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.
DISRUPTION of 21st Century Education Environment
We are confronted with the enormous challenge of taking a deeper look at our national education Framework and knowledge systems, which are currently disconnected from Information and Communications Technology. This is a critical issue. The dynamics of ICT character and strategies are fundamental variables for responding to the challenges, opportunities, benefits and risks of emerging Information Society (IS). And by extension, we are also here to share knowledge on how to deal with the dynamism and uniqueness of thought on innovation, skill, work and national development strategy.
All the above are within the context of globalization, global population surge, the increased velocity of 21st Century learning-technologies and energy in creative development processes, e-government, leadership and national survivability in the rapidly emerging knowledge economy and society.
As the world transits into the knowledge cluster and information society cloud, new conditions are being created for future education models, economic (industrial) direction and creation of wealth. Therefore, this keynote further propels us to redefine the character of education for innovation, creativity, competitiveness and national reward system. By extension, it challenges us to re-evaluate the e-readiness status of our nation and her future survivability. In exploring these new challenges, we are compelled to look at the following disruptive parameters in the global information super-highway now known as the internet or cyberspace.
“Increased enrolment rates have also created challenges in ensuring quality education and satisfactory learning achievement as resources are spread more thinly across a growing number of students. It is not rare to see cases of 100 pupils and above, per teacher or students sitting under trees outside the school building because of the lack of classrooms.” In the last few decades, the Education environment underwent a dramatic paradigm shift in the transformation of the 21st century knowledge ecosystem. The key factor responsible for this change is Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The truth Is that there is a deep conflict in transmission and reception of knowledge between the teachers and the students in the education environment. The complexities of these conflicts are created by the disruptive tendencies of information technology. Ironically, the solutions to those challenges also reside in the Information and Communications Technology Ecosystem.
Therefore, the survivability of sustainable knowledge in the globalised world can only be attained by developing and designing multi-disciplinary and skill-based innovative learning strategies and systems. It also means that teachers must learn and adapt to these new changes through continuous professional development training and peer networks to add new values to their existing knowledge and skill-sets.
In the 21st century service-oriented economy, the role of Education and task for policy-makers has grown exponentially, due to the fact that the basis of competition has shifted more and more to the creation and intensive assimilation of innovative knowledge-education. Today, national prosperity resides in the acquisition of ICT-knowledge, Skills and intelligence, though the art of Research Innovation and Development – particularly in Software and Digital Knowledge-ware solutions.
This structure of New-knowledge is a fusion of research and innovative education (teaching). Indeed, many nations have now succeeded in creating national prosperity by consciously and proactively ensuring a forward-looking, dynamic and innovative education (teaching) system, reinforced by the capability to tame the critical challenges of the local and international environment.
Conceptual and definitional issues
The concept of and value of education is very clear to us all, as the structured process of facilitating learning for the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. And simply defined, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a network of automated information systems and Data resources which form the central medium and indeed, the centre of gravity of human undertakings, development and survivability.
This techno-medium is the engine room that has redefined the concept of national development and the emergence of the new economy. A given economy is the result of a set of processes that involves its culture, values, education, technological evolution, history, social organization, political structure and legal systems, as well as its geography, natural resource endowment, and ecology, as main factors. These factors give context, content and forms, as well as set the new conditions and parameters in which National development and economy function. They are all driven by Science, Research, Skill Development and Technology Innovation.
Digital ecosystem education and economy
Digital Age has provided us with a new form of education, development and economy where Technology and Innovation are dominant. The digital age Ecosystem will ultimately lead humanity to the cradle of knowledge Olympiad. Its benefits can only be earned, if education is innovatively transformed.
The economics of the digital age has made the Information Technology Domain (ITD) the battle field of all human activities (current and future) – configured and connected to the Internet. The main challenge resides in the abysmal information and Data Overload structures and absence of robust technology, mechanisms and skill-sets required to interface, integrate, measure and control their functionalities and operations – to efficiently achieve the set goals.
….To be continued next week’