software-first’ World, conventional wisdom therefore dictates that poverty cannot and will not be eradicated by monetary grants and loans – unless a sizeable and reliable knowledge base and Intellectual capital is country-resident.
Nigeria must survive the emerging impacts of Machine-to Machine Society (M2MS), a national reconstruction is desirable, using the education, science and technology conduit as a basis for incubating a knowledge-based economy, where patriotism, fairness, accountability, transparent justice and equity are enthroned and merit abundantly rewarded.
The three forces that will shape the knowledge economy are: Globalization of products for the new economy; Knowledge, Innovation and R&D intensity and Connectivity of multi-disciplinary skills and resources – Internet & inter-Cloud.
Therefore, there is need to evolve a society where machines and simple but logic systems are domesticated and efficiently put to work. We would require abundant courage and foresight to pull this off and get Nigeria where it rightly belongs – the comity of first-class knowledge nations!
However, this status can no longer be wished in today’s world, it must be earned and seen to be earned!
The character of a nation as we know is governed by the structure, operation and management of her information systems – which develop and filter into core knowledge and intelligent applications – especially through Education. All revolutions have spurn through concrete ideas and deep perception, knowledge and understanding of a particular process – consisting of complex variables. These clustered knowledge variables have resulted in the dramatic accumulation of Intellectual capital.
Intellectual Property (IP) has created a dramatic shift and points to the fact that the fastest growing aspects of the new global economy will be the knowledge-intensive service industries. The significance and key variable of the knowledge industry is that information and knowledge are both raw material and product at the same time! This further means that, the fastest-growing tradable goods of the emerging new economy will be those embedded in Software Development Engineering.
Relevant studies show that each of the emerging leading Industries of the future will be built on the foundation of brain capacity – and anyone of them can be replicated and operationalized anywhere in the universe! In other words, the comparative advantage of nations this century will be entirely based on human knowledge creation. A classical example of this experience is Microsoft Corporations – who has earned more money (through Software knowledge production) in 25 years, than what General Motors earned In 100 years!
ICT education and creativity
Human creativity is the ultimate economic resource. This resource can only be extracted through innovative knowledge-education. Also its potentials can only be enhanced and maximized by the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The knowledge accumulated at great cost through research and development by scientists about the functions of nature and the physical world, is used to produce tools, medicine and methods for such meaningful and beneficial activities as Agriculture, Medicare delivery, Manufacturing, Communication, Information Technology, Transportation, Civil Engineering, Mining, Construction, Petroleum extraction, Animal and Food production and a host of others. Currently, Nigeria is strategically not e- ready – especially at the economic, education, leadership and Governance levels. As at 2016, we are currently rated at 119 out of 139 countries on the global e-Readlness Index status!
Nigeria must prepare for education for e-Everything – with particular reference to the development and patronage of indigenous software and Internet of Things (loTs). In 2050, most of the World’s citizens will live in cities – that is, Smart cities and will need smart services driven and sustained by software and embedded system.
Looking at the forecast of the possibility to technologically connect 50billion devices by 2020 through IoTs, with a projected market value of $19trillon, the task and opportunities before Nigeria are enormous but not insurmountable.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been at the heart of education and
economic changes for many decades. ICT sector plays an important role, notably by contributing to rapid technological progress and productivity growth. Firms use ICTs to organize transnational networks in response to international competition and the increasing need for strategic interaction. As a result, multinational firms are a primary vehicle of the ever-spreading process of globalization.
Technophobia” (The Fear of Technology) is a great concern for National ICT Development ecosystem on the one hand, and limited understanding of policy makers and leadership to aggregate capacities and involvement of core IT Professionals in the decision making process of national and State development on the other.
The knowledge Olympiad is here and Nigeria/Africa must step forward to be counted and digitally ready at all levels, if she must survive the emerging critical challenges, traumatic impact as well as secure the opportunities and benefits presented by ‘globalization order’ of the 21 st Century.
Government-to-Government (G2G) process automation is fundamental to the actualization of the objectives set forth in our National Economic Empowerment Development Plans; and the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. These plans are focused on how Government-to- citizen (G2C) interface can grossly benefit the citizenry. Above all, G2G is critically essential to facilitate and accelerate the transformation and enhancement of the vital component of Government-to-Business (G2B) processes.
This is perhaps the most logical and cost-effective way to leapfrog to gIobal competitiveness from a developing nation strategic viewpoint. With over 65% of our population made up of the Nigerian Youth our resources should therefore be deployed and invested in accelerated and quality Youth education development projects.
To date, the world has deployed about 5 billion “smart” connected things. Predictions say there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020 and in our lifetime, we will experience life with the diffusion of a trillion-node network. Those are really big numbers. How education of things (EoT) are fundamentally deployed today is a barrier to realizing those numbers. The industry will only achieve the reality of 50 billion connected devices by simplifying how things connect and communicate today.
The loTs is expected to transform how we live, work and play. From factory automation and Automotive connectivity to wearable body sensors and home appliances, the loTs is set to touch every facet of our lives. We will “author” our life with networks around us that constantly change and evolve – based on our surroundings and inputs from other systems. It will make our lives safer with cars that sense each other to avoid accidents.
It will make our lives more green with lighting systems that adjust based on the amount of daylight from windows. It will make our lives healthier with wearables that can detect heart attacks and strokes before they happen. There is a long road ahead to the loTs in Africa. But one thing is sure and that is Information Technology, Internet Security Policies and loT Strategies will become the greatest battle field of the 21 st Century for Policy Makers, Leadership, Students, innovators, Users and Stakeholders. .
*Going forward, I wish to submit the following recommendations for the consideration and adoption of government College Ughelli Old Boys Association. (GCUOBA):
*First, there is need to Retool and transform the Environment of Government College Ughelli
with Gamification Models by deploying Innovative and logic-thinking visual Images.
*To ensure the sustainability of the future of Government College Ughelll, a formidable ICT
Campus-wide Fibre-Optic Infrastructure Backbone programme should be undertaken.
*It is time to look at the Computer from the inside, rather than from the outside. Therefore,
Coding Class for Software Programming skill acquisition should be introduced and made
mandatory for students of Government College Ughelll at all levels.
*Establish special ICT Innovation & Discovery Laboratories and Knowledge Parks for Skill
Development and Entrepreneurship Technologies – focused on loT and Nano Technologies.
*Ensure that GCUOBA Members Volunteer to sponsor ICT Workshops/Seminars Innovation
Classes for GCU and Secondary Schools in Delta State Regions.
*Establish GCUOBA Technology Innovation Competition and Innovation Development Funds in Delta State.