The future of over 80,000 computer science students in the county look bleak unless something urgent is done to underpin the educational curriculum and halt the spiraling decay in the system, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt.
These students are about to join the growing army of half-baked graduates who are victims of the mess in the current curriculum in Nigeria’s schools because it lacks information and communications technology (ICT) ingredients.
Problems ranging from lack of political will on the part of the government; brain-drain; and poor facilities have all joined hands to prevent Nigeria from producing graduates who can contribute to the creation of knowledge driven economy or so called new economy.
Chris Uwaje, president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (Ispon), described the situation as dire while expressing worries that the country is unwittingly exposing itself to unregulated and unwholesome deployment of foreign application software in key, critical and sensitive areas of the national economy, especially in Federal Government operations.
He said that students under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Computer Science Students (Nacoss) must be bequeathed with laboratories, software incubators and integrated into governments’ contracts execution, as major economic players.
Uwaje also called for a national software development policy and conscious IT legislation to mitigate the negative impact of dearth in infrastructure and bridge the digital divide.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that Nigeria’s several attempts to develop a comprehensive blueprint for the ICT sector have failed because they are either short in prescription or deficient in outlook.
Engineer Florence Seriki, managing director/CEO, Omatek Computers, at the recent the stakeholders meeting on the ICT draft policy captured it aptly when she said that the document did not have any incentive to grow ICT based institutions for on-ward manufacturing.
Seriki said that “No ICT document will be such flourishing if it fails to recognize the importance of manufacturing revolved round ICT, diversification of manufacturing.
An ICT based institution may not be fruitful without manufacturing, particularly in SME level. The need for a concerted effort to ensure local content, or locally based manufacturing blueprint cannot be over emphasized.
As it is the draft policy is in short of this aspect economic development, especially as we are targeting vision 20:2020.”
But Uwaje said that Nigeria can still rebuild the economy if it can galvanize the teeming youth into the economic transformation agenda through IT master plan that incorporate software development.
“Nigeria can (in collaboration with her science and technology Diaspora knowledge base) build large software development entities and factories and consequently reduce the nation’s unemployment index by creating abundant employment of about 10 million Nigeria youths, who currently harbour uncountable software factories in their heads; willing to explode and be converted into national wealth, but currently wasting away and forced to sell nothing but pure water” he added.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that Uwaje’s call is not new to the government which has consistently ignored compelling need to raise a new generation of ICT driven graduates.
Nigerian leaders still pay no attention to the complete makeover of the schools’ curriculum.
When they pretend they pay attention, it is too little to make any impact and that why the country has continued to produce semi educated school leavers.
Particularly disturbing is the fact that most Nigerian graduates leave institutions of higher learning without even touching a computer, leaving them without requisite skills to integrate into the ICT driven business environment.
It is still common place to find the traditional chalk and duster approach in school pedagogy because most school teachers from primary to tertiary lack the skills to fully utilize technology in curriculum implementation.
It is so bad that 80per cent of the Nigerian universities and polytechnics, offering Computer Science as a course still include obsolete topics in their curriculum.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek had in recent editorial urged the government to develop an effective curriculum that includes communications, numeracy, information technology, and social skills units, with specific, specialized teaching of each.
The newspaper also urged to government to important to attract and retain qualified and experienced IT lecturers as well as build state_of_the_art laboratories.
This is because education is widely seen as one of the fastest ways to promote development.
The argument is that education empowers people and provides them with skills that stimulate all facets of development.